I had the privilege of being the key note speaker at the launch of Melbourne's Food Alliance on Thursday night.
I spoke on the need for meaningful alliances and the vast benefits of working in true partnership to bring about the fundamental changes we need in our food system.
Often in the UK such words like alliance or partnership are used wrongly. We are encouraged by funders to work with others and local authorities increasingly want to deal with a partnership or coalition of groups rather than one organisation.
This motivation is often driven by the 'enablers' need for their own internal efficiencies and to deal with increasingly limited funds, but partnerships, true partnerships need time, patience and additional resources to give them a chance of meeting their potential and utilising the many many benefits of transparency, equality and democracy.
When they are not forced upon us and have come about to deal with genuine need they are the most powerful form of working.
I gave examples of partnerships we faciliate in Manchester. From the Land Army -a true group effort by Kindling, our volunteers and the hosting farmers. To Manchester Veg People a coop of food growers & buyers.
Many of these partnerships have been born or nurtured in the chaos of our Feeding Manchester gatherings. Only by looking at the food system as a whole and having all elements of the system in a room can we begin to strategically intervene together to confront complex and inter-related challenges.
Over a hundred people came to last night's launch and we had some lively discussions about this very alive topic. And I am going to watch with interest and anticipation the growth of Melbourne's Food Alliance.
Ill come back to partnership working and building alliances in a later blog.