Feeding Australia, Fairly
Farmers across the country are working hard to feed Australia fairly, but they are not being given a fair go.
What is not fair are the negative impacts on Australian farmers of cheap imports, centralized market control, overly-burdensome regulations and the rampant expansion of the fracking industry. It’s a tough time to be an Australian farmer.
Fair Food Farmers United is a platform to connect, support and provide a united voice for farmers feeding Australia fairly.
Why join FFFU?
- be part of the voice advocating for a viable future for farmers
- benefit from farmer-to-farmer knowledge-exchange and networking through online and offline forums
- belong to a collaborative farmer community
- benefit from regular communications: a membership e-list / a dedicated Twitter account / e-news / blog page
- place your farm profile on the AFSA website and help build a listing of members by region
- enjoy regional and local connections with potential customers
- connect to the national and global fair food movement
Free-range rare breed pig farmer Tammi Jonas of Jonai Farms, Eganstown, Victoria, explains why the time has come for Fair Food Farmers United.
Fair Food Farmers United aims to:
- provide a balanced voice to represent farmers who are at the sharp end of the impacts of free trade
- raise awareness about the impacts of cheap imports on farmers
- advocate for fair pricing for farmers selling to the domestic market
- connect Australian farmers for farmer-to-farmer knowledge sharing
- be a voice for farmer-friendly regulations and standards.
[quote author="Charlie Massy, broadcare livestock farmer, researcher and author of ‘Breaking the Sheep’s Back" image="http://www.australianfoodsovereigntyalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Charles-Massy_author-photo.jpg" w="150" h="150" image_align=""]"Most farmers in broader-scale, ecological agriculture who are at a distance from local markets (and markets of any size), like myself, face logistical problems in delivering produce to more specialized markets.
"Consequently we are totally disempowered, captured by the big-end of town (big multi-national traders, big middle-men, big retail, big finance, and, in the case of non-ecological farmers, by big suppliers linked to big chemical and pharma companies).
"That means we are jammed into the impoverishing role of being 'price-takers' forced always to work on efficiency, cost-cutting and so on, rather than the earth-and-human-regenerating stuff that builds soil, families and community.
"In such a corrupted system there are few avenues to do something different and certainly no voice. But for the first time, Fair Food Farmers United, provides this and enables us to join, learn from and participate in a surging world-wide movement."
View video: Charles Massy - Farming futures: how Australia’s farmers are adapting to change. View Charles Massey’s book details: 'Breaking the Sheep's Back’. Source: photo[/quote]
[quote author="Lauren Mathers, Proprietor, Bundara Berkshires; Cofounder, Red Gum Food Group (Barham); National Committee member of Austtralian Food Sovereignty Alliance" image="http://www.australianfoodsovereigntyalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/lauren.jpg" w="150" h="150" image_align="right”]"Protecting farmers against the impact of imports and tackling existing regulations is an area that I'm really passionate about.
"It's heartbreaking seeing farmers doing things such as pack up and leave their land, pull out old fruit trees and sell up to internationals as they feel they have no choice or don't have the support to adopt innovations to evolve.
"This is an exciting time for farmers to have a strong united voice and the Fair Food Farmers United is here to be just that."
Our members are ‘natural’ people, not corporations, who — alone or with partners or family — provide 80 percent of the labour on their farm (excluding seasonal work like picking or shearing) and sell into the domestic market.
This is an eligibility requirement for membership.
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Links and resources
The 2014 International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) aims to raise the profile of family and smallholder farming by focusing world attention on its significant role in eradicating hunger and poverty, providing food security and nutrition, improving livelihoods, managing natural resources, protecting the environment, and achieving sustainable development, in particular in rural areas.
The goal of the 2014 IYFF is to reposition family farming at the centre of agricultural, environmental and social policies in the national agendas by identifying gaps and opportunities to promote a shift towards a more equal and balanced development. The 2014 IYFF will promote broad discussion and cooperation at the national, regional and global levels to increase awareness and understanding of the challenges faced by smallholders and help identify efficient ways to support family farmers.
"There are some 500 million smallholder farms worldwide; more than 2 billion people depend on them for their livelihoods. These small farms produce about 80 percent of the food consumed in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
In my many years of working in agriculture and rural development, two things have become increasingly evident. The first is that farming at any scale is a business, and smallholders and producers must be treated as entrepreneurs. The second is that businesses need clear linkages along the value chain, from production to processing, marketing and, ultimately, to consumption. When these links are in place, wonderful things begin to happen."
"The IAASTD was set up to evaluate which forms of agricultural investment make sense and provide insights into the future approaches that could be adopted by the 15 international agricultural research centres administered by the World Bank.
Professor Robert T. Watson, the then chief scientist at the World Bank, became the director of and driving force behind the IAASTD.
The IAASTD is a promising starting point and provides the opportunity for a rational and holistic discussion on the future of agriculture with the cooperation of all stakeholders involved.
It presents a clear message: Business as usual is not an option!
A thorough and radical overhaul of present international and national agricultural policies is necessary to meet the challenges of the future."
Recent media coverage of the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance
Should Foreign Investors Have a Stake in Farmland?"It's one of the most polarising debates in Australia — whether foreign investors should be allowed unrestricted access to buy Australian farmland.
The phrase 'selling off the farm' is one that arouses a strong emotional response among farmers, politicians and the broader community.
People fear that if foreign entities control large chunks of farmland, Australia will have less control over its own food supply. Others say foreign investment is needed to keep the agriculture sector healthy.
The pros and cons of foreign ownership are being thrashed out in Sydney as part of the IQ2 debate series by the St James Ethics Centre."
The Federal Government has scrapped the $1.5 million Community Food Grants program.
The funding was announced last May by the former Labor government as a key initiative of the National Food Plan.
It would have seen money invested in projects such as farmers markets, food co-operatives and hubs, community gardens, and city farms across the country.
Michael Croft, from the lobby group Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance, says Ausveg has 'lost the vegetable plot' and that the real risks to Australia's biosecurity are not community gardens.
"By claiming the axing of community food grants was good policy, Ausveg is working against the best interests of Australian vegetable growers — particularly those that supply the domestic market," he said.
"To make matters worse, Ausveg repeats calls for further trade liberalisation — a double-edged sword.
"Free trade agreements, and the import competition they bring, are the main reason for Australian vegetable producers' woes, as the SPC Ardmona saga demonstrates."
AFSA President and paddock-to-plate family farmer Michael Croft, and National Coordinator Dr Nick Rose, take apart the assumptions that lie beneath the previous Federal Government's National Food Plan.
Pretty much exactly the same thinking and philosophy underpins the current Federal Government's White Paper on Agriculture.
About the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance
AFSA is a national alliance of farmers, small food entrepreneurs, public health professionals, community gardeners, farmers market coordinators, journalists, and local food advocates who share the vision of a fair food future for all Australians. AFSA draws inspiration from and is founded on the principles of food sovereignty and food security, which call for national and global food systems that prioritise human and environmental health and well-being, and the viability of local farmers, above the economic interests of large multinational companies.
Founded in 2010, AFSA has provided national vision leadership through collaboratively creating Australia's first Peoples Food Plan, and in coordinating Australia's first Fair Food Week. In 2014 AFSA will launch Australia's first Fair Food feature documentary, Just Food, which will tell the stories of Australian farmers, businesspeople, local governments and others who are transforming Australia's food future.