It is clearer than ever that it is time to transform our food systems and the economic models that created them: to create a new normal that puts the health of planet and people over profit. The alternatives for transformative change already exist – social solidarity economies.
Unlike growth-driven capitalist economies, solidarity economies are a commitment to community, to localized economies focused on mutual benefit, sufficiency for all, and frugal yet radical abundance for everyone. They value the labour of growers, makers, and thinkers; privilege connectedness and relations, and check back for more sessions to be announced soon. You can also keep up to date with new sessions on social media (links at the bottom of this page).
Building a CSA with AFSA
AFSA farmers Tammi Jonas, Ant Wilson, and Dan Cordner talk about the whys, hows, highs, and lows of starting and running a CSA.
Collaborative Economies with the Open Food Network
Jen Sheridan & Lynne Davis of the Open Food Network share OFN’s work in building and growing collaborative economies – connecting growers with each other and their eaters, harnessing logistics, going global, and how the network provided critical infrastructure for farmers and eaters during the current crisis.
30 Years of Co-operatives with Friends of the Earth & Earthworker Cooperative
This session we’ll be discussing all things co-operative with Beth Cameron of Friends of the Earth, talking about 35 years of the FoE food co-op in Melbourne, as well as talking to Katherine Cunningham and Ellie Coffey of Earthworker Cooperative, which works to establish a network of worker-owned cooperatives committed to sustainable enterprise – including Australia’s first worker-owned factory.
Replacing Growth with Belonging Economies with Artist as Family
We sit down with Meg Ulman and Patrick Jones of Artist as Family to talk about radically regenerative living, antidotes to cultures of disposability, and how belonging economies can help grow better relationships with country and the communities of the living.
Permaculture Solidarities with David Holmgren
Join David Holmgren, co-originator of the permaculture concept and co-creator of Australia’s best-known permaculture demonstration site, Melliodora, to explore how we can build home and community economies based in permacultural ethics as a foundation for a better and more just future.
Resilience in Community-Owned Value (Chains) with Food Connect
We’re talking to Robert Pekin and Emma-Kate Rose of Food Connect about building community-owned food systems: how producers and eaters together can reclaim ownership of value chains and infrastructure, why community ownership matters and how it strengthens the food system for all of us.
Food Connect have been building their food community for 15 years, and last year crowd-funded the Food Connect Shed – Australia’s first community owned food hub. Join us as we explore how they did it, what it means for their food community, and how we can grow more community-owned food systems.
Growing More Solidarity Farmers with Farmer Incubator
Farmer Incubator’s mission is to grow new farmers through a collaborative model that reduces risks and costs for young farmers, while supporting them into farming models that nurture food sovereignty and security.
We’ll be talking to FI about how they provide opportunities for new farmers to start small and work cooperatively, how a collaborative models helps new farmers gain the knowledge, confidence and resources, and why mentorship and empowerment of young farmers is key to a strong food system.
Victory Gardens with Cultivating Community
Cultivatin Community create spaces that provide opportunities for communities to access healthy, affordable and culturally appropriate food, while connecting with each other, learning skills, and sharing cultures. We talk to Rob Rees about why they work to foster and empower communities through food, and what it means for food security and resilient food systems.
Growing Regional Solidarity Economies with Southern Harvest
Southern Harvest Association takes solidarity from the field to the fork – running a multifarm CSA style producer hub, a farmers’ market, education workshops, and a harvest festival. It’s a food system by the community for the community. The Southern Harvest mission is to build local and regional food and farming communities based in solidarity all along the supply chain, by supporting healthy relationships between growers, producers, consumers and community.
We talk about how they bring their regional food community together, and how that community has supported each other over the last year, through fires, hail storms, floods and pandemic, and how they’re moving forward.
Making Solidarity the New Normal with New Economies Network Australia (NENA)
The alternatives to our current growth-focussed economy are being built all over Australia, tackling a range of connected issues that influence our food systems: ecological health, industrialised supply chains, democratic governance, Indigenous sovereignty, and more.
The New Economy Network Australia works to connect and promote such projects, build peer-to-peer learning and use collective strategies to create and advocate for change, to build a movement of people working in solidarity to create a ‘new’ economy. Join Dr Michelle Maloney to talk about how and why NENA is making solidarity the new normal as it works to transform our economies
Indigenous Thinking with Tyson Yunkaporta
Chat with Tyson Yunkaporta – author, academic, maker, and Indigenous thinker of the Apalech clan in North Queensland. We talk about the need for Indigenous thinking in our food systems, decolonising agriculture, and how non-Indigenous growers and eaters can work in solidarity with First Peoples.
Tyson’s work examines global systems from an Indigenous perspective. It explores how we we learn, look at, and talk about patterns of creation, and how we can learn to live within those patterns again.
We talk to Tyson about what this means for the food sovereignty movement – which itself was born out of Indigenous and peasant struggles, and in which advocating for the rights and sovereignty of Indigenous peoples is a core principle. We explore how we can build solidarity-based communities that respect and work with Indigenous knowledges, and build food systems based around those principles.
Farming Democracy, Food Sovereignty and Farm Journeys in 2020
Farming Democracy tells the story of eight Australian family farms doing things differently, working for a ‘new normal’ in agriculture that is good for soil, water, animals, and people. These farmers are building regenerative, agroecological systems that are viable in an epoch that has seen a sharp decline in the number of farms globally.
Since the book was published, Australia has seen drought, unprecedented fires, and a pandemic revealing and exacerbating the critical flaws in our food systems. We join four Farming Democracy authors to talk about their journeys into farming, on the farm, and what food sovereignty has meant for them through the events of 2019–2020.
Lock the Gate
Lock the Gate was formed in 2010 following community meetings in New South Wales and Queensland. All over the eastern states, people were raising concerns about the rapid expansion of coal and coal seam gas development. A declaration was made: farmers would lock their gates to these rapacious industries. Ten years on and the Alliance continues to gain momentum, with rural and urban communities all over Australia stepping up to defend our land, water, and future from the invasive coal and unconventional gas industries.
We chat with Lock the Gate about how they have connected 120,00 people in solidarity to create change, and why a sustainable future for land, water, and communities needs people standing together and acting collectively.
Small-scale abattoirs for local food economies
In many regions, local abattoirs are rapidly disappearing, and producers face growing distances and costs to send stock for processing, while confronting the problems of large-scale abattoirs dealing with high volumes of industrially-produced meat.
Small-scale producers, for whom animal welfare and supply chain independence is critical to how they farm, need better alternatives and are working to build them. The process remains complex, but the solutions are emerging in examples around Australia, from on-farm facilities to shared infrastructure for local farming communities.
This session provides a practical deep dive for small- to medium-scale livestock producers to learn, share, and develop solutions on how to create a food sovereign system for ethical meat production.
Fostering agroecology and farmer-led knowledge with Peter Rosset
We talk to agroecology scholar and activist Peter Rosset about the need for farmer-led knowledge and the transition to agroecology. Peter is professor of agroecology at the ECOSUR Advanced Studies Institute (ww.ecosur.mx)in Chiapas, Mexico. He has worked with agroecology processes in La Via Campesina for many years, and recently co-authored “Agroecology: Science and Politics” with Miguel Altieri. His research focuses on scaling up peasant agroecology in grassroots social movements.
We chat with Peter about his experiences with fostering the agroecological movement internationally, and how to do it in Australia.
Pastured Poultry for Agroecological Systems
A deep dive for producers and aspiring growers to explore the how-to, challenges, and benefits of pastured poultry.
Through farmer-to-farmer knowledge sharing, AFSA pastured poultry producers, Dan Cordner, Nick Holliday, and Randal Breen, delve into building agroecological poultry farming systems, including CSA and Reko Rings as solidarity-based market channels, farmer collaboration, heritage breeds, and working together to advocate for appropriate regulation for small-scale pasture-based producers.
How can farmers work to support First Peoples’ sovereignty, build relationships with the Traditional Custodians of the land on which they work, and collaborate to care for country?
We talk to Murray Prior of Nguuruu Farm about their partnership with “Girrawah” Paul House – a Ngambri (Walgalu), Wallabalooa (Ngunnawal) and Wiradjuri (Erambie) custodian in which they work together to heal country and challenge colonial approaches to land.
Through the partnership, Paul and his people have access to country and a parcel of land to manage as they choose, while Nguuruu Farm receive Paul’s guidance in their journey to understand their land.
Building these relationships are key to healing land and the injuries of Australia’s history
Solidarity and Corporate Capture of the UN Food Systems Summit
A panel of food systems advocates, including Tim McCartney (Barengi Gadjin Land Council), Charlie Arnott (Regenerative Journey podcast), Vivien Yii (Right to Food Coalition), Costa (Gardening Australia) and Tammi Jonas (AFSA) with host Alexx Stuart (LowTox Life) to discuss what the UNFSS might mean for First Peoples, small-scale farmers, the food insecure and city folk, and how we can all prevent ongoing corporate capture of our food systems.
An eater’s guide to Community Supported Agriculture
The constant stream of climate change induced natural disasters, and the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the industrialised food supply chains, has demonstrated the urgent need for localised food economies, short supply chains, and paying a fair price for food. Luckily for us, one of the food sovereignty solutions is Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). In this roundtable discussion you will hear from CSA members, and farmers who run a CSA program and learn: What is it? Why is important to food sovereignty? How can you enact food sovereignty by becoming a member of a CSA? What are some of the bumps you may encounter along the way?
A Small Farm Future with Chris Smaje
As farmers and eaters grapple with supply chain disruption throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the future of food security in a changing climate, the call to transition away from industrialised food and agricultural production has never been louder. So, how do we make the case for building localised food systems based on agroecology and food sovereignty principles? Our upcoming Solidarity Session #20 – A Small Farm Future with Chris Smaje, addresses this question and more.
Biodiversity on Farms Beyond the Shelterbelt!
This Solidarity Session shares wisdom from farmers who are embedding biodiversity at the heart of their practice. This session is hosted by AFSA National Committee member, Amy Pagett, an agroecological farmer raising heritage breed Berkshire pigs in forest at at Ethical Swine.
A Peoples’ Food Plan for farmers and eaters
During this session, we open up a discussion with farmers and eaters to tell us their thoughts and ideas for AFSA’s revised Peoples’ Food Plan (launching later this year!).