AFSA Strategic Retreat
By Chris Balazs
Dear AFSA members,
A very warm welcome to 2016 (and in some parts of the country warmer than wanted). In late January the AFSA Committee met at La Finca Farm in Bannockburn Victoria to conduct our annual strategic retreat. As a member-driven alliance we wanted to share the outcomes from the retreat and what you can expect from your committee this year.
We believe that the committee that was elected at the October AGM has a great blend of experience in food production, food research, food activism and food consumption. We have a number of new members who bring energy and a fresh perspective, whilst retaining many of the previous committee who provide continuity and experience.
We are sure that 2016 will be a year of growth for AFSA in both increased members and public engagement as food sovereignty issues increasing become apparent in the political and social arenas.
Our main focus this year is as follows :
Fair Regulatory Advocacy
After successfully petitioning the Victorian Government to conduct a review of the food safety regulator PrimeSafe, AFSA will continue its work in advocating for scale-appropriate regulation for small-scale farming enterprises to continue to provide food for local communities without the burden of excessive and inappropriate regulation. As part of this program of work AFSA is continuing to develop a legal defence framework that will support ethical farmers in dealing with regulatory red tape.
AFSA will also continue to lobby local and state governments to ensure that planning laws support ethical regenerative farming practices and cannot be misused to evict genuine free range farmers such as the sad case of Happy Valley Free Range.
Fair Food Public Engagement
AFSA is dedicated to raising awareness about fair food. Our key goals were re-affirmed at the strategic meeting of publicly engaging on the topics of:
1) Creating a coherent and inclusive national narrative about what Fair Food is;
2) Raising awareness about challenges of sourcing Fair Food;
3) Campaigning for legislative changes for the democratisation of food;
4) Working with members to create actions to change the food system.
Our social media engagement has been the key communication channel and we will continue to use Facebook and our website as our principle means of engaging with the wider public.
Fair Food Farmers United (FFFU)
In December of 2015, Michele Lally of Savannah Farm, South Australia, was elected as Chair of the FFFU. Michele has many years of practical farming experience running her award-winning farm with husband Phil. The FFFU is looking to affiliate with the global farming small-farmers’ movement, La Via Campesina. A survey will be sent to all FFFU members (farming members of AFSA) to vote on joining this global organisation – with the executive committee fully supportive of the affiliation.
Community-Supported Agriculture Campaign
We would love to know if our city members and farming members are interested in hearing more about CSA models to promote more small scale farmers establish a viable business model to sell their product directly to the public – enabling the public to source genuine paddock-to-plate produce.
If you are interested in participating in a workshop or to just know more about it – drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org