Emerging leaders talk about food insecurity

2 April 2012 By Hannah Carrodus

While many Victorians were busy partaking in the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival last month, Leadership Victoria (LV) and Foodbank Victoria were discussing food insecurity.

Food insecurity is something that affects over 400,000 Victorians every year; meaning that on any givenday families and individuals struggle to have enough food for all 3 meals.

This is where Foodbank Victoria steps in to help, providing food to our community’s most vulnerable people – whether they are survivors of a bushfire or flood or dealing with more complex, long term day-to-day issues.

And throughout March LV and Foodbank Victoria teamed up to rouse emerging leaders in the food industry and the community sector, running a five-day program titled: ‘Igniting Leadership Program: Focus on Food’.

The program included topics covered in LV’s established ‘Igniting Leadership’ program as well as subject areas specifically relevant to the food industry.

Participants included representatives from Sugar Australia, Aussie Farmers Direct and not-for-profit representatives such as the Brotherhood of St Lawrence; to name a few.

 They heard from speakers that included the former Chief Executive of the Australian Food and Grocery Council Kate Carnell and Food Security consultant Leah Galvin.

Carnell spoke about leadership styles and qualities, while Galvin spoke about what food insecurity is, who is most exposed to it and the prevalence of food insecurity in Victoria.    

Private companies were encouraged to think about how they can work in conjunction with organisations like the Foodbank to help those less fortunate, and all participants learnt about the skills and traits that make a good leader. 

Foodbank Victoria CEO Ric Benjamin said that as a major employer and significant industry sector that it is vital the food industry has strong leaders to drive innovation to keep Australian food producers world class, as well as recognising that they need to support the communities in which they operate by giving back both as individuals and as businesses.

 “It’s through ‘Focus on Food’ that we can not only produce the right food but also the right attitude towards helping those who are having trouble feeding themselves.”

LV received much positive feedback about the day, with participants learning new skills and talking about important issues affecting our community.

“As we look at the things that are important to us the question you’ve got to ask is: ‘Am I committed to being a leader? And what form does that take?’ For me it’s been helping people run the businesses I’ve been part of but it’s also been contributing to Foodbank and the greater community.”

-Nigel Garrard, Managing director Amcor Australasia and Packaging Distribution. Amcor is one of the major sponsors of Foodbank Victoria

Click here to see Ric Benjamin, Kate Carnell and Nigel Garrard speak about the aims of the program.