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Dion

Dion LESTER

Year of Award: 2010 Award State: Tasmania Agriculture > Horticulture
Environment > Land
To investigate land use planning approaches for the establishment and facilitation of urban agriculture - UK, Cuba, Canada
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As part of my Churchill Fellowship I was fortunate enough to visit Vancouver, Havana and Brighton (UK). My area of inquiry was urban agriculture (the growing of food in the urban environment) and how it fits into the broader food system. At that time in Tasmania there was beginning to be a wider recognition that access to food and its security have significant social and economic ramifications – with the Government establishing a Food Security Council and the development of a Food Security Strategy for the State. It was a fantastic time to undertake my Fellowship, not only in the areas I visited, but also here at home. It allowed me to speak to a lot of people and groups about what I had learnt. Since that time a lot of work has been done in Tasmania on food security: we are increasingly looking to develop innovative approaches so as to ensure, for example, that everyone in the State has access to affordable, high-quality, healthy food through conventional sources.

I think two of the key benefits of my Fellowship were raising awareness in the planning profession of food security, and broadening the thinking about our food production system. At that time there were many groups advocating improvements to our food supply system; however, there was less recognition of the connections within the food system, and between food and other community systems, which are many.

Since my Fellowship I have changed direction in my career, moving from the Consulting Sector to become Policy Director at the Local Government Association of Tasmania. I am fortunate in this role as it allows me to work directly with Councils and other groups on the sustainability of our local communities, using many of the things I learnt on my Fellowship. My family has grown; as well as my daughter Abbie, who accompanied us on the Fellowship, we now have Archie.

My Churchill Fellowship was an extremely worthwhile and enriching experience, in part due to what I learnt, but mostly due to the exceptional people I met while overseas and those I met when discussing my experiences back home. 

Excerpt from “Bringing Knowledge Home” published by the Churchill Fellows Association of Tasmania (2016) 

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