19 March 2023
19 March 2023
Food Connect Foundation
The Food Connect Foundation is milling grains at a community scale.
Food Connect has been nurturing and developing local food systems in the Brisbane area for almost two decades. Through seasonal produce boxes, advocacy and events, the organisation supports regenerative farmers and connects eaters to the story and people behind their food.
The Sustainable Table Fund has enabled Brisbane’s first community-scale flour mill to find a home at Food Connect Shed. The Salisbury Mill will revive an old craft, processing organic and native grains into fresh whole flours to meet growing demand from local bakers and households, and get the concept ready to share with regional communities all over Australia.
The project’s key objectives are:
- The Salisbury Mill will demonstrate a community-scale milling operation, which will be documented and shared across regional communities who are ready to join us in creating resilient food systems across the nation.
- The Mill will provide a previously unavailable and key raw material of freshly milled, regeneratively grown grains to existing and expanding local markets across Food Connect Shed’s tenants, wholesale and retail delivery clients.
- The Mill will complement the Food Connect Shed replication model as a place-based, multi-farmer, aggregation, distribution, and marketing social enterprise. It will provide direct markets for local farmers in South East Queensland’s bioregion.
- The project is tracking really well. While waiting for the mill room to be built, they are already selling flour through Food Connect that’s unbranded.
- They are meeting many local farmers interested in local flour milling models. Food Connect has farmers contacting them asking the organisation about the kinds of grain they should grow. Some farmers drop grain to Food Connect themselves and others out of Toowoomba bring it in via transport.
- Food Connect is working closely with the Department of Employment & Training to get milling traineeships in place. Their aim is to set up a business training Certification 3 for milling at Food Connect. Jacob, a First Nations trainee will probably be the first to complete the certification.
- The speed of the mill is quite fast and the feedback from customers about the quality of the flour has been positive.
- The team recently completed a research tour of South Australia where they met lots of farmers and millers. One of the highlights was connecting with Emily and Chris at Small World Bakery. Rob shares that they are, “A truly inspiring operation where they are not mucking around, they are seed breeders, farmers, millers, bakers and educators.
- Food Connect is collaborating with Jacob Birch to set up a similar operation on Country.