Spotlight on a Cause: The People’s Food Plan for Australia

28/5/2013

Have you forgotten what tomatoes taste like? I realised I had when I was eating a felafel, spinach and tomato salad at Sourced Grocer last week. I bit in to one of the little red organic truss tomatoes and was met with a veritable explosion of flavour in my mouth. I truly had begun to accept that tomatoes only came with a hint of tomato flavour – not the fullness, sweetness and juiciness that a genuine tomato can offer.

It was reminiscent of being back in Positano late last year – a place where tomatoes, lemons and oranges are simply bursting with plump deliciousness. One of my favourite memories during my time there was stealing sampling a tomato which had grown outside someone’s garden during a hike to the top of Positano town. One of my besties and I shared in this illicit delight – and it was like we’d never tasted a tomato before in our lives. Sweet jeebus, it was perfection. The reason for this, according to a study recently published on Science Daily is that tomatoes grown organically or on organic farms accumulate higher concentrations of sugars, vitamin C and tasty compounds – which is associated with oxidative stress – compared to those  grown on conventional farms.

Tomatoes

So it is to this end that I have decided I will no longer entertain the presence of tomatoes that parade themselves as the real deal but are in fact far from it.

I featured Food Connect in a previous Thrilling Me post, because they’re doing wonderful things to help maintain the integrity of our food system in South East Queensland. But more broadly, a group called The Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (a collaboration of organisations and individuals) is doing great things to secure a sustainable and connected food supply for Australia.

AFSA believe the Federal Government’s National Food Plan Green Paper (published in 2012) is not doing enough to secure Australia’s food supply into the future. It is marginalising thousands of Australians — including many small-hold farmers, food processors, food retailers, health workers, entrepreneurs, and consumers who eat the food — and desire a fair food system.

AFSA held widespread community consultations throughout Australia late last year, and are developing a People’s Food Plan that reflects the concerns and aspirations of the aforementioned groups. The Federal Government’s Food Plan is very agri-business and corporate heavy, and largely leaves the littler guys (many of whom produce the tomatoes I want to eat) out.

The key steps put forward by AFSA for achieving sustainable transformation of the current corporate food system are:

  • Prioritising health, equity and access to good food for all,
  • Decision-making that is genuinely participatory, democratic and inclusive,
  • Regulating for fair and safe food,
  • Reducing excessive waste in the food system,
  • Introducing food literacy and education via the school curriculum,
  • Supporting a return to Indigenous food sovereignty,
  • (re)Localising the food system,
  • Addressing the environmental problems associated with industrial food production,
  • Diversifying the current food economy by making space for new social enterprises,
  • Planning to preserve prime agricultural land,
  • Building fair food systems through co-operatives, small-scale businesses and social enterprise,
  • Enabling more food production in urban and peri-urban spaces, and;
  • Co-ordinating community efforts in food production and nutrient recycling.

If you’re interested in this cause, I would behoove you to please go and have a read of AFSA’s People’s Food Plan Working Paper or the short summary document here. And get involved with the great initiatives they have going on around the country.

Get interested in where your food comes from, how it’s produced, and who produces it. If you’re not in Australia, perhaps take a look at the food system in your country. Do you have a fair food system in place?

Here’s to tasty tomatoes for everyone.

Anyone craving tomatoes now? Hmm? Okay, maybe it’s just me.

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