Food Fight! New Australian food sovereignty campaign launched
By Claire Parfitt
On 16th May, 2012, in the small Victorian town of Kyabram, the Goulburn Valley Food Cooperative launched its inspiring campaign for food sovereignty.
The campaign launch saw hundreds of people from the local community coming together with supporters from around Australia to watch the film Food Fight. Produced by the campaigners themselves, Food Fight tells their story and locates this battle in the context of ever-increasing corporate control of our food. After the film, workers, growers and many others from the local community spoke about why they are supporting the cooperative, before enjoying a supper of sausage sandwiches, accompanied by the very same tomato sauce the GV Food Coop will soon be making available around the country.
The GV Food Coop comes out of a long battle by the workers and community in this area, since the decision of major employer and a multinational giant, Heinz, to close its factory last year. The workers responded to the closure decision by getting together with other stakeholders in the community, including growers, and attempting to buy the factory for themselves.
Heinz knocked back the community's offer to buy the site, despite having received substantial corporate welfare from the government and financial support from the community over the years.
Refusing to be deterred by this set-back, the GV Food Coop has found another site for its project, which will involve not only food processing, but extensive training for workers, innovative distribution arrangements and stable relationships with local growers, creating a wholly sustainable 'food-hub' system for food production and consumption. The project is based on a foundation of democratic decision-making, and strong financial and other support from people in the region and across Australia. You can join the GV Food Coop and be a part of the future of Australian food by visiting their website : http://goulburnvalleyfoodcoop.com/
The GV Food Coop, like other exciting food-hub projects now in planning phases around the country, model a new vision for Australia's agrifood system.