Lee Tozzi

Lee Tozzi

Cultivating Community Chairperson & Board President, Lee Tozzi

Chairperson & Board President

I have always loved to cook with fresh, seasonal produce so when my parents established a permaculture farm on the Northern coast of NSW 20 years ago I thought all my Christmases had come at once! They were one of the first households in their area to generate the majority of their food and energy at home. I learnt about how they integrated waste, water and nutrient cycles harmoniously to sustainably and ethically raise crops, eggs, duck, and lamb. An incredible array of herbs, vegetables, fruit and ‘bush tucker’ you won’t find on any mainstream supermarket shelf thrives in their organic system. Cooking and sharing their delicious produce together has been extremely rewarding and educational.

My love of food led me to a technical career in the food manufacturing industry where I have 20 years experience in operations management and research and development. Over this time I have always enjoyed cultivating food at home and creating delicious meals from the harvest, and I’ve never been without a worm farm and compost bin. Our gardening efforts range from a large food garden based on permaculture principles on a quarter acre block in the South Eastern suburbs to our small yet productive balcony garden at our current inner city Melbourne apartment. I finally decided to formalise my growing interest in sustainability by returning to RMIT university in 2010 to study a Masters in Sustainable Practice, where I’ve chosen to specialise in the sustainability challenges of urban food systems and strategies to remedy these. This has crystallised for me the enormous and exciting potential of reconnecting our cities socially and ecologically through the sorts of community food programs Cultivating Community are involved in.

I am now working in local government researching food programs to achieve more equitable and secure food systems for the community. I am enthusiastic about forming partnerships to help bring food cultivation, preparation and healthy eating back to the core of urban life. I get tremendous satisfaction from working with friends, neighbours and the sustainable food community to harvest, process and share fresh produce from urban gardens that would otherwise be wasted.

I joined Cultivating Community in early 2012 because everything they are doing to create a more equitable and just food system makes perfect sense to me. I am inspired by the depth of knowledge and skill this small but influential team has in bringing the food producer and consumer together. I am honoured to be helping in any way I can to support Cultivating Community’s continued success and leadership in the sustainable food movement.