Media Release — 23 February 2014
Food Sovereignty Alliance calls for major rethink
The Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA) has urged the Federal Government to rethink the axing of the Community Food Grants program.
The program formed a significant part of the previous Labor government’s National Food Plan. The grants would have assisted the community food sector develop new initiatives and improve those already existing.
“Axing the Community Food Grants program because the government says it faces a tight fiscal environment is false economy”, said AFSA spokesman, Dr Nick Rose.
“Instead, the government should be looking at ways to improve the program, such as dropping any requirement that organisations raise matching grants to qualify. This was an insurmountable barrier to many.”
The grants would have stimulated — and still could were the government to revive them — the emerging community food sector that is made up of voluntary enterprises, not-for-profit, social enterprise and small, for-profit businesses.
These take an amazing variety of forms, Dr Rose said, ranging from the do-ityourself examples of food production in community gardens, through the growing number of direct marketing schemes such as farmers’ markets and small, innovative social businesses like the community-supported agriculture schemes found in our cities. Experience elsewhere shows this sector to be a dynamic job creator.
“Rather than a financial liability, the grant scheme is better seen as an investment in our social innovators. They take a trend they see forming in the community food sector and turn it into a community initiative or a business opportunity, often creating jobs and supplying the market with quality products.”
“What we need in this country is a government with vision and capacity for leadership, that can see the potential in the community food sector and offer timely stimulus through well-directed start-up funding.”
Through the collaborative development of the Peoples’ Food Plan, Australia’s first crowdsourced food policy, AFSA has documented the growth of community-based food initiatives in the voluntary sector and of the growing number of business-based food initiatives emerging around Australia.
- Dr Nick Rose
- M: 0414 497 819
- E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Listen to ABC radio interview
To listen to Dr Nick Rose being interviews on ABC Radio on 21 February 2014:
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