I heard today on the radio how Australia's largest Agribusiness has had an offer made on it by an overseas company. The rest of the world apparently can see the benefit of investing in Australian agribusinesses because of the potential Asian market. And apparently Australia needs overseas investment because we don't have enough capital of our own. But the politician speaking on the radio announced that we ordinary Australians need to get behind our businesses and support them so we don't have to look for overseas investment. But apparently (that word again) we don't understand the need for food security and/or food sovereignty. And here he meant just the ordinary Aussie not big corporations.
Now I find this very interesting for a number of reasons.
Lets take a look first of all at people like Dick Smith who are putting their names and their money behind promoting Australian goods and services. Dick himself is putting large amounts of money into local food processing plants, with large amounts of advertisement to get the message across to the ordinary person that we have to secure our food.
And then there is the Food Sovereignty Alliance who has done a lot to connect others who are interested and to lobby government about food security issues. Only last year the government formed a group to look at food sovereignty issues and failed to invite the Alliance to contribute, inviting instead large companies with vested interests such as transport companies, and large supermarkets. And we all know how concerned they are about food security! The Alliance formed their own group and asked local communities to have their say in what they would like to see happen in regards to this issue. These thoughts were collated and sent into the government.
There is the Slow Food movement who are also very aware of these issues and do a number of things to inform the public. The Biodynamic Group and Organic Growers groups, Permaculture people, People forming food co-ops, home gardeners, community gardeners etc etc. These people know and do a lot for food sovereignty..
I get a little tetchy when advertisers, pollies, marketers and the media use the terms 'we all want'', ''everybody knows'', ''all Australians are unaware of Food Sovereignty''.....
This week we had two groups visit the farm for a tour and lunch. The first group was from a local mental health unit having a staff team building day. Health professionals looking at ways to incorporate the growing of food as a way of enhancing their clients well being. They understood the need for growing some of their own food and sourcing local as much as possible and eating seasonally. They may not be doing everything about those things yet but they were aware of these issues.
And the second group is participating in a program that looks to support young children and their families. In this instance they are being helped to grow food, to learn about and try some new vegetables. This group were also very much aware of some of the issues concerning our food security. They talked about food in supermarkets being harvested early because they were trucked long distances, and then sprayed with chemicals to artificially ripen them. They didn't want to eat that, so they planned to grow their own. They talked about chemicals being used on farms to grow their food, they didn't want to eat that so they planned to grow their own. They, in essence wanted more control over how the food they ate was being grown.
I think the grass roots movement of food conscious people is growing more and more. I don't like to be told that no one in Australia is aware of the issues when I know that so many people are. I don't like to hear of yet another one of our Agribusiness being sold overseas. But to blame that sale on the ordinary Aussie is a little unfair I think. What do you think?
Who is it that needs to do more?