The humble dandelion flowers every month and every year throughout the world. This hardy plant is known for its healing properties, its nutritional value and the extraordinary ability of its taproots to continuously improve the quality of the soil. The dandelion propagates by releasing its seeds into the environment, so too, The Alison Principle aspires to spread and release seeds of sustainable wisdom, ideas and advice to benefit our own species and planet.
What we do
Director, Alison Drover, is independently recognised for her food consulting knowledge, exceptional menus and styling. She has an industry reputation in the area of food responsibility and is an active ambassador for food. The Alison Principle is a company with skills and expertise in food, health, sustainability, marketing, public relations, design, events, entertainment, catering and community relations.
We work with business leaders, marketers, sustainability managers, human resources managers, government, business owners, restaurants, chefs, schools, universities, hospitals, designers, product manufacturers, landscape architects, public relations companies, event managers, green groups, multi-nationals and the broader community.
Alison Drover, Director of The Alison Principle, has an industry reputation for creativity with food and an in-depth knowledge and intuitive ability to create food that sells. Alison has been designing sustainable menus, organising food events, styling food, writing about food and working with farmers and producers for over fifteen years. Her commitment to quality and her interest in the production, culture and history of food attracted her to the Slow Food movement and her voluntary role as convivium leader for Slow Food Sydney that she held for four years. Alison has been instrumental in raising awareness on issues such as genetically modified foods, indigenous food culture, farmers markets, sustainable seafood and the creation of kitchen gardens for children.
The Alison Principle works directly with clients such as corporate catering departments, airlines, government and supermarkets. We also act as an intermediary between suppliers and food service providers to assist in the transition of responsible dining practices and in the creation of highly competitive menus.
Sustainability and environmental food procurement is central to achieving quality food and health. Health is an increasingly important consideration with the proliferation and heightened awareness of food related illnesses and allergies such as celiac disease. The Alison Principle consults on health and food issues by connecting businesses with new suppliers and assisting with diet related menus that appeal to a general audience by ensuring quality, nutrition, value and taste.
The Alison Principle has established relationships with farmers and producers, regional food bodies, NSW Farmers, Department of Business and Regional Development, the Royal Agricultural Society, Slow Food and local food communities.
- Food consultation, styling and food concepts – local, seasonal, sustainable
- Carbon reduction strategies for food and events – festivals and catering
- Sustainable consultation and procurement for business, food services, catering and schools
- Food marketing and business development for local producers and growers
The Alison Principle uses sustainable principles to create original and stylish event concepts that are green by design. We aim to impress your clients and stakeholders without compromising pleasure and profit for our planet. Through our knowledge, research and partnerships we become your conduit to efficient event managing and sourcing.
We provide solutions, ideas and competitive marketing strategies that offer sustainable alternatives to your company's current practices. We can enhance your company's triple bottom line by introducing suppliers who embrace sustainability and work with you to ensure that everyone involved enjoys outstanding results.
The Alison Principle co-ordinates and sources inspiring, informative and relevant speakers from industries such as architecture, health, agriculture, design and food. As leaders in sustainability, our speakers practice what they preach bringing first hand knowledge and cutting edge ideas to their audiences.
We teach companies how to integrate people, planet and profit by offering public speaking engagements, team-building seminars and by connecting businesses to community projects. We also design educational workshops in permaculture, cooking, green living and soil preparation. We are continuously adding new workshops and are happy to discuss and prepare workshops according to your needs.
Alison Drover is a creative producer and designer and firmly believes that art and design play an important role in shifting attitudes and creating awareness for our natural environment. We collaborate with artists and architects to produce unique art installations, special event and festival projects which are green by design.
At a time of growing anxiety about how we feed a crowded earth, The Alison Principle works with companies and communities to think differently about the way we use land, produce food and relate to each other. We advocate food production in the development of buildings and public places and work with our partners to integrate roof gardens, vertical gardens, worm farms and recycled water and irrigation systems.
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Breakfast On The Bridge, Events NSW Crave Festival, October 2009
The location – Sydney Harbour Bridge. The occasion – Breakfast on the Bridge, a celebration of Sydney's great outdoors, it's community spirit and its iconic Bridge. Over 10,000 square metres of lush, green grass replaced bitumen. Six thousand people enjoyed the opportunity to picnic, connect and converse. It was a surreal sight to behold – a patchwork of individually created picnics and award-winning regional produce nesting in a pocket of calm. The music of birds, the milking of cows, the hum of excited people and the presence of farmers and producers dominated one of Sydney's busiest thoroughfares replacing thick, noisy traffic with the peaceful ambience of satisfied picnic goers.
The Alison Principle was engaged as a food consultant and creative producer for Breakfast on the Bridge, an event which the NSW Government announced would be part of the inaugural Sydney International Food Festival. The Alison Principle was employed by the NSW Premier's Department and worked collaboratively with Events New South Wales Crave Festival, Hill and Knowlton, Cambridge Events and Producer, Tony Assness.
The challenge was to design and produce an outstanding food concept for a world class food event to be hosted on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Another major logistical challenge would require the smooth restoration of regular traffic conditions to the Bridge within a four hour framework.
The Alison Principle embraced these challenge meeting both Events NSW's objective to highlight Sydney as a destination and Crave Festival's objective to highlight Sydney's outdoor dining, lifestyle and community spirit. The extraordinary idea of a community picnic on the Bridge was approved and work began in earnest to create a wondrous experience that would become Sydney's Breakfast on the Bridge.
The food strategy was unique with the onus on the ballot winning ticket attendees to be the creative producers of their own picnics. The Alison Principle provided a range of recipes from The Australian Woman's Weekly's Picnic cookbook on the website. Ideas for children's food, making the picnic experience 'green' and links to growers' markets and seasonal NSW regional producers were also provided. Promoting local, seasonal produce provided a platform for NSW Tourism to build on the event in the future.
A social media marketing focus using Facebook and Twitter encouraged the sharing of recipes which quickly created momentum and enthusiasm for the event. Delighted attendees were gifted New South Wales' award-winning regional produce directly from the farmers – handmade raspberry jam from the Southern Highlands, yoghurt from the Riverina and Batlow apples from the base of the Snowy Mountains. The items were chosen to compliment a breakfast picnic – the jam a memento of the event. The 10,500 square metres of turf were donated to schools and football fields after the event.
"This is Sydney at its very best and another extraordinary event proving we can do anything."
Mr Nathan Rees, Premier NSW
"In an era when our lives seem increasingly ruled by fear, Breakfast on the Bridge was a balm. It turned a disparate city into a newly created community full of goodwill."
Simon Thomsen, Sydney Food Writer, The Sydney Morning Herald
Watch the video of this extraordinary event as it unfolds.
Eveleigh Farmers' Market – Redfern Waterloo Authority
The Alison Principle was employed as a food and marketing consultant by the Redfern Waterloo Authority for the launch of the Eveleigh Farmers' Market in 2008. We were directly involved in creating the website and publicity, creating the brand and launching the event. Alison's expertise in food consulting and her knowledge of local farmers and producers contributed to procuring leading NSW farmers and producers for which the market is awarded and loved.
The Christmas launch event attracted over 6000 people. A fun, authentic marketing strategy created strong brand...
... awareness by combining local produce and the Market's brand colour in the form of oranges as Christmas decorations. The launch event included an indigenous smoking ceremony, farmers on stilts, butter making demonstrations, free oranges and organic gingerbread, a communal table for the public, heritage pigs on the spit and a specially produced Christmas Market chutney. We promoted the market by involving local farmers in the distribution of free Riverina oranges from their utes in central city locations. Each ute displayed a festive pine tree decorated with oranges.
After only seven months of operation, the Eveleigh Market Redfern Waterloo's premier markets were declared the best markets in Sydney. The Eveleigh Farmers' Market won The Sydney Morning Herald's 'Foodies Guide to Sydney 2010 Award for Best Markets in Sydney' based on the criteria of 'excellence of product, knowledge and understanding of what is stocked, attention to detail and engagement with business'. The award also acknowledged the management's undertaking of authenticity audits with stallholders on an ongoing basis to ensure product quality.
The Australian Centre for Event Management 5th International Event Management Research Conference
Working with the Marriott Hotel and Holiday Inn, The Alison Principle set a new benchmark by providing and implementing sustainable food strategies and catering ideas to a conference of event managers whose focus over the three–day event was 'Meeting the Challenge of Sustainable Development'. On site food preparation, use of seasonal produce and new relationships with local growers were achieved. Sustainability practices for lighting and entertainment were also assessed for future events.
Bush Tucker Picnic
In partnership with the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, The Alison Principle created a Bush Tucker Picnic for Slow Food Sydney. The event created awareness for and promoted the intrinsic values that indigenous food has in health and the environment.
By strategically including the event in the Sydney International Food Festival, The Botanic Gardens' profile was lifted by benefiting from substantial marketing exposure. The event highlighted the importance of the work the Botanic Gardens achieves in conservation, preservation and education. The Alison Principle has established an event for the future that promotes and uses the gardens. It also provides an opportunity to create new partnerships aligned with sustainability and caring for the environment.
Evergreen – Park, Planet, Plate
In 2008, The Alison Principle created 'Evergreen – Park, Planet, Plate' the first fundraising dinner for the Centennial Parklands Foundation. We sourced quality produce from local NSW farmers and producers and worked collaboratively with our partners. The event raised money for a recycled garden and education centre within the Centennial Parklands.
Specifically, The Alison Principle worked with the marketing team at Centennial Parklands to recycle and transplant the theming props back into the land. The event speakers and producers were selected for their expertise and association with the Parklands, and they highlighted to sponsors and donors the importance of preservation, maintenance and continually reinventing the Parklands as a space for people to enjoy and use.
Food for the future
The food we purchase and create has an impact on climate change, planet biodiversity and on our health. We cannot take our food for granted. Our food system is changing. Population growth, climate change and high energy prices are having a worldwide impact on the availability and pricing of food. This is compounded by consumer issues such as genetically engineered foods, patenting, and the corporatisation of food. All of these factors will have consequences on our future food choices.
With this in mind a great opportunity presents itself – sustainability. It's inspiring people to get incredibly creative with the way that they eat, the way that they garden, and the way that they feed their families. People are thinking deeply about where their food comes from and who produces it. Profits and market share are shifting because people are demanding sustainability and corporate responsibility be practiced. Individuals and businesses have an opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint, improve the quality and taste of the food they serve and in turn improve the health and wellbeing of staff, clients and loved ones. The Alison Principle's vision is to promote the desirability, quality and taste of food using responsible, sustainable practices. We delight in working with our clients on this transformational journey.
On a global level, farmers are being challenged daily by issues such as restrictions on water usage, environmental disasters and highly competitive imports. On a local level our food pricing and availability is affected by the food choices we make at our local markets, grocers and supermarkets. As an example, biodiversity can be seriously affect our produce when plentiful supplies of cheaper and heavily marketed varieties are pitted against lesser known and slightly more expensive varieties. Being complacent about our food knowledge and growers and simply accepting our choices does make a difference to the food that will be supplied to us in the future. Our soil, our health, our jobs, our farmers and our food choices are impacted by what we ask for and what we buy each week.
If farmers are unable to sustain their farms and remain competitive then they face having to sell up. Leaving the land presents a threat to our agricultural heritage. The knowledge for agricultural innovation and advancement will never be realised. Providing food for our nation and for export will diminish. Prices will go up.
The Alison Principle truly believes that our farmers need our support. We need their skills, knowledge and the produce varieties for our health and our economy. Paying a fair price will ensure biodiversity and supply.
Use local, seasonal produce to minimise the energy used in food production, transport and storage.
Specify food from farms that minimise harm to the environment, such as certified organic produce.
Limit foods of animal origin such as meat, dairy and eggs and use ethical producers.
Avoid fish from unsustainable seacage aquaculture and exclude 'overfished' species.
Choose Fairtrade-certified products to ensure a fair deal for disadvantaged producers.
Avoid bottled water. Use plain or filtered tap water in reusable jugs or bottles to minimise transport and packaging waste.
Promote health and well-being by eating moderately, preparing meals rich in fruit, vegetables, pulses, wholegrains and nuts, reducing salt and cutting out artificial additives. Don't waste food.
For more information about Food for the Future, ensure you bookmark Alison's blog and visit it regularly.
Corporate and social responsibility is fundamental to The Alison Principle. Each year we dedicate energy and expertise to assist
not-for-profit organisations to achieve some of their objectives.
Alison Drover lives her principles in the lush, green hinterland of Northern NSW where she grows here own food organically, has chickens and runs The Alison Principle. She has also recently launched 'Fork in the Field' a business that produces and promotes local organic and seasonal food products, hosts farm-to-fork cooking classes and growing your own food classes.
Alison is inspired by sustainability.
An ambassador for 'taste' and responsible eating, Alison is recognised for her food sustainability expertise and her creative collaborative strategies and sustainable design.
As a successful food writer and stylist Alison regularly contributes recipes and articles to several industry magazines including Sprout, a celebration of local food, producers and cuisine and a forum for community organisations, government agencies and industry groups to put forward their messages of sustainable food systems. She is a devoted advocate for a food economy that is 'good, clean and fair' and writes on issues relating to food culture, ethics and history.
Alison is also involved with a number of not-for-profit organisations; she was the co-convivum leader for Slow Food Sydney for four years, an international group which counteracts fast food and the disappearance of local food traditions. She currently assists the Northern Rivers Community Foundation with their events and marketing.
Here's what people are saying about The Alison Principle.
The Sustainable Warriors
"It's about developing
win-win solutions for communities and the environment."
Australian Events Do It Greener
"Event managers need to ask themselves 'What is our role and opportunity in a carbon constrained world?'"
Events That Keep On Giving
"I think the events industry will be determined by how they respond to the need to change."
Alison's food creativity and commitment to ethical, sustainable events is a breath of fresh air and it's always a pleasure to collaborate with her.
The Sydney International Food Festival
"We met Alison as a result of our involvement in the inaugural Breakfast on the Bridge promotion in 2009.
Alison's passion and appreciation for promoting 'real' local produce was greatly appreciated. Her ongoing commitment to finding and recognising producers who appreciate sustainability and authenticity ensures a positive result for not only the growers, but consumers as well. We would have no hesitation in recommending Alison to any potential clients."
Nicki and Dave Penn
Cuttaway Creek Raspberry Farm
Alison takes a wholistic approach to her work, understanding the importance of getting under the skin of her client or project. This is the reason she gets the results you want.
Belinda Franks Catering
After knowing Alison for a number of years and working with her on a number of events, I have found her dedication to ethical food production faultless. Her energy and passion shine through a creative and seemingly endless bank of ideas which she always follows through. I hope to continue working with Alison well into the future.
Danks Street Depot
The Alison Principle was our chosen partner for our global conference 'Meeting the Challenge of Sustainable Development'. Alison worked with our partners (the Marriott Hotel and Holiday Inn, Surfers Paradise) to create a low carbon footprint by adopting sustainable menus for the duration of the conference. Alison went to extraordinary lengths to work with the hotel chefs, who not only encouraged them to cook in house, but also to source seasonal produce from local growers. Her efforts were overwhelming applauded by our staff and our conference attendees.
The Australian Centre for Event Management, UTS
The Australian Centre for Event Management, UTS