In support of small-scale, regenerative farmers in Victoria, the following organisations have submitted responses to the Victorian Government's Planning for Sustainable Animal Industries Draft Planning Provisions.
The Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA) has submitted a response to the Victorian Government's Planning for Sustainable Animal Industries Draft Planning Provisions. View the submission here.
The Victorian Government's current proposals will do serious damage to the regenerative and small-scale livestock farmers of Victoria. See AFSA's media release regarding the proposed changes here.
Summary of AFSA's recommendations:
- Recommendation 1: That the Government continue to allow low-risk, low impact grazing animals as an allowable use in the UGZ.
- Recommendation 2: That the trigger to judge a pastured pig farm a Section 2 use (streamlined process) be set at more than 25 SPU/Ha, subject to meeting minimum standards.
- Recommendation 3: That the trigger to judge a pastured poultry farm a Section 2 use (streamlined process) be set at more than 450 birds/Ha, subject to meeting minimum standards.
- Recommendation 4: Treat all pastured livestock systems with supplemental feeding the same in the land use definitions and graduated controls, subject to meeting minimum standards.
- Recommendation 5: That all pastured livestock are defined under ‘Grazing Animal Production’, but that the term be changed to ‘Pastured Animal Production’. We further recommend that where feeding infrastructure is mobile that the setback from waterways and environmentally sensitive areas be set at no more than 20m.
- Recommendation 6: Maintain the definition of ‘intensive’ as drafted in the new VPP, and include intensive pig and poultry farms in that nesting diagram.
- Recommendation 7: That the Government’s proposed Action 6 – to establish a panel of animal industries specialists to provide technical advice to local government – include representation from small-scale pastured pig and poultry
- Recommendation 8: Develop Codes of Practice in close consultation with small- scale pastured pig and poultry farmers. (See draft Code of Practice for Pastured Pig Production in Appendix C for what such codes might include.)
- Recommendation 9: That a regulatory impact statement be prepared urgently.
AFSA's Annual General Meeting will be held on Tuesday 24th October to finish up the Food Sovereignty Convergence in Canberra. Below are the nominations for AFSA's 2018 National Committee.
President- Tammi Jonas
Current AFSA President Tammi Jonas is re-nominating for President in 2018 to continue to lend her strong female farmer’s voice to the fight for food sovereignty in Australia.
Along with her hypercompetent husband and three #orsmkids, Tammi raises rare breed Large Black pigs and cattle in central Victoria at Jonai Farms & Meatsmiths. A former vegetarian academic, Tammi now does whole-carcass butchering on the farm (thanks to two successful crowdfunding campaigns to build a boning room, commercial kitchen, & curing room), and sells their ethical pork and beef predominantly through a thriving CSA (community-supported agriculture).
Jonai Farms is an ethically viable no-growth model – Tammi often says we need to multiply our farms, not scale them, to support more people working the land fairly and to revive rural communities and local food economies. Jonai Farms features in Australia’s first food politics documentary Fair Food, and Tammi also has a chapter in the anthology Fair Food, published by UQ Press.
Tammi has been writing about food culture, ethics and politics since 2006 at her blog Tammi Jonas: Food Ethics, and speaks regularly on food sovereignty at public events, on radio, and in print media. She is also a founding member and inaugural Chair of Fair Food Farmers United (FFFU), the producers' branch of the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA).
As President over the past three years Tammi has worked solidly for fair and consistent regulation of farming and food production and distribution, and led the process to establish a Legal Defence Fund to protect and promote the right of people to determine their own food and agriculture systems.
She has helped AFSA establish its voice and authority on a range of issues and secured frequent meetings with a number of politicians to lobby for significant reform, as well as leading the process for submissions to government inquiries, including the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into the impact of regulation on agriculture, and the Victorian Government’s Animal Industries Advisory Committee, and she is now leading the campaign to protect free-range farming in Victoria in the face of the Government’s proposed revisions to the planning provisions.
Tammi has also had the privilege to attend a variety of meetings of the global food sovereignty movement, including meetings of: the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty (IPC), Urgenci: the International Network for Community-Supported, Slow Meat, the Asia Pacific Regional Meeting of the Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations (UN), Slow Food’s Terra Madre, and the Civil Society Mechanism (CSM) that relates to the UN World Committee for Food Security (CFS). She helped lead the process to gain membership of the leading voice of the global food sovereignty movement La Via Campesina (LVC).
The extent of Tammi’s work in Australia and internationally has deepened and broadened her understanding of the issues in the food system locally and globally and she is keen to continue applying that knowledge and experience to assist farmers and eaters, AFSA, the FFFU and the global food sovereignty movement in the role of President.
Nomination supported by:
Vice-President- Ben McMenamin
As a professional chef of 10 years and a graduate of the Bachelor Environmental Social Science at RMIT, Ben combines a strong knowledge of food research, education, and policy development with extensive hands-on experience in growing and cooking sustainable food at a commercial scale.
Working as a chef in a number of contexts has given Ben first-hand experience in understanding the challenges and opportunities for food systems. This culinary experience has also developed Ben's leadership skills and the capacity to collaborate and innovate under time pressure to deliver excellent results.
In 2015, Ben started a cause-based business called the Social Food Project which hosts pop-up food events that communicate ideas about sustainability.
Ben also works as a project-based sustainability professional with organisations including the City of Melbourne, RMIT University, and the UN Global Compact. This work includes project management, workshop facilitation, and program development. Ben has hosted a number of behaviour change programs, including the C16 Design Hack.
Nomination supported by:
Secretary- Penny Kothe
Farm Girl (herb and vegetable grower, cook, marketing, research, observation and assisting with larger projects)
Raised in Tumbarumba in the NSW Snowies, then Sydney and later Mudgee and the north coast of NSW. Coming from a farming family with a great interest in gardening, Penny feels right at home on the open spaces of the farm. Penny became interested in studying horticulture, then permaculture and holistic management and is continuing to learn and apply these principles each and every day. She completed her PDC with Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton in 2012 as well as various courses including Forest Gardens, Natural Bee Keeping, Urban Permaculture and Holistic Management. She has recently completed a Diploma in Organic Farming.
Current Secretary of the Southern Harvest Association, Treasurer Bungendore Landcare.
Treasurer- Deepa Dureja
Deepa is a CPA qualified accountant, having worked for Food Connect in Brisbane where her interest in food and ethical sourcing of food grew. She has worked for a number of not for profit organisations and public services in Melbourne before moving to Brisbane in 2011. Deepa has a strong interest in working with social enterprises and the not for profit sector and strongly believes in a fairer and more ethical food system.
Nomination supported by:
Communications Officer- Katie Johnston
Currently acting as AFSA Communications Officer, Katie Johnston wishes to renominate for 2018.
Katie is an avid gardener, studied Social & Environmental Science at RMIT, and majored in Plant Biology. She developed a passion for small-scale, regenerative farming while WWOOFing through North America in 2010, and subsequently undertaking her Permaculture Design Certificate. She believes that small-scale agricultural systems have the capacity to help regenerate long-neglected ecosystems in Australia. Once a vegan, after studying food systems as part of her undergraduate degree(s) and integrating herself into her local farming and urban agriculture communities via work experience (on farms and for Melbourne Farmers Markets), programs (e.g. Farmer Incubator) and general hanging about…Katie began eating ethically sourced dairy and meat products again.
Katie formerly owned a bar and restaurant with her partner Kyle, and acted as Social Media Manager for this business. In her former life she was a Photographer and has a passion for communication and storytelling, particularly about farming.
While Katie does not have vast experience in Communications, she wishes to work more effectively for AFSA, whose work she strongly admires and values. As such, Katie is committed to investing more of her personal time into training for this role, in order to better serve the organisation. This will likely look like spending time undertaking a social media management course and learning how to better write for the web, as well as becoming more adept at using WordPress for the purposes AFSA uses it. While Katie feels she is placed to properly contribute to AFSA in the Communications Officer role currently, she is excited to expand her abilities and work as a more effective team member in the future.
Nomination supported by:
International Liason- Katarina Munksgaard
Current interim vice president of AFSA, Katarina Munksgaard is nominating for the international liaison position for the 2017-2018 committee to get more involved with the international food sovereignty issues and communicate these back to AFSA’s members and subscribers.
Having grown up on an intensive pig farm in rural Denmark, Kat realised early the detrimental effects of industrial and intensive farming. She believes food sovereignty as a concept is fitting to start to tackle these issues because it emphasises people’s democratic right to access nutritious and culturally-appropriate food grown in ethical and ecologically-sound ways.
Kat is an anthropologist specialising in farming and interspecies relationships. She recently finished her master’s thesis on the food sovereignty movement in Australia. Kat got involved with AFSA to support her thesis work in 2015-16. She has interviewed and interacted with a large number of small-scale regenerative farmers all over Australia providing her with an in depth understanding of both the motivations behind choosing these farming methods and the current issues that farmers face. She has worked as a research assistant at Deakin University on the project Sustainable Fishing Families and can now also report on food sovereignty issues in the Australian fishing industry.
Kat has also worked specifically on the topic of genetically modified crops in India and the farmers who farm these crops. She has written extensively on the globalized and commodified food system and analysed the detrimental social and environmental effects these systems have on especially people in the Global South.
Nomination supported by:
Fair Food Farmers United (FFFU) Chair- Phil Stringer
Phil Stringer is currently managing a small mixed farm in SE Qld, running free range purebred Tamworth pigs, a small herd of cattle and growing subtropical perennial tubers along with various cut flowers and vegetables.
He's also a director of the Mary Valley Country Harvest Coop which provides weekly deliveries to the Sunshine Coast and valuable training, workshops and farm tours to local growers, as well as being actively involved in a project to get a local mixed species abattoir in the region again.
His background is in land management, and he continues to work off farm on revegetation projects.
He joined the AFSA national committee in August 2016.
Nomination supported by:
The catalyst for Ant's interest in food sovereignty was WOOFing on permaculture properties during an 11 month trip around Latin America in 2014/15. Since then he became a vegan; left the city; started working on small scale farms; built a sound understanding of sustainable food production; and started eating ethical meat again! Over the past 18 months, he's moved towards his goal of starting a farming enterprise by working closely with small scale farmers producing eggs, poultry, pork, beef, fruit, veggies and honey, and is currently exploring the possibility of running a fruit orchard with diversified production added over time. He is passionate about regenerating the land, producing ethical nutrient dense food, building strong Community Supported Agriculture and resilient localised food systems.
Ant is a strong believer that as sovereign individuals we should have the right to determine our own food systems and to access safe wholesome food that we choose, rather than be at the mercy of multinational agribusiness and its capitalist goals. As a general member of the AFSA committee Ant can harness his passion for food sovereignty to lobby governments, collaborate with other organisations and educate eaters. Together we can create radical change!
Nomination supported by:
Fran Murrell co-founded MADGE, a group that looks at GM, it's effects on farmers, eaters, land, water and life, in 2007. MADGE strongly supports and promotes food sovereignty and a transformation from the current food system. Fran has spent over 20 years researching the issue and realises we need a much deeper and richer engagement with food, farming and the ‘culture’ that agriculture creates. She was a member of the original AFSA committee. In 2016 she attended the Monsanto Tribunal in The Hague. MADGE has always had a focus on understanding that the ills of the food system are global and so the networks for change need to be international too. She has spoken across Australia as well as in the US and Canada, written articles and submissions and contributed to three books.
Nomination supported by:
Catie Gressier is a researcher and cultural anthropologist based in Freo, Western Australia. She grew up in Sydney, but spent school holidays hanging out on her uncle’s dairy farm, which kick-started a long fascination with farming. She worked in diverse roles after school, from hospitality, to tourism, to Native Title, before undertaking a PhD in anthropology at UWA. With a regional focus on southern Africa and Australia, Catie has since published widely on settler relationships to land, and the anthropology of food (meat in particular). Her first book, At Home in the Okavango, examines belonging and connections to land among the white citizens of northwest Botswana, while her second book, Illness, Identity and Taboo among Australian Paleo Dieters,explores the industrial food system and contemporary consumption practices via the Paleo diet.
After five years at the University of Melbourne, she has recently relocated to Western Australia, where she is developing a new project working with regenerative farmers in both Western Australia and Victoria. This research explores how livestock farmers are responding to the ecological, social and economic challenges they face, in order to determine how they can best be supported in producing high welfare, culturally appropriate and nutritious foods sustainably. She has great respect for the work of AFSA, and would be delighted to offer her skills, knowledge and networks to help the committee pursue its goals in 2018.
Nomination supported by:
CEO, Australia Pork Ltd
18 October 2017
Small-scale pastured pig farmers have concerns about whether Australia Pork Limited (APL) genuinely represents them. It is a matter of material interest to all pig farmers given the compulsory levy paid per carcass directly to APL. We have been alerted to a number of farmers (in addition to me) who have asked APL to please show how the organisation is actively supporting small-scale farms, but to date we have had only platitudes.
For some years now, the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA) has been monitoring APL’s support for small-scale farmers, and what we have witnessed is in fact a systematic campaign to undermine the efforts of the growing number of small-scale pastured pig farmers.
Examples of APL’s efforts against small-scale growers include:
- APL has given evidence in multiple VCAT cases against small-scale pastured pig farms, and in some cases taken the side of large-scale intensive pig producers against small-scale pastured farms, such as in the case of intensive producer and former head of the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) Pig Group John Bourke brought against small-scale free-range growers Freeland Pork. Given APL’s claims that it represents all Australian pig producers, there is an obvious conflict of interest where it supports one producer against another in legal proceedings.
- APL has made unsolicited phone calls to local councils, urging officers to pursue small-scale growers and require them to apply for permits for intensive animal husbandry.
- Since the 2015 VCAT ruling against Happy Valley Free Range which was heavily influenced by APL’s testimony against the small-scale farm, APL has taken the position that all pig farms should be treated the same under state planning provisions in spite of small-scale pastured pig farmers’ stance that they should be treated as other grazing systems with supplemental feed. In the case of the recent work to revise the Victorian Planning Provisions by the Animal Industries Advisory Committee (AIAC), the Committee noted:
Australian Pork Limited supported all pork producers being required to obtain approvals to ensure operations can benefit from ‘good siting, design and management’. It considered that departing from the current definitions of extensive and intensive animal husbandry is seen as a step towards transparency and planning certainty.
In taking this position, APL advocated to remove the label ‘intensive’ from large-scale intensive growers as well as from small-scale extensive growers, rendering them nearly indistinguishable in the proposed new provisions.
The Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA) is a membership-based organization working for everyone’s right to access nutritious and culturally-appropriate food grown in ethical and ecologically-sound ways, and their right to collectively determine their own food and agriculture systems. We have over 700 individual and organisational members, at least a third of whom are small-scale farmers.
We call on APL to explain:
- Why it is actively working against the interests of small-scale pig farmers in its work around planning and regulation; and
- Why small-scale pig farmers should be forced to pay a levy to a body working actively against their interests.
In the interest of transparency and accountability, we write this demand in public, and ask that APL make a public response.
Date of release: 16 October 2017
The Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA) will host the annual Food Sovereignty Convergence in Canberra on the 23rd and 24th of October 2017 at the Burrungiri Cultural Centre.
The convergence will provide an opportunity for attendees to debate, share stories, analyse, strategise and plan towards building a fair food system for all Australians.
Held as an extension of Fair Food Week 2017, the Food Sovereignty Convergence will attract farmers, consumer advocates, right to food activists, urban agriculturalists, educators, communicators & innovators, and is open to anyone who sees themselves as part of Australia's food sovereignty movement.
The Food Sovereignty Convergence is run as an ‘un-conference’, allowing sessions to be determined democratically on each day and to encourage participation from attendees, as well as broad and inclusive discussions around the measures needed to promote Fair Food.
Topics up for discussion this year include issues around genetically modified (GM) technologies in agriculture, the impact of regulation and planning schemes on small-scale farmers, hunger activism and the 'right to food', and food sovereignty at a global level.
In addition to the un-conference agenda, the closing of the first day of the convergence will see Bruce Pascoe discuss reconciliation of First People's land management with the new movement of regenerative farming. Following this, a potluck dinner, for which separate tickets can be purchased, will be held on the Monday night at Canberra City Farm.
Penny Kothe of Caroola Farm, the Southern Harvest Association and AFSA Secretary, has said "Food Sovereignty should be important to all Australians. It represents one’s ability to choose who and where they buy their food from and in the case of farmers, to produce food that is a reflection of our deep understanding of how the land, animals and people are all interconnected.
The Food Sovereignty Movement and its allies advocate for size-appropriate legislation that is reflective of the true nature of small-scale, ethical farming operations. Coming together to discuss, plan and envision the ways in which we can strengthen the movement will allow farmers, eaters, legislators and everyone interested in Food Sovereignty to come together to connect over shared ideas and productive dialogue.”
This year, Bruce Pascoe is set to highlight the importance of events such as the Food Sovereignty Convergence in recognising the impact of First People's land management practices, and how the future of farming could look if we work with the First Peoples of Australia to utilise their ‘grossly undervalued’ knowledge to improve farming systems in this country.
"Imagine re-educating the nation and utilising the two major crops of Aboriginal Australia: yams (as well as other root vegetables) and grains. All of these plants were domesticated by Aboriginal people and these are the plants which offer the most exciting prospects for farming today."
Tickets for the 2017 Food Sovereignty Convergence can be purchased via the AFSA website or the Try Booking event page.
• Tammi Jonas, AFSA President M: 0422 429 362
• Penny Kothe, AFSA Secretary E: email@example.com