NEW ALLIANCE CALLS FOR PARTICIPATION IN FOOD POLICY
An alliance of small businesses, family farmers, social enterprises, community organisations, and individuals working in food related areas has called upon Australia's political parties to include them in the development of the proposed national policy on food.
The proposed policy was recently announced by federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Tony Burke MP. The idea of a national policy on Australia's food has been prompted and supported by major food corporations and agribusiness.
"With food and agriculture fundamental to the wellbeing of every Australian, smaller organisations, businesses and individuals should have a say in how policy is made in this vital area", said Robert Pekin, co-founder of the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA).
In a letter sent today to Tony Burke MP, the Opposition and the Greens, the AFSA calls for a participatory, inclusive process to formulate a national food policy. In the few days since it was circulated, the letter has received more than 80 group and individual signatories, including leading community food initiatives, social enterprises, family farmers and academics from across the country.
“Hundreds of thousands – if not millions - of Australians are directly involved in building a sustainable, resilient, health-promoting and socially just food system", said Mr. Pekin.
“They include small food retailers, restaurants, small and medium-sized farmers, suppliers and patrons of farmers' markets, backyard, school and community gardeners and the emerging community-shared agriculture sector. Yet, to date, their voices have been ignored in discussions about a national food plan.”
Mr. Pekin said that the experience of these smaller organisations has much to offer a national food policy. Their input would balance that of the big business organisations whilst bringing valuable, innovative ideas that would make any food policy inclusive and more effective.
“A well-functioning food system should do three things: take care of the environment, provide safe and nourishing food to all people – regardless of their capacity to pay – and provide a sustainable livelihood for those producing the food”, says Nick Rose, AFSA co-founder and NSW spokesman.
“Making our food system sustainable, secure and socially equitable must be the central goal of a national food policy. The AFSA insists that the voices of the many thousands of Australians who are already working towards this goal must be heard in this issue of critical national and global significance”, Mr Rose added.
For Interview: Robert Pekin M: 0404 777 491 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Letter to the ALP, copied to the Coalition and the Greens: http://foodsovereigntyalliance.org/text-of-august-2010-letter-to-politicians
Robert Pekin, 0404 777 491. email@example.com
Russ Grayson 0414 065 203. firstname.lastname@example.org
Victoria— Kerry Dawborn, 03 59689828. email@example.com
NSW: Nick Rose, 02 6655 9442. firstname.lastname@example.org
South Australia: Joel Catchlove 0403 886 951. email@example.com
Tasmania: Zoe Magnus, 0407 323 761. firstname.lastname@example.org