My passion for making a difference in our world is significantly re-ignited & re-energised.
What was the most valuable thing you got out of CSL?
My passion for making a difference in our world is significantly re-ignited & re-energised
Why are you passionate about sustainability? What was the moment or event that made you decide to become a ‘change maker’ in your field?
In 2006, my family traveled through Italy, France & Spain for 3 months and noticed the fact in most towns, food was still being grown on the outskirts and wine was from the local region and it became clear our 'supermarket' driven society with anything being available anytime, covered in plastic, seemed unsustainable.
In 2006 I also led a campaign whilst President of the St Kilda Village Business Association to force City of Port Phillip to be transparent with it's process to develop the St Kilda Triangle Crown Land site, next to the beach. In doing so we discovered it was about to become a "Chadstone-by-the-Sea" shopping development and not the open space with retail kiosks promised. Leading this campaign would ultimately destroy everything I spent many years building, but would also ultimately confirm my values of fairness, integrity, honesty & justice.
In 2009, I attended a seminar at the Port Phillip Eco-centre, focused on local food systems and had a range of research presented including, "the average restaurant ingredient travels more than 5,000km to reach your plate". One of my venues was a Spanish Tapas & Wine Bar and it made me think about how many ingredients, wines and beers I was importing. I went home that night wanting to make a difference and I woke up the following morning with the idea of "Slow Down" eco-cafe. It would replace my Spanish Tapas Bar and it would buy direct from local farmers, producers, winemakers, brewers and more. It would be made from recycled materials and it would only offer seasonal produce, much of it organic and meat from high welfare ethical farmers. We opened low Down in January 2010, about 6 months later.
In 2010, buying direct from over 70 small, local suppliers, I ran the same sourcing system through my other venues.
I met Larissa Brown in 2010 when she spoke at the Melbourne Tourism Industry Leadership Program which I had undertaken while President of the St Kilda Tourism Association. Larissa inspired me to want to do the Fellowship program.
How did CSL play a role in directing your current path or project?
The Program confirmed my passion to help educate people on what they eat and where it comes from and expand that concept into reducing energy, introducing renewable energy, reducing water an recycling water and minimising waste, recycling and composting organic waste in order to remove the need to put anything from a restaurant in landfill.
This will be my main goal to establish one then more of these venues, aiming to push the boundaries of sustainability in all areas. This will bring out the "pioneer' in me, something I thought I had lost until this Program.
The fact I was targeted by big developers, Local & State Government individuals for standing up as a community leader and screwing with their plans to knock down and rebuild St Kilda without the community's involvement, has re-inforced my desire to see a more transparent political system at every level of Government in Australia.
I will become involved in more community activism going forward, bringing the 'rebel' and the "advocate' in me, again attributes I thought I had lost until this Program.
Onward and forward.
In 25 words or less, tell us why leadership for sustainability is important.
The world has gone mad with self-centred greed and power that is destroying the planet for future generations. We need to change that, now!
What do you plan to do next on your sustainability journey?
Design the world's most sustainable cafe / restaurant and open the first one in 2017.
Help small to medium sized business owners grow their businesses in a way that's sustainable for themselves, their business and the planet.
Network like crazy with anybody and everybody who thinks the cafe concept is cool and get as much help a possible to make it happen.
What are three words you would use to describe the Fellowship Program?
Amazing, strategic, learning journey - sorry that's 4 but I'm sticking with them!
David can be contacted via email: Creativity2Australia@gmail.com
More alumni from 2015 August Intensive Fellowship
Director, Reef Ecologic.
Just Transitions Action Group
General Manager, Reef Check Australia and Coordinator, Great Barrier Reef Citizen Science Alliance.
MPhil Candidate at The University of Queensland; Coordinator of Green Drinks Newcastle
Senior Co-Management Officer, NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, Office of the Environment & Heritage.