In August 2010, the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance produced a letter supporting the participation of the social enterprise and small food business sector, as well as the community food sector, in the development of a national policy on food.
The letter has been circulated and a number of organisations and individuals active in food systems, in food education and food issues have signed. The letter is to go to:
- Tony Burke MP, federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
- Ray Hopper MP, Shadow Minister for Food Security and Agriculture (including Fisheries and Biosecurity)
- Senator Christine Milne, Australian Greens climate change and biosecurity spokeswoman.
The letter will be simultaneously released to the media.
A modest proposal
The letter proposes that the formulation of a national policy on food should be a democratic process involving the full range of food interests. The Alliance is concerned that only large corporate organisations would be included in its formulation and that this could skew the emphasis of a policy away from building a resilient food system in Australia that is inclusive of farmers (including market gardeners and small farmers), food processors and distributors including the emerging community-based food distribution systems.
The Alliance believes that economic scale and power should not be the sole criteria for participation in the formulation of a national policy on food. Our food system would work better by recognising the social value of diversity in food systems in delivering citizens the type of food they prefer at a price they can afford. Market conditions force the small, community-based food initiatives and the social enterprise and small, for-profit food businesses to be innovative in their work. This can only add value to any deliberation over a national policy on food.