IN THE NEWS: What is the NATIONAL FOOD PLAN?

Did you know Australia has a National Food Plan?  Did you know that it affects every Australian?

food 1million women

Why do we need a food plan?

This is an excerpt from The National Food Plan which explains why,

“Australia’s food system is complex and diverse.

A National Food Plan will establish an integrated approach to food-related policies and programs for the benefit of food businesses and consumers and underpin the vision of Australia being a reliable, sustainable, productive and resilient supplier of nutritious and affordable food.

Australia has one of the best food systems in the world.

Our current policies, programs and regulations affecting the food system broadly deliver a good mix of economic, environmental and social benefits for the Australian community. However, there is room for improvement. Strengthening these arrangements through the development of the National Food Plan will help Australia’s food system respond to new opportunities and challenges.”

The forward from the National Food Plan is written by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and explains,

“Australia is in the enviable position of being able to comfortably feed our people. Through a combination of excellent management, great good fortune and an inventive spirit, our food industry has grown from strength to strength.

Gone are the days when our national prosperity rode solely on the sheep’s back. Australia now has a huge, sustainable and diverse food supply system. We find ourselves producing far more food than we consume.

Indeed, in 2010–11 the value of Australia’s food exports was $27.1 billion. Underpinning this exponential growth is Australian ingenuity—from 19th century mechanical inventions such as the stump jump plough and the combine harvester, to recent biotechnology advances such as the high-fibre barley and salt-resistant wheat, Australian innovation has forever changed the face of the world’s agriculture.”

On May 25th, the 2013 National Food Plan was released, as well as the announcement of a $1.5 million small grants program for community food groups.

ABC News reports: “Groups will be able to apply for Federal Government grants of up to $25,000 to support projects such as farmers markets and “food rescue activities”, while grants of up to $10,000 will be available to people involved in smaller initiatives such as community gardens and city farms.”

food 1 million women

Why is buying local important?

Where fruit and vegetables come from, the way they are grown, how far the food items have travelled, and how they are stored and preserved or refrigerated – all are important elements in determining its carbon footprint.

Incredible as it may sound, what we eat and drink contributes to about one third of the CO2 pollution connected with our day-to-day living. We have the power to make positive choices when we shop that will affect food preparation, eating and what we can do with scraps and leftovers.

However, there have been a few holes noted in the new plan, most notably – The National Food Plan not taking into account the potential impact the increased food production will have on our ecosystems. The Australian online explains,

“The Australian Greens said the plan failed to tackle the supermarket duopoly, factor in the impact of climate change on future food production, or address lax food labelling laws.

“We don’t believe you can have a comprehensive food plan that benefits both producers of food and consumers of food unless you tackle competition policy in this country,” Greens competition spokesman Senator Peter Whish-Wilson said.”

This is a very important factor and many are drawing parallels in this situation to the Governments past mismanagement of water, which led to the collapse of the Murray-Darling Basin river system. A scary thought.

Other aspects of The Food Plan include :

  • Identifying and mitigating potential risks to Australia’s food security.
  • Contributing to global food security
  • Maintaining and improveing the natural resource base underpinning food production in Australia
  • Support the global competitiveness and productivity growth of the food supply chain, including through research, science and innovation
  • Contribute to economic prosperity, employment and community wellbeing in regional Australia.

We would love the 1 Million Women’s input on the National Food Plan. What are your thoughts?

We are daughters, mothers, sisters and grandmothers getting on with practical climate action to live better for us and the planet. Join the movement at www.1millionwomen.com.au

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