Greetings all. It is early June as I write this and winter is meant to have started in my region. However there have been no frosts and I have tomatoes still yielding which is unheard of.
Forecasts of this being the precursor for an El-Nino event is not good news for our farmers and gardeners, as hot dry conditions will prevail this summer.
There is so much happening on the food sovereignty front in Australia it really is hard to know where to start — perhaps the Northern Territory.
Fair food movement is booming
- I had the great privilege and honour of meeting up with fair food pioneers in Darwin a few weeks ago. What the visit brought home strongly, is how just dynamic and vibrant the grass roots fair food scene has become all over the country. One of the things that amazes me is that no matter where you look in Australia the fair food movement is booming – it is happening everywhere.
- Have you ever wondered what your volunteer contribution to AFSA and the common good is worth? I mean put a dollar price on it? Well here is just one example of our contribution to Australian civil society. The Peoples' Food Plans National Food Plan (NFP). We now know (thanks to a question asked in parliament by The Greens) that the National Food Plan cost taxpayers $4.5 million dollars! The Peoples' Food Plan (your effort) has contributed a similar amount to the national debate.
- The Peoples' Food Plan (PFP) is Australia’s first ever, and is the only crowd sourced national policy document. It can be accessed by all Australians at the National Library of Australia as well as our website. The PFP is worth every bit as much as the $4.5 million NFP, and we continue to donate our time effort and skills to the common good – well done you!
- The University of Queensland Press has enthusiastically agreed to publish a book edited by AFSA’s coordinator Nick Rose. The book will be called Fair Food: the story of a movement. Well done Nick!
- Whilst I am talking about Nick, he deserves much recognition and praise as a major driving force behind AFSA, so it is wonderful news that Nick has been awarded a Churchill fellowship. Nick’s Churchill studies will be of great benefit to the development of fair food and Urban Agriculture in Australia, as Nick will share his findings, enabling us to pick through the world’s best ideas and projects and apply those we deem appropriate to Australia. Nick will be away for 3 months investigating innovative models of urban agriculture in the USA, Canada and Argentina.
- The documentary 'Fair Food' that we crowd funded is being filmed right now and should be ready for a national launch during Fair Food Week.
- Organic food sales were up 11.5% in 2013 in the USA and we are sure by a similar if not greater amount here in Australia.
- Councils and state governments are responding to demands for relocalised food systems. The ACT Government’s Minister for Agriculture has convened a Food Policy Round Table with community groups to determine policy initiatives. All this is being driven by community demands such as the drive for the ‘Capital Region Food Hubs'. These sorts of initiatives are happening in your area so please get involved and promote the principles and values of food sovereignty to your local council, state and federal politicians and governments.
- There have been a massive increase in interest in community funded ethically produced foods, and this is a good thing. Some examples: Lauren Mathers, a free range Bundarra Berkshire pig producer and AFSA committee member, has been very successful in her crowd funding campaign; Tammi Jonas, producer of heritage breed Large Black pigs and driver of Fair Food Farmers United has also launched an excellent crowd funding campaign check it out and and of course Madelaine’s organic egg project was hugely successful.
- The Food Alliance does great work with the ‘know your food bowl project' for Melbourne and surrounds. Two weeks ago, the Food Alliance had a double-page spread in Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper profiling their great info-graphic which shows that 40-50% of Melbourne’s vegetables comes from its local food-bowl regions.
- Planning for Fair Food Week (FFW) is well under way and we are determined to make it as big a celebration of all things fair food as we can. There are all sorts of extraordinary things in the making that will embed celebrating FFW in the national calendar of events – details in our July eNEWS!
- On the international front the big news is that International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty (IPC) and the UN/FAO will establish common priority themes for a collaborative work in the fight against hunger and food insecurity. This is important because it allows direct communication at the highest level between governments and those working for Food Sovereignty at the grass roots. AFSA is both honoured and proud to be a member of the IPC, and we see this as part of the food sovereignty ‘pincer movement’. Tackling food sovereignty issues at the grass roots and intergovernmental level simultaneously is something only an international collective of food sovereignty social movements can do with genuine authority.
So that’s all this month folks, together we are changing the world for the better, one meal at a time!