The days of mindlessly eating what’s on our plates are in many ways over. Today, many of us are occupied with questions surrounding consistent, quality food supply as well as supermarket monopolies, water issues and climate change. This recognition of the changing face of agriculture and how we can adapt our own lives to it is being presented at the Growers and Eaters Forum on April 23.

Whether we live rurally or in the middle of the city, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the way we engage with and choose to buy the food we eat influences many facets of wider society – environmentally, financially and culturally.

The Growers and Eaters Forum in Bendigo allows discussion and education regarding “diversifying agricultural platforms and exposing ourselves to the possibilities of poly-farming, different food schemes and to encourage people to be active in their local food systems,” says Slow Food Melbourne events organiser Kelly Donati.

The keynote speaker for the day is farmer and pioneering voice in sustainable farming and urban agriculture from the US, Michael Ableman. He explains: “We need to work to rebuild the real economy, the one based on seeds and sunlight and individuals and communities growing together."

A collaboration between Cultivating Community and Slow Food Melbourne, the Growers and Eaters Forum will bring together farmers and food experts committed to healthy and resilient food systems for the future. “We want people to learn how to diversify their participation in the food system and there’ll be ‘how to’ workshops in the afternoon to give them the tools to get started,” says Donati.

Food cooperatives, community-supported agriculture, farmers markets, urban agriculture and poly-farming will all be discussed. The all-day event will celebrate innovative projects and initiatives that are creatively reshaping relations between growers and eaters, valuing the people and communities who produce our food.

Of course, it won’t just be about talking, but eating too. The conference will include a long, slow lunch featuring produce and wine from the region.

Growers and Eaters takes place at the Gravel Hill Salvation Army Complex in Bendigo on Monday April 23. Tickets are $80 and can be purchased here.