Sustainable Food and Agriculture

FoEA's activities on food and farming address issues of social justice and environmental sustainability. Along with better ecological outcomes, we are working towards food sovereignty - the ability of local communities and farmers to make decisions about agriculture, food production and retail in their areas.

We face a stark choice. Our food and farming systems are at crisis point. As agricultural and food systems are increasingly corporate controlled, food security is becoming increasingly tenuous for communities in both the global North and the South. Do we continue to put profit first? Or can we adopt practices that safeguard the future of what we eat - and those who provide it. If we let them, governments, the biotech and nanotech industries and supermarkets will decide for us. It's time to choose who controls our farms and food chains.

Our vision:

  • safe, healthy, nutritious, quality food (pesticide, nano and GM-free) at a fair price for both consumers and farmers
  • responsible methods of production that promote environmental protection and improve animal welfare
  • conservation of natural resources, in particular water, soil and agricultural biodiversity
  • a quality of life for small/medium size farmers in order to preserve a socially, environmentally and economically viable countryside respecting the multi-functionality of agriculture and rural life
  • fair trade with third/ majority world countries in line with principles of sustainable agriculture

Introduction

Our work on food and farming addresses issues of social justice and environmental sustainability.

The dominant global agri-food system is characterised by severe ecological problems and social inequalities. Ecological problems include: the chemical pollution of land, waterways and foods; soil and degradation and erosion; the loss of seed and animal diversity; the energy and resources consumed in the long-distance transportation, processing and packaging of foods; and a range of human health impacts and risks.

Socio-economic problems and inequalities include: widespread hunger and malnutrition in the context of an abundance and oversupply of food; health problems association with the over-consumption of particular types of foods; the squeezing out of small-scale farmers in favour of large-scale farms and the undermining of subsistence and local forms of food production and consumption; and the expansion of the corporate ownership and/or control of the entire agri-food system.

Contemporary technological developments (such as the new genetic technologies and nanotechnologies) and economic developments (such as attempts by the WTO and other institutions and governments to open local economies to the forces of corporate globalisation) threaten to exacerbate these ecological and socio-economic problems.

A range of oppositional and alternative forms of food production and consumption have emerged to challenge the dominant agri-food system. These movements promote more environmentally sustainable food production, work to preserve traditional farming practices, support communities, promote more local and equitable forms of food distribution and consumption, and forge more direct links between food producers and consumers. Examples of these initiatives include: organic agricultural production, seed saving networks, Community Supported Agriculture, farmers markets, fair trade movements, and food co-operatives.

Globally, Friends of the Earth campaigns against the ecologically destructive practices of chemical-industrial agriculture, genetically modified foods, government policies which undermine small-scale and local producers and markets, and the corporatisation of the agri-food system. Friends of the Earth supports initiatives aimed at creating and preserving organic and environmentally sustainable farming practices, local production for local and subsistence markets, fair trade between Northern and Southern (First and Third World) countries, and land redistribution to landless and near-landless rural people to meet their own and local food needs.

Contact details

At present, we do not have an active national campaign on food.

We collaborate closely with the Safe Food Foundation and Gene Ethics.

Our spokespeople on food are:

Louise Sales <louise.sales@foe.org.au> and Jeremy Tager <jeremy.tager@foe.org.au>