Food in Victoria

Find information about cooking, cookbooks, restaurants, nutrition, agriculture, provisioning and food studies


Many aspects of how we live now can be explored through the production and consumption of food. Historical studies provide insight into class and gender and illuminate the impacts of broad scale industrial and technological developments in a more intimate, domestic setting.

Adele Wessel writes: "Eating is an agricultural act, and how we eat determines to a considerable extent, how the world is clearly is an agent of social change and not just its product."

Food studies can include foodways, methods and ingredients in modern industrial food production, sustainable agricultural practices, genetically modified organisms and food, organic farming, food miles, equity of access to a food supply, ethical eating - animal and vegetable, cruelty-free animal husbandry practices, and health and well-being as a byproduct of the food we consume.


Voracious : the best new Australian food writing.
The changing chicken : chooks, cooks and culinary culture.
Sociology on the menu : an invitation to the study of food and society.
Much depends on dinner : the extraordinary history and mythology, allure and obsessions, perils and taboos, of an ordinary meal.

Suggested searches on the Library catalogue:

Journals and magazines

All online resources are available inside the Library. Selected resources are available off site to Victorian registered users.
You can look at the Journal list or databases to search for titles or subjects.
You can also search for journal articles using the Search box - choose Articles from the drop down list.

Dairy chains: consumer foodways and agricultural landscapes
Locale : the Australiasian Pacific journal of regional food studies
On the table : food in our culture (Australian humanities review)  - articles on food history, use of indigenous foods, eating kangaroo meat and urban Australian food practices.
Food chain  (Griffith review) - essays exploring food security and sustainability, trends in agriculture, marketing of produce, growth in city gardening, the disconnect between food production and consumption and strategies for addressing global food security.
Rewriting the menu : the cultural dynamics of contemporary food choices - from Text - journal of writing and writing courses.
Anthropology of food - bilingual, French and English journal exploring interactions between the social sciences and food.


Our food focused databases cover a wide range of topics, from manuscripts and rare books to current food standards. Available from home with State Library membership.


The Library collection includes hardcopy and online newspapers. For research help use our guides on How to find items in newspapers and How to find newspapers.


Symposium of Australian gastronomy, published papers also held by SLV.
Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab - works to develop sustainable solutions for Melbourne, including food supply, including a link to a new report (June 2016) Melbourne's foodprint: what it takes to feed a city.
Food policy councils: an examination of organisational structure, process, and contribution to alternative food movements - Rebecca Schiff's 2007 thesis exploring solutions for local and regional food systems problems.
Australian Food, Society and Culture network - University of Sydney project encouraging research, collaboration and exchange.

Food and government policy

Governments have engaged with food policy as it is seen as being central to health issues and their related costs. Agriculturalists and organisations such as CSIRO, Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) and the Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation (RIRDC) as well as individuals and government departments are working to address sustainable food production with improvements in husbandry, breeding and land management practices. Our collection includes a wide range of reports and discussion papers from these bodies.

Food production is an import sector of the economy; it accounts for 3% of our GDP, rising to 12% with the inclusion of value added commodities. In addition, over 90% of our fresh produce is grown locally. Food imports account for $10 billion with exports worth over $24 billion.


Some suggested searches from the Library catalogue:


Food City - City of Melbourne Food policy - sets out framework for "improving the health and well being of our community through promoting a food system that provides healthy options, is secure, sustainable, thriving and socially inclusive."
Farming, food and rural support -  Department of Agriculture, Forests and Fisheries - includes statistical, research and policy publications, including
Agriculture - CSIRO. Search the website for other food related topics.


Climate variability and changing water supply, fertility of soils and productivity requirements are all impacting on food production and challenging our ability to maintain a sustainable and secure food system.
Some suggested searches from the Library catalogue:


Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance - community organisation concerned with the provision of secure and equitable food supply.
Foodprint Melbourne - research hub at Melbourne University.

Food and ethics

Ethics in the food industry refers to the treatment of animals in food production and the broader issues of care for the environment, organic, chemical and GMO free eating, fair-trade and equity of access to food supply. Vegetarianism and veganism is informed by a concern for animal welfare in the production of food, along with the environmenal and health concerns of producing and consuming animal products.

Peter Singer's book, Animal liberation, first published in 1975 provided the philosophical underpinnings of the animal rights movement. With varying degrees of militancy, groups such as PETA and Animal Liberation oppose animal experimentation and animal cruelty in food production - such as battery hens, pig farms, live sheep and cattle exports, and animal experimentation for medical and cosmetic purposes.

The exploration of gene technologies in food production has occurred in Australia under the auspices of the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator. Community groups such as Friends of the Earth, Gene Ethics have opposed these developments.  


Vegetarianism in Australia - from first known vegetarian in Australia, to the publication of Animal liberation. Available online.
Eating between the lines : food and equality in Australia
Encyclopedia of agricultural, food, and biological engineering
The ethics of what we eat

Some suggested searches from the Library catalogue:

Journal and magazines

Items in the Library collection:
Animal Liberation
Friends of the Earth - food related publications

Research guide

Protests activism and dissent in Victoria - explores the Library's collection of political ephemera, including animal rights groups and Friends of the Earth.


NASSA - Australian and international organic certifier
Office of the Gene Technology Regulator - government body, includes reports, trial sites and crops, current information.
Gene Ethics - organisation opposing genetic manipulation technology.
Truefood Network - from Greenpeace Australia Pacific, list of resources, guide to GM foods in Australia
Animal Liberation Australia
Australian Vegetarian Society


Food and related topics provide much grist for the blogosphere mill. 

Australian food blogs - a listing.
Edible geography - food related topics, global in scope, curiosities, exhibitions, a link to the Foodprint project documenting the forces that shape how we eat through exploring cities and their food.
Michael Pollan - writer and food activist, links to his articles, his blog, further reading.
Tammi Jonas: Food ethics - "advocate for sustainable, ethical food production, distribution and consumption and a passionate cook".

From the Pictures Collection


Animal testing. Copyright RedPlanet Poster Collection

Animal testing. Copyright RedPlanet Poster Collection, H97.237/7

Yuk! It's been irradiated. Copyright Red Letter Press Poster Collection

Yuk! It's been irradiated. Copyright Red Letter Press Poster Collection, H2003.90/661

Food in World War 2

Food shortages and rationing - from ERGO, the State Library's research and resources guide for secondary school students. You can also search for other food related topics on the site.

The politics of food

Food and nutrition, politics and policy - Research guide from University of Melbourne.