By FFFU Chair Michele Lally
Welcome to our 2016 membership year as a Farmer Member of AFSA.
To introduce myself, my husband Phil and I and our young daughter Zara are sixth generation farmers in the Clare Valley, South Australia. We farm regeneratively following the likes of Allan Savory, Colin Seis, Joel Salatin and Gabe Brown. Prior to our ‘seeing the light’, we were mixed farmers involved in the production of cereals, export hay and livestock. In order to keep the family farm afloat, we had to change what we were doing, and here we are now, considered popular in food circles, and somewhat more like the Black Sheep in neighbouring farming circles. Our farm is called Savannah Farm after the founder of our area described the landscape as a grassland savannah such as that in Africa.
I’m proud to be leading Fair Food Farmers’ United (FFFU). This year, we plan to make an impact through some exciting activities we hope you will be involved with.
One of our first goals is to formally join La Via Campesina, a leader in the international food sovereignty movement. The issues that impact on us as farmers transcend national borders, in the form of trade agreements, food safety regulations and climate change, so we need to be part of the global organisation which is campaigning for the rights of farmers like us at the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation and other international forums.
La Via Campesina (LVC), now 20 years strong, brings together millions of peasants, small and medium-size farmers, landless people, women farmers, indigenous people, migrants and agricultural workers from around the world. It defends small-scale sustainable agriculture as a way to promote social justice and dignity. It strongly opposes corporate driven agriculture and transnational companies that are destroying people and nature. We will be contacting FFFU members shortly to discuss the next steps in this process.
Another significant activity that FFFU will be fully supporting is the next instalment of the Deep Winter Agrarian (Un)Conference that is to be held in July, 2016, in the Southern Highlands of NSW. This will be a wonderful peer support celebration of Fair Food Farmers from around Australia! To find out more about that event that FFFU is getting behind, go here to like the Facebook page.
We need more members to expand our voice, share our challenges and support one another. There are so many potential FFF’s around Australia but they are not all members. We plan to develop a peer Facebook page with guided discussions and centralise a point for mentorship and education. The first step is to bring more farmers together as part of our membership. So please spread the good word!
My phone is always on, and my email is open. If I can help in any way as I try to navigate this role as the Chair of FFFU or if I can support you in any way, I hope to do so in an open and positive way. Please feel free to contact me with any ideas or thoughts and I look forward to the coming time we have together as FFF’s!!
Cheers & wishes of rain to you all at this time of year,