Organisations representing over 500,000 Australians endorsed the call by the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance for its inclusion in the National Food Policy Advisory Working Group.
Farmers’ groups such as Biodynamic Agriculture Australia and the Carbon Coalition, the Australian Farmers’ Markets Association, community networks such as the Australian City Farms and Community Gardens Networks, and environmental organisations like Friends of the Earth and the Queensland Conservation Council, all supported this call, which to date has not been met with a positive response.
AFSA calls on all its supporters and like-minded organisations to write to the Federal Minister for Agriculture, Senator Joe Ludwig, insisting that this group’s membership be broaded to truly reflect the diverse range of actions and perspectives on food and farming in Australia. AFSA also urges all its supporters to work with us and like-minded groups in building a truly democratic and participatory process for developing national food policy in Australia.
You can download the letter with the full list of supporters here.
Text of the letter
Senator Hon Joseph Ludwig
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Canberra ACT 2600 Australia
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
31st March, 2011
Food Policy Advisory Working Group
We acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 22nd October 2010, in which you advised that a wide range of stakeholders and views would be considered in developing a National Food Plan for Australia. Subsequently, you announced the formation of a National Food Policy Advisory Group in December 2010.
We now urge the inclusion of the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance national spokesperson Michael Croft, of Mountain Creek Farm (near Canberra), on this Food Policy Advisory Group. As now constituted, this Group’s membership is too narrow, and excludes the new ways of thinking necessary to the transformation of Australian food and farming systems. In the formation of policy on such fundamental matters as food and agriculture, a wide diversity of voices, opinions and expertise needs to be heard and acted upon.
The Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA) speaks to the aspirations of the many millions of Australians – farmers and non- farmers alike – who want a more equitable, sustainable, resilient and democratic national food system. We have set out the vision of such a system in our Manifesto, launched on 10 December, 2010. This is the vision of Food Sovereignty, now a global movement for change embracing hundreds of millions of people in every continent, led by the family farmers’ movement, La Via Campesina.
Australian and global food systems are at a critical juncture. Political, farmer, community and business leaders have an unprecedented opportunity to lay the foundations of a national food system that can be truly multi-functional, resilient and sustainable: creating jobs and prosperity; nurturing generations of healthy Australians; caring for the land, its magnificent and diverse ecosystems, and for the people who live and work within them.
The need for bold change is urgent and unavoidable. ‘Business as usual’, in food and farming, is no longer an option, but that is the mind set of those already appointed to the National Food Policy Advisory Group. Our soils are degrading. Our farmers are in crisis. Our national health is deteriorating – shockingly, the current generation of children will be the first in our history to have a reduced life expectancy, as a result of the obesity epidemic. This would be an appalling legacy to leave for future generations.
Yet a transformed national food system can address all these challenges: it can restore our soils and ecosystems to abundant fertility; it can provide high-quality food for all; and it can do so in ways that guarantee the viability of farmers, so that young people will once again want to embrace agriculture as a career of choice.
AFSA has received direct written endorsement of its inclusion on this Advisory Group from the following diverse array of organisations right around Australia. Collectively these organisations have membership and support bases of more than 500,000 individuals, farmers and non-farmers alike:
- Australian City Farms and Community Gardens Network
- Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network
- Australian Farmers Markets Association (150 farmers markets across Australia)
- Biodynamic Agriculture Australia
- Canberra Food Fairness Alliance
- Carbon Coalition Food Alliance (Victoria)
- Food Connect Foundation
- Food Irradiation Watch
- Friends of the Earth Australia
- Gene Ethics Greenpeace Australia, True Food Network
- Healthy Soils Australia
- Mothers Are Demystifying Genetic Engineering (MADGE)
- Organic Federation of Australia
- Queensland Conservation Council
- Resources Consulting Services
- Slow Food Australia
- South Australian Organic & Biodynamic Alliance
- Sustain Queensland
- Sydney Organic Gardens Pty Ltd
- Tasmanian Community Gardens Network
We would welcome the opportunity to brief you and your colleagues directly about AFSA and the unique and deeply participatory perspective we will bring to the Advisory Group.
Nick Rose National Coordinator,
Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance