Food Security: A National Food Plan for Regional Australia?

Discussion in 'The big picture' started by ecodharmamark, Sep 13, 2010.

  1. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    G'day All

    Recent movements within the Australian political spectrum have prompted me to write about a few observations on the topic of 'food security':

    Independent parliamentarians, Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor, have co-signed an 'agreement' with the Gillard government that seeks, among other things, to strengthen a pre-existing commitment to produce a National Food Plan (see: Annex B, Sec. 4.5, p. 26).

    The brief for the existing National Food Plan focuses on the following:
    • domestic and international food security;
    • issues which affect food affordability;
    • the sustainability of our food systems, right along the value chain;
    • the productivity and efficiency of the value chain to improve global competitiveness;
    • how to streamline business regulations; and,
    • ensure there are appropriate economic, taxation, labour market and education policy settings for a robust food production system from farmers through the whole chain.
    The Food Plan will begin by bringing farmers, manufacturers and processors, distribution and logistics companies, retail and food service companies, and the expertise of our agricultural and food scientists together to develop a strategy to maximize food production opportunities.

    The development of the above plan sits within the Regional Food Producers Innovation and Productivity Program (RFPIPP), a division of the Dept. of Ag. Fisheries and Forestry. The RFPIPP provides 'matched funding' grants from time-to-time, anything from $50,000 to $2-million. This may be a good way for established permie enterprises to step-up to the next level?

    With regards to permaculture food production, the nearest the RFPIPP gets to us, is with the provision of a webpage that is mainly concerned with 'labeling and standards' of organic and biodynamic food production. However. this may be a good starting point for those that are interested in what the Feds think about our (organic/biodynamic) food production/distribution methods.

    Reading from the above prompted me to conduct a search on the term 'permaculture' at the Australian government web portal. The search returned 341 'fully matched' results. This prompted me to conduct a search of all parliamentary documents (House of Reps, Senate, Committees, and Bills/Legislation) on the term 'permaculture'. This search revealed 117 results.

    At some stage, I will scan the above with a view to providing a summery. In the meantime, feel free to have a look for yourselves and provide comment as you see fit. If we must work with the current system, then let's make it work for us. Let's help keep 'the bastards honest'!

    Cheerio, Markos.
     
  2. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    Good idea!
     
  3. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    ***Update***

    Submissions to the Federal (Australian) Government's National Food Plan closed just over a week ago. To date there appears to have been about 250 submissions made, many of which are now awaiting online publication. However, quite are few are already available for viewing, and of those, PPO (87) has done us proud. Our submission (216) is well down the list, but keep an eye out for it, as I'm sure you will find it of interest.

    Cheerio, Markos (the busy one)
     
  4. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    Well there goes 6 pages and 2 days down the drain... :(
     
  5. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Cool! Purple Pear is on there! Well done Mr Brown.
     
  6. ebunny

    ebunny Junior Member

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    Great stuff Markos. Policy only gets better if we engage with it. I'm on the Not-For-Profit Reform Council and we've spent the day meeting with Treasury on various reforms with them taking our guidance on our concerns. So there are some positive experience out there with this kind of work.
     
  7. TheDirtSurgeon

    TheDirtSurgeon Junior Member

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    I'm not really convinced of the utility of government throwing money at anything, no matter how good an idea it may seem.

    For one, the money spent there will never touch the billions of dollars that subsidize bad agriculture. (Here, anyway... don't know about Australia, but I'd guess that your bad ag is subsidized too.) The smart, easy, money-saving way -- I think -- is to phase out the subsidies for the huge chemical monocultures, which would then become completely untenable financially.

    Beef production is a stellar example. Without the subsidies for corn and soybeans making feedlots the more profitable model, old-fashioned grazing immediately becomes the only affordable choice. The free market knows, but we don't have a free market.

    It is my opinion that most bad agricultural practices would end almost overnight without government spending.
     
  8. nchattaway

    nchattaway Junior Member

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    I agree, to a point. Big government is never a good idea. The state should exist to administer civil justice and that is pretty much all. However, since we currently have a big government that is determined (like all left leaning governments) to grow larger yet, and they're asking for ideas and have (our) money to throw around, good on you all for taking the time to contribute to the discussion.

    I note that Graham Brookman from The Food Forest has got his submission in on time too. Excellent! Have a read of his well articulated thoughts. I was hoping to see something from David Holmgren on the list, but he's perhaps too busy on projects with a local Daylesford VIC focus (which is kind of the point of all this I guess) to divert attention to national issues.
     
  9. Raymondo

    Raymondo Junior Member

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  10. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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  11. Lesley W

    Lesley W Junior Member

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    Update on this, I hope this is the right thread to post in :) Stakeholder consultation on the Australian National Food Plan is imminent (17 July 2012 – 30 September 2012). I read details in a recent post on Permaculture Sydney North's FB page, but as I hadn’t seen an update here, I thought I’d pass it on.

    National Food Plan stakeholder consultation starts next week

    Quoted from their site “On 17 July 2012, Minister Ludwig released the National Food Plan green paper – the next step in developing the National Food Plan.

    The Australian Government is developing Australia’s first National Food Plan to better integrate all aspects of food policy to ensure a sustainable, globally competitive and resilient food supply that supports access to nutritious and affordable food.

    The Australian Government has chosen to develop the National Food Plan through a consultative policy development process involving circulation of an issues paper, followed by a green paper for stakeholder comment, concluding with the release of a National Food Plan white paper that articulates its policy position.

    The green paper seeks to inform discussion on the development of the National Food Plan white paper. It discusses a number of options and potential directions that could be adopted by the Australian Government. The Australian Government is seeking feedback on these and other ideas as part of its continuing dialogue before making final decisions about any changes or new initiatives. The government will consider feedback before making decisions about the National Food Plan.

    Public consultation on the green paper will continue until 30 September 2012. You can participate by:
    • attending one of 24 public meetings held around Australia [Note: there's a registration form you'd need to complete, I've listed dates and locations below]
    • sending in a written submission
    • participating in online discussion on our blog and following us on twitter at @NatFoodPlan."

    The 24 public meetings start with Vic on July 30 and go through until September 5 in regional NSW.

    Australian Capital Territory
    • Canberra – 3 September, 7–9 pm

    New South Wales
    • Sydney – 14 August, 7–9 pm
    • Bega – 6 September, 7–9 pm
    • Lismore – 5 September, 7–9 pm
    • Orange – 4 September, 7–9 pm
    • Penrith – 13 August, 7–9 pm

    Northern Territory
    • Alice Springs – 8 August, 7–9 pm
    • Darwin – 7 August, 7.30–9.30 pm

    Queensland
    • Brisbane – 29 August, 7–9 pm
    • Rockhampton – 28 August, 7–9 pm
    • Roma – 30 August, 7–9 pm
    • Townsville – 27 August, 7–9 pm

    South Australia
    • Adelaide – 23 August, 7–9 pm
    • Port Lincoln – 22 August, 7–9 pm
    Victoria
    • Melbourne – 9 August, 7–9 pm
    • Bendigo – 31 July, 7–9 pm
    • Berwick – 30 July, 7–9 pm
    • Geelong – 16 August, 7–9 pm
    • Mildura – 15 August, 7–9 pm
    Tasmania
    • Devonport – 1 August, 7–9 pm
    • Hobart – 2 August, 7–9 pm
    Western Australia
    • Perth – 21 August, 7–9 pm
    • Kununurra – 6 August, 7–9 pm
    • Margaret River – 20 August, 7–9 pm
     
  12. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Thanks - Purple Pear made submissions to the white paper and almost expect the same lack of response to the green as the the former - zip. It seems the they may have started with the answer and are looking now for the questions.
    I will most likely be involved again if I get time but think that movement needs to be at local grassroots level and to bypass the legislators to some extent.
    I seldom remain pessimistic for too long.
     
  13. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    G'day Lesley

    Thanks for the reminder. I have just booked a seat at our local session, and have forwarded the invite on to other faculty members and colleagues.

    I tend to agree with PP (above). However, the way I see it, we just have to keep trying.

    Cheerio, Markos
     
  14. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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  15. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    G'day All

    I, along with about 35 other individuals, attended last night's (Bendigo 31 July) meeting. Topics open for discussion were limited to the top three (from a possible eight), as selected by attendee preferences at the time of booking. So, if you do intend to go along to your local meeting, make sure you select your topic of interest when you book a seat in order to have a fair chance of having your particular interest raised as a topic of discussion. Either that, or wait until the end, where there should be an opportunity to have an 'open discussion' - that's basically what I did.

    At our meeting (judging by those who spoke, and those who I had an opportunity to speak with prior to and after), there was a fairly even spread of attendees from across a fair amount of the entire food system - farmers/growers, agri-business reps, local and regional government authority reps, students, consumers, NGOs, com dev, etc. The term 'permaculture' was heard on at least one occasion, as were many other terms related to our cause. However, and like with any good community meeting, there was a wide-range of view expressed, and even a good ol' bit of 'dole-bludger' bashing was heard (in the context of finding it difficult to get people to work in the lower-skilled end of the food system spectrum).

    All in all, it was a worthwhile experience. We may not like our system of governance, but if we ever have any hope of changing it, then we have to at least try to enter it at whatever level is open to us and exert our influence from there. Attending this meeting in your local area is just one way that you can do this. Principles 8 and 9 come to mind in this instance.

    Cheerio, Markos
     
  16. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    In Sydney, suburbia is swallowing up all arable land.
    This I think is pushed by our tax/rating laws.(Land development is the only 'legal' casino left)
    Once you land is rated for a "higher use" basically you pay rates on that use
    (eg A one acre property paying maybe $1000 PA might be forced to pay $5-6,000 or more once rated for housing. Town houses, commercial or flats/apartments even more).

    I was surprised to see that this is not the case in USA (at least California), nor UK, and they have been able to keep much of their rural productive land.
    But meanwhile, i buy tomatoes from 3,000 miles away
     
  17. Spidermonkey

    Spidermonkey Junior Member

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    I have put my name down to attend the Brisbane session on the 29th August. I am concerned about GMO foods but according the the WHO https://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/biotech/20questions/en/ there have been no proven cases of ill health as a result of GMO foods. Personally I don't see how re-engineering crops to enable a greater use of chemicals can be good for us. As a consumer I think we should have a right to choose wether or not we eat GMO foods. Products containing GMO foods should be labled and alternatives made available. Another concern I have is that low income families living in cities can only choose what is on offer at the supermarket, and they will have few alternatives to GMO products in the future.
     
  18. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    g'day spidermonkey,

    interesting that story that has been going around for at least a decade - "there has been no deaths or serious illness from eating GMO foods".

    for that statement to be factual they would need to be monitoring and looking for issues, to do that they would need to have some parameters eg.,. done human trialling long before releasing the products for general consumption. and they have not done any human trials even belated ones which would have little relevancy now as the product has most likley already infiltrated, just like those poison artificial sweeteners never trialled.

    most processed shelf foods will contain GMO as well they are imported ingredients.

    they will never find what they are not looking for.

    len
     
  19. Ludi

    Ludi Junior Member

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  20. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    G'day Michael

    The encroachment of urban 'development' into agricultural lands is a topic of prime importance, and one that has been highlighted in successive (National) State of the Environment (SoE) reports. From the 2011 SoE report:

    Each year, new areas of land are covered with roads, car parks, buildings and other structures (see Chapter 10: Built environment, Section 3.1). When soil is capped with an impermeable layer, it effectively ceases to function as a biological entity. The consequences are more than a loss of land for agriculture, conservation or other uses. Capping soil changes the water balance of catchments (more run-off is produced from rainstorms over a shorter period) and reduces the area available for soil respiration and carbon sequestration.

    During the 19th century, many urban centres were established on, or adjacent to, land highly suited to horticulture and cropping. The encroachment of urban and peri-urban development has seen the capping of this land. For economic reasons, it is highly unlikely that these good-quality soils will ever regain their biological function.

    The loss of strategically valuable agricultural lands is a significant challenge for most state, territory and local governments. Various policies and planning mechanisms are now in place to protect and maintain remaining areas. However, the broader challenge posed by mining and coal-seam gas development in New South Wales and Queensland has heightened public debate and government engagement.94 The lack of detailed soil surveys that identify the location of the best agricultural soils impedes planning. The current information base does not allow optimal decision-making about where to locate development projects, due to the generally deficient information accessible to local planning authorities. The need to accurately map our best agricultural land has been recognised for decades.95


    I did raise this very issue as a topic for discussion at the Bendigo meeting by asking something like this: "How is it that we can propose to have a National Food Plan that fails to adequately recognise, let alone fully address, the protection of agricultural land from inappropriate development?"

    The answer went something like this (with lots of head-nodding and knowing smiles): "Land use planning is a state-based issue, and is therefore outside of the scope of a National Plan".

    Sometimes I wonder why we bother...

    Cheerio, Markos
     

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