festival21 | Melbourne | A project of the Sandro Demaio Foundation



As someone who grew up in and around family restaurants, I’m borderline obsessed with food: how we eat; the quality – and sustainability – of our ingredients; how we can reduce waste and maximise the fair distribution of nutrition. Australians live on one of the most fragile ecosystems, on a planet facing environmental catastrophe.


Even our best laid plans in helping individual patients make behavioural changes relating to improving their nutrition and overall health status, will be fruitless, if we aren’t acting now to insure our 'food future’, including our ability to feed ALL of the world's population in an equitable, sustaining and health-promoting manner!


I’ve always believed ‘consciousness’ to be our most valuable tool. Our survival relies heavily on how we relate to others, to ourselves and to the planet. Being conscious and present in all that we do is the nourishment we need for a healthy future. Even for those of us fortunate enough to afford three meals a day, we have no choice but to eat. We do, however have a choice in how we eat. Being conscious about food production, distribution and consumption is not just for the benefit of those receiving it.  It’s also for the growth of our global society and the survival of our planet.

Katy Barfield

We are eating into our earth’s capital at an alarming rate, chewing through her resources faster that they can be replenished. If the whole planet lived and eat as Australians, we would need four planet Earths to sustain us - but we only have one.

I have two little boys, and I want them to grow up in a world that has family farms, local boutique producers and a fair and sustainable food system where everyone in it is valued where food is seen as a precious resource, and not as a disposable commodity that can just be discarded whilst million of people on our planet starve. Technology is the key to solve the food waste problem, and I truly believe that together we can work towards a world without food waste.

Marieke Hardy

As a vegan and animal-rights activist of ten years’ standing, I am deeply passionate about not only sustainable food, but how to promote and share the deliciousness of cruelty-free living.

Food has the capacity to deepen relationships and bring together communities – I eat with my heart and am delighted to share my passions.

Mellissa Wood

Our food system is broken. Most of the world’s population eats too little, too much or the wrong type of food – at an unacceptable cost to the environment, peace, our health and communities. We need a transformation towards a world with nutritious, sustainably produced food that is equitably distributed.

Nathan Toleman

As cafe owners, provenance and sustainable food practices have become more and more important to both ourselves and our customers.

We believe people should be as concerned about where their food waste goes to as where their food came from. We dream of a world where chefs and cafes are involved in not only serving food, but growing it, where no food waste and green waste goes to landfill.

Peter McMullin

Fully understanding nutrition is vital to all our futures. Abundant countries like Australia can lead the world in maximising the fair distribution of nutrition globally,enhancing food literacy,and promoting sustainable production. The question is how, and I look forward to working on some of the answers to these important questions at festival21.

Professor Rob Moodie

festival21 is a celebration of one of the great delights and privileges of being alive – the joy of eating together. Eating healthier, tastier, food that is cleaner, greener and leaner. But this must be a privilege for all of us, no matter where we live or who we are.

Dr Rosemary Stanton, OAM

Food literacy is vital for our food future. And it includes not only an appreciation of the taste and health benefits of good food, but also an understanding of how foods are produced and prepared, and how that effects the ultimate sustainability of the world in which we live.

Simon McKeon, AO

We are plainly in an era where we know only too well of the massive human footprint that our species has on our increasingly fragile home that is planet earth. At the same time, we also continue to trash our bodies - our very own portable homes.

festival21 is a wonderful opportunity to become inspired to save and restore hope to both types of homes, our planet and our bodies – and in a way that is positive and fun!

Stephanie Alexander, OAM

My belief is that by offering a program of pleasurable food education to young children in early learning centres and at primary school which involves a regular and hands-on experience of growing food, harvesting food, preparing food, and enjoying food together with others, is the most effective method of positively influencing their tastes and behaviour into the future.