New coalition to press for better food system
The community food movement…
AUSTRALIA HAS A NEW FOOD ADVOCACY ORGANISATION that will focus on food security, nutritional health and associated topics, the food-related issues that are of most relevance to people.
Around 16 percent of Australians experience food insecurity every year. The figure includes families with children for whom the lack of a nutritionally balanced diet can affect their mental and physical development.
The linked article explains the Right To Food Coalition’s origin in a food security conference in Sydney in 2014. In that city, members of the Sydney Food Fairness Alliance, which has advocated on equitable food access and for the city’s small scale farmers on the rural-urban fringe for more than a decade, has been involved.
Formation of a new, national organisation raises the question of whether the Alliance will continue an independent existence or roll into the new Right To Food Coalition.
Since the turn of the century a number of food organisations have made a start, including the Illawarra and Sydney food fairness alliances. Those two were among the first and both achieved regional success including the Sydney Food Fairness Alliance’s well attended conference in Sydney. The Alliance organised regional gatherings that developed proposals about repairing the food system that were aired at a culminating event at the Customs House at Circular Quay.
At the end of 2010 the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance made a start, of which Brisbane Food Connect’s Robert Pekin and food sovereignty advocate, Nick Rose and I were founding members.
There are now food advocacy organisations in regional centres like Byron Bay. These are local in ambit, however, and at present only the Right To Food Coalition and the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance are operating at a national level. We have not seen the atomisation at this level that we see at the community level of food organisations.
A NSW government advisory panel I was a member of last year, pulled together to investigate future funding ideas for the community food sector, confirmed that there is a community food movement but found it lacking cohesive leadership. We will see whether the new organisation comes to fill that niche.