Posts Tagged ‘food security’

Global Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture: Australia’s Role?

Posted in Events by unaavic on October 21st, 2013

29 October , 2013
2:00 pmto5:15 pm

Global Food Security & Sustainable Agriculture

Join the United Nations Association of Australia (Victoria) for this upcoming Sustainability Leadership Seminar on Global Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture: Australia’s Role? Challenges and Opportunities to be held in Melbourne on Tuesday 29 October in partnership with NAB and the University of Melbourne.

Held in support of the United Nations Zero Hunger Challenge, this seminar is part of our Sustainability Leadership Series and seeks to build momentum for collective action on food security and sustainable agriculture post Rio +20.

Bringing together experts and practitioners from government, business, civil society, farmers’ organisations, research and academia, the seminar seeks to provide a platform for shared learning and discussion on Australia’s role in addressing the global food security challenge and advancing sustainable agricultural practices.

It will highlight the challenges and opportunities that Australian government, businesses, and NGOs face as they contribute to developing and promoting sustainable food supply chains that increase food production, preserve natural resources and fight hunger at the local, national and global level.

Date: Tuesday 29 October
Time: 2pm Registration, 2.15pm to 5.15pm
Venue: Hosted by National Australia Bank, The Bowl, NAB Academy, 500 Bourke Street, Melbourne
Registration Fee: Business / Government: $165 (incl. GST), Non-profit / Academic: $120 (incl. GST)

RSVP by 5pm, 23 October 2013.

For more information and to book see the UNAA Victoria website.

Fair Food at Fed Square

Posted in Events, Movements by Kate Archdeacon on August 20th, 2013

21 August , 2013
6:30 pmto8:00 pm


From The Locavore Edition:

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the doom and gloom of our current food system. Amidst the pressure from foreign imports, climate change and the supermarket duopoly, we want to discover the silver lining; the hope and innovation amongst it all, and the people who are forging the way towards a Fair Food future.

As part of Fair Food Week and in partnership with the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance, we are setting out to explore some of the major steps that need to be taken to build opportunity, resilience, sustainability, health and ethics back into our food system. The Fed Square Locavored Series curated by The Locavore Edition and held at The Edge at Federation Square gets to the heart of the matter, identifying the rising stars driving the future of food, farming and culinary culture. This is an unmissable Fair Food Week event with great speakers, important stories and local spirit.

And don’t forget, you can choose a ticket which includes a copy of The Field Guide to Victorian Produce, our handy guidebook which helps locavores find growers, producers and providers.

>>> For tickets and more information visit The Locavore Edition.


Urban food security, urban resilience and climate change: Australian report

Posted in Models, Research by Kate Archdeacon on August 2nd, 2013

Guerrilla Garden_fullyreclined_BY
Photo by fullyreclined via flickr CC

The National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) report on urban food and climate change is now available for download.

Food security is increasingly recognised as a problem in developed countries like Australia as well as in developing countries of the global south, and as a problem facing cities and urban populations in these countries. Despite producing more food than is consumed in Australia, certain groups in particular, places are finding it increasingly difficult to access nutritious and healthy food at affordable prices. Moreover, whole urban populations have found their food supply lines severely compromised by major disasters such as floods and cyclones which are expected to have greater impacts as the climate changes.

This changing landscape of food production, distribution and consumption has drawn attention to the nature of contemporary urban food systems in general and to the security and resilience of urban food systems in particular. This has in turn highlighted the extent of urban agriculture and its potential to play a greater role in strengthening the food security of Australian cities and building urban resilience in a changing climate.

This report presents the results of a synthesis and integrative research project that explored these issues through a critical review of relevant literature and case study research in two cities. It had three main aims:

  • to increase our knowledge of the current extent of urban agriculture in Australian cities;
  • to review its capacity to play a more prominent role in enhancing urban food security and urban resilience and;
  • to assess the impacts of climate change on the capacity of urban agriculture to enhance food security and urban resilience.

The research provides much needed up-to-date information on the extent of current urban agricultural practices, a critical review of good practice in Australia and beyond and an analysis of the opportunities and barriers to the expansion of these practices, especially in the face of climate change.

Visit the website to download the full report.

Please cite this report as:
Burton, P, Lyons, K, Richards, C, Amati, M, Rose, N, Desfours, L, Pires, V, Barclay, R, 2013, Urban food security, urban resilience and climate change, National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, Gold Coast, pp.176.

Fair Food Week – Australia’s First

Posted in Events, Movements by Jessica Bird on July 22nd, 2013

19 August , 2013 9:00 amto25 August , 2013 5:00 pm

Image from

From ‘Australia’s First Fair Food Week is Coming‘ by ACFCGN:

FRESH, good and fair food needs a fresh, new and innovative event to demonstrate its value to all Australians. That’s why the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance are bringing together communities, social entrepreneurs, creative individuals, smart food businesses and even local government across Australia to celebrate the work of Australia’s fair food pioneers – the women and men doing the vital work of creating a fairer food system for all of us.

“It’s a new national event, Fair Food Week”, said Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance spokesman, Nick Rose. Across the country during Fair Food Week there’s a wonderful diversity of events that will attract, intrigue and entertain you: food forums, food workshops, food films, farmers’ fairs, food swaps, community garden and farm tours.

“What we call ’fair food’ is food that is produced in ways that are fair to all and that guarantee nutritional health to everyone in Australia’s food supply chain – Australian farmers, Australian food processors, small to medium size food retailers and, most importantly, we who eat the products of these enterprises”, explained Mr Rose. “Fair food that the farmer has been paid properly for and that is sold through a retail system that is not dominated by the supermarket duopoly that controls 80 percent of Australia’s grocery sales, but that is sold through a truly free market that includes thriving small to medium food businesses to give us – Australia’s eaters – authentic true choice in what we buy and where we but it. It’s good, healthy and tasty food that all Australians have access to irrespective of their income and where they live. This includes Australians living with disability, illness, those living on a government allowance, such as pensioners,  and those in remote indigenous communities… the more then five percent of our people who presently live with an insecure and unhealthy food supply”.

Fair Food Week will highlight the fresh, innovative ideas found in the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance’s Peoples’ Food Plan, Australia’s first crowdsourced policy directions document and the result of democratic, consultative forums held across the country.

>>> Australia’s First Fair Food Week will be held 19-25 August 2013.
>>> You can learn more about Fair Food Week events or add your own on their website.

March Against Monsanto: Melbourne

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on May 23rd, 2013

25 May , 2013
2:00 pmto4:00 pm

March Against Monsanto

This event is for the fight for our food!! We deserve to know what we are eating. Food sovereignty and food security starts with us. Biotech companies are slowly killing the world with their patented seeds, domination of the distribution of food and deadly DNA interrupting chemicals, which we ingest everyday.

The day commences at 2pm, we have expert guest speakers, acoustic entertainment, a seed swap/giveaway and public discussion forum…it’s going to be huge!

328 Swanston Street Melbourne

>> March Against Monsanto global site

>> Melbourne’s March Against Monsanto facebook site

Melbourne’s Metropolitan Strategy: Discussion paper open for contributions

Posted in Policies, Seeking by Kate Archdeacon on December 3rd, 2012

Photo by elizabethdonoghue via flickr CC

Information drawn from Urbis Think Tank and Plan Melbourne:

The Discussion Paper, “Melbourne – let’s talk about the future,” is part of the work currently underway in preparation for a new Metropolitan Strategy for Melbourne’s next 3 decades of growth and change.  The paper is intended to stimulate dialogue across the community, private sector and industry around a series of ideas and principles for the future of the city. A draft Metropolitan Plan will then be shaped from the current consultation around these principles, due for release in Autumn 2013.

The Government is calling for input on the proposed principles, which raise fundamental issues around the growth and structure of the city, including:

  • The structure and location of job clusters in the new economy;
  • Opportunities for strategic renewal in areas that are ripe for urban transformation;
  • Partnership opportunities to realise new ways of funding for urban infrastructure;
  • The potential for long term containment of the city by a permanent green belt.

The 9 principles are focused around three key themes:

  • “What most people value about Melbourne”, (principles 1 to 5) exploring ideas that could inform a future vision for Melbourne,
  • “What needs to change”, (principles 6 & 7), focusing on how Melbourne’s urban form should be managed at a metropolitan and local scale.
  • Implementation considerations (principles 8 & 9), focusing on leadership and partnerships.
Opportunities to comment through online forums or event attendance are currently open, with comments closing on March 1, 2013.
>> Read the Discussion Paper
>> Get Involved

Food City: City of Melbourne Food Policy available online

Posted in Policies by Kate Archdeacon on November 14th, 2012

Photo from the City of Melbourne Food Policy

Over the past year, the City of Melbourne has been developing its Food Policy, with requests for public input at two different stages during that time – first, as responses to the discussion paper, and second, as responses to the draft policy.  Now the final policy is available online.  The sections of the policy are:

  • Policy statement
  • Introduction
  • Vision
  • Themes and ambitions
    • a strong, food secure community
    • healthy food choices for all
    • a sustainable and resilient food system
    • a thriving local food economy
    • a city that celebrates food
  • Implementation and evaluation
  • References
  • Glossary

The next stage will involve the development of the Implementation Plan – register for updates with the Food Policy team at

>> Food Policy website.

People’s Food Plan: Public Forum

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on October 15th, 2012

21 October , 2012
2:00 pmto4:30 pm


>> Melbourne Forum October 21
>> Bendigo Forum October 24th

Agroecology versus Industrial Agriculture: Infographic

Posted in Models by Jessica Bird on September 27th, 2012

Source: Nourishing The Planet

Infographic by The Christiansen Fund

From the Infographic ‘Soil to Sky: of agroecology versus industrial agriculture’ by The Christiansen Fund

In order to feed our world without destroying it, an holistic type of agriculture is needed, and we have a choice. Here we compare the current high-input industrial system with a renewed vision for agriculture: the agroecolocial system. […]

Agroecological strategies can better feed the world, fight climate change and poverty, and protect soil and water while maintaining healthy, liveable communities and local economies. Industrial agriculture contributes to climate change, malnutrition and ecosystem degradation around the planet. It has not delivered on its promise to feed the world.

Investing in a fair food supply: Insight from Britain

Posted in Opinion by Kate Archdeacon on July 25th, 2012


Photo by Sue Peacock via flickr cc

From Food prices are at the mercy of global pressures that we struggle to control by Jay Rayner:

“But if it doesn’t happen, if Britain doesn’t do more to feed itself, if it doesn’t do more to support struggling sectors such as the dairy industry, we will be left at the mercy of the international markets. The food price rises we would see then would be excruciating.”

The British like cows. We like to see them in fields and regard the dairy industry as much more than merely a part of our food system. Rolling green fields filled with the familiar dots of black-and-white Friesian hide are a key part of our cultural identity. Which explains why, late last week, Twitter came alive with demands from far beyond the farming community for us all to get behind the nation’s dairy farmers in their fight for a fair deal. The announcement by the major processors of a 2p per litre cut in the amount they would pay for milk has pushed the farm gate price well below the average of around 30p per litre cost of production. Dairy farmers, who have been suffering for years, are being pushed to the edge of bankruptcy.

The irony is that too many of the problems in the British dairy industry have been caused both by patterns of consumption by those very same consumers who are leading the charge and by the way they have connived, albeit passively, with the supermarkets to keep prices low. But that is only a part of the story. For the problems experienced by British dairymen are actually representative of something much, much bigger: it’s about the way our national food supply has been left at the mercy of huge international pressures from increasingly volatile food markets.

If the dairy industry were simply a vertical business model involving the retailers paying the cost of production to farmers plus a little bit more, these issues would not exist. Unfortunately it isn’t. The price of milk is dependent on the European market price for its cream component and it’s the value of that which has collapsed. In June of 2011, it was £1,800 a tonne. Now it’s just over £1,000 a tonne. A sudden surge in demand for dairy in the past few years as a result of an emerging, milk-loving, middle class in China resulted, almost inevitably, in global over-supply. Few of us drink whole milk these days and the skimmed-off cream – sold to the cheese, butter and yoghurt markets – has become a vital part of the business model for the processors, which needed it to offset the brutal deals offered by the likes of Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons. It is the collapse in the value of cream that those processors are now passing on to the farmers.

Of course, in an ideal world, dairy farmers would break their contracts with those processors and find a different model, but they can’t. They have nowhere to go.

The savage, grossly irresponsible way the supermarkets have forced dairy farmers down on price has also put independent processors out of business. And consumers, apparently delighted to pay £1.18 for a four-pint bottle of milk, haven’t helped. Indeed, for all their talk, consumers show huge reluctance to pay more. For 15 years, Booths, the small, family-owned supermarket chain in the north west, has offered Bowland Fresh, a brand of milk sold at a premium – 52p a pint as against 49p – all of which goes back to the farmers. It accounts for just 10% of sales and has never gone beyond that.

The way a little-known international market in cream is impacting upon dairy farmers here is not a one-off. Our food supply system is now entirely global and exactly the same shocks are being felt elsewhere. In May, as the G8 met at Camp David to talk about plans to tackle chronic malnourishment in the developing world, concerns were expressed that commodity prices were heading towards historic highs not seen since the food price spikes of 2008, which resulted in murderous riots and export bans across the world.

Late last week, those historic highs were breached. In 2008, corn spiked at $287 a ton; last week, spurred on by drought conditions in the American Midwest, the futures price went to $340 a ton. In 2008, soyabeans hit $554 a ton; last week, a ton was costing just shy of $660. For the moment, the prices of the primary food security crops – wheat and rice – remain down on historic highs, but there are fears that if the corn harvest suffers further, then prices in wheat and rice will follow.

These are not abstract issues for money men and markets. They affect people at the bottom of the economic heap. Right now, for example, there is an acute food deficit problem in Yemen. People are starving in their millions. Children are dying. The problem is not a lack of food. There is food in the country. It is that the economy has collapsed to such a degree and food prices have risen so high that people cannot afford to feed themselves. Aid groups such as Oxfam say they are as likely to be handing out hard cash in Yemen right now as they are food aid.

In Britain, we will also feel these shocks. For example, corn and soyabeans are primary livestock feed and with the Chinese and Indians ramping up their meat consumption the cost is bound to shoot up.

The real issue is that, just as with the dairy industry situation, we have no protection from this price instability because of the behaviour – once again – of the British supermarkets. In the early 90s, the UK was more than 70% self-sufficient in food. Today, many experts believe we are down to just 50% self-sufficiency. The reason: the major supermarkets have been so vicious on prices paid to farmers that huge numbers have left the industry.

Pressed on the issue, the British Retail Consortium, speaking for the multiples, points to a recent report listing the grants they have made to fund studies on environmental sustainability and waste-reduction. This, they say, proves supermarkets are investing in British agriculture. Nonsense. It’s pennies compared to their vast profits and nothing compared to the imperative of paying British farmers a fair price so they can genuinely invest in British agriculture for the future. This may mean price rises for the British consumer, and in a week when we have heard more than we may ever wish to about the boom in food banks, that may sound unpalatable.

But if it doesn’t happen, if Britain doesn’t do more to feed itself, if it doesn’t do more to support struggling sectors such as the dairy industry, we will be left at the mercy of the international markets. The food price rises we would see then would be excruciating.

Be in no doubt: the current crisis in Britain’s milk business is not an isolated incident. It’s a warning.

>>Read the original article by Jay Rayner on the Guardian.