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National Sustainable Food Summit Conference Report


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This report provides a record for Summit delegates, as well as a reference for those that could not attend. It is hoped it
will be used as a catalyst for further discussion and may also be a useful input into the Federal Government’s National
Food Plan or other policy discussions.

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National Sustainable Food Summit Conference Report

  1. 1. CONFERENCE REPORTSecuring Australia’s future through integratedand adaptive approaches to sustainable food
  2. 2. The urgent need to give priority attention to food production, whilst maintaining the quality of the resource base from which it is produced, is perhaps one of the greatest scientific challenges ahead and certainly one that has apparently slipped from our gaze.” – Dr John Williams, Commissioner, Natural Resources Commission, NSW and Founding Member, Wentworth Group of Concerned ScientistsNational Sustainable Food Summit Conference Report 2011 2
  3. 3. Table of ContentsINTRODUCTION 4 About the summit 4 Acknowledgement 4 About this report 5AUSTRALIA’S SUSTAINABLE FOOD SYSTEM IN 2030 6THE CURRENT FOOD SYSTEM: CHALLENGES AND CONSTRAINTS 7 The case for change 7 Future constraints 9OPPORTUNITIES: AUSTRALIA’S ROLE IN A SUSTAINABLE FOOD SYSTEM 10 Ideas and recommendations 11HOT TOPICS: FOR FURTHER DISCUSSION 14WHAT’S NEXT? COLLABORATION, INNOVATION, ACTION 15FURTHER READING 16APPENDIX 1: Break out groups summary 17APPENDIX 2: List of organisations present at the Summit 19National Sustainable Food Summit Conference Report 2011 3
  4. 4. INTRODUCTIONFood. It sustains us. It nourishes us. It defines us and binds us together socially and culturally.But can Australians assume we will always have enough of the right food, and how much will be produced locally? Withsome Australians already going hungry, without the means to buy food, are we already showing signs of inequitableaccess to affordable, nutritious food? Can we assume Australia’s food production system is resilient in the face ofcompounding future challenges, including population growth, resource limits, land degradation and climate change?How is Australia ensuring its food security, now and into the future? And what is the impact of our food production, interms of the land and in terms of our environment?Over three hundred delegates including primary producers and members of the business, government, education,public health, community and not-for-profit sectors attended the inaugural National Sustainable Food Summit in Mel-bourne on April 5 & 6, 2011. The goal was to share ideas that could inform a vision for Australia’s food system in 2030;to examine the challenges and constraints of the current food system, and explore opportunities for change that wouldsupport a transformation to a resilient, adaptable and sustainable food system.Designing a vision for the future allowed delegates to explore the types of capabilities – values, assumptions, businessmodels, economies, technologies, skills and behaviours – that would support a new system. By putting themselves inthe future space, delegates were asked to stretch beyond current vested interests to shape a more sustainable foodsystem that would provide for the world’s growing population and future populations, recognise the limitations of afinite planet and adapt to a changing climate.Recommendations that support the transition to this new system, as well as areas of contention and further explora-tion, are listed further in the report (see pages 11-14). However, it was clear based on discussions and suggestions putforward during both the plenary sessions and group workshops that a shared vision did emerge: one which, despitethe divergent backgrounds, occupations and interests of the attendees, is defined by the core values of respect forplanet, people and produce (see page 6).About the summitThe National Sustainable Food Summit was organised by the 3 Pillars Network. 3 Pillars Network is an independentmembership and knowledge network for sustainability in Australia. Members represent business, government, inves-tors and not-for-profits. 3 Pillars Network addresses vital sustainability issues by sharing knowledge and opinion fromstakeholders across multiple sectors with a systemic and inclusive approach. 3 Pillars aspires to set the agenda forsustainability issues including food security, climate adaptation and resilience, behavioural change for sustainabilityand social impact investment and measurement.3 Pillars aspires to set the agenda for sustainability issues including food security, climate adaptation and resilience,behavioural change for sustainability and social impact investment and measurementAcknowledgementsThe Summit could not have been possible without the support of Meat & Livestock Australia, the Australian Food andGrocery Council, Sustainability Victoria, WWF and Net Balance, a strategic partner of 3 Pillars Network.Liam Egerton and Michael McAllum, Directors from the Global Foresight Network, also played a key role in shaping thedesign of the Summit, as did the chair and emcee Ian Porter, CEO of the Alternative Technology Association.The strategic foresight approach was used to assist with program design. Opportunities for interaction, collaborationand discussion were given high priority. Participants were encouraged to think beyond widely-held assumptions, linearsolutions and transactional thinking to explore transformation, systems, cycles, innovation and alternative beliefs.Day One of the Summit focused on the challenges and constraints of the current food system, while Day Two exploredthe opportunities, challenges and constraints of the food system of 2030.National Sustainable Food Summit Conference Report 2011 4
  5. 5. The strategic foresight approach is designed to plan for risk, leverage new opportunities and capabilities and avoidthe “action driven by crisis” model. “We leap off the current system, and jump onto the curve of the new system. That’swhat really underpins the strategic foresight approach,” said Liam Egerton, Global Foresight Network. 3. anticipation 2. feedback 1. radar focus 4. design 5. change timeFor more information about strategic foresight, download Michael McAllum’s presentation orvisit this reportThis report provides a record for Summit delegates, as well as a reference for those that could not attend. It is hoped itwill be used as a catalyst for further discussion and may also be a useful input into the Federal Government’s NationalFood Plan or other policy discussions. Madeleine Brennan, Principal, Madeleine Write & Co, was commissioned by the3 Pillars Network to write the report.This report presents summaries of the key themes and discussions of the summit. It aims to provide a record of theplenary and breakout sessions. However, it does not – and could not – capture it all, nor does it represent an endorsedview of the proceedings by any of the delegates or the 3 Pillars Network. The vision for the food system of 2030 futureis based on key themes and discussion points from the Summit, but should not be seen as an endorsed vision of allparticipants.Statistics have been cited. Web links to relevant presentations or other sources are embedded within the document.Full audio and visual records of presentations are available at Our collective stories – the indigenous, the immigrant, the farmers, the arts and sciences – form our wellspring for developing what we need: a new narrative that empowers the transformation that we’re going to undertake.” – Michael Raupach, Chair, PMSEIC Expert Working Group on Energy Water Carbon IntersectionsNational Sustainable Food Summit Conference Report 2011 5
  6. 6. AUSTRALIA’S SUSTAINABLE FOOD SYSTEM IN 2030 SHOULD:Value equity · Provide our population with equitable access to affordable, nutritious food · Be an exporter of high-quality, sustainably produced food and knowledgeValue efficiency · Consider food security in relation to all government policy and planning · Support locally-grown food production and distribution in order to minimise economic and environmental costValue resilience and adaptability · Be a resilient system that can recover from disturbances and shocks, adapt by learning and undergo transformation when necessaryValue ecology · Include the environmental and social cost in food production and supply · Create minimal, or zero waste · Minimise the use of high-polluting, fossil-fuel based technologies · Support ecological systems to ensure the ongoing viability of food production for future generationsValue produce and producers · Support local farmers, producers and manufacturers to deliver high-quality, nutritious food to Australian and international customers through: adequate funding of research and development; policy settings that promote a fair price across the supply chain; a regulatory environment that fosters innovation · Connect people to each other and to food through increased participation in food production, in cities and in regional areasValue information and knowledge · Empower citizens to make informed choices about the food they eat by providing independent information · Promote knowledge of food production and its impacts to citizens · Be a leader in research, development and extension through multi-disciplinary approaches to food security · Be a world leader and teacher in sustainable food production and technologies. When we think about the future of food, we are talking about the future of society. Because food is part of what we are socially and culturally, it’s not just some sort of economic abstract.” – Michael McAllum, Director, Global Foresight Network We must enlist the food processing industry, the supermarkets, the cookbook writers and nutritionists, the TV chefs and restaurants and the health departments to promote the same universal messages: Eat well but eat less. Eat more vegetables and less energy-intensive foods. Choose foods that spare our soils and water. Be happy to pay more for such good food, so our farmers can protect the precious resources and environment that produce it.” – Julian Cribb, Author, ‘The Coming Famine’National Sustainable Food Summit Conference Report 2011 6
  7. 7. THE CURRENT FOOD SYSTEM: CHALLENGES AND CONSTRAINTS Make no mistake. This is the greatest challenge of our time.” – Julian Cribb, Author, ‘The Coming Famine’Most Australians currently enjoy access to high quality, safe and cheap food. Our food system currently producesenough food for 60 million people – domestically and internationally (see R Batterham).The food sector is an important part of the domestic economy and Australia is regarded as a stable supplier of food ofhigh-quality food globally.However, this situation is not one we can take for granted.The case for changeThere was general consensus amongst plenary-session speakers and during the breakout sessions that the currenteconomic model has produced a food system that is out of balance and unsustainable – socially, economically andenvironmentally.Over the last 200 years, there has been exponential growth in many measures of human activity and influence on theplanet including population, land and resource use, greenhouse gas emissions and water use (see M Raupach).This is different from anything that has happened over 4.5 billion years and should be viewed in this context (see MRaupach). As was noted by members of the Kulin nation in the Summit’s welcome to country ceremony, indigenousAustralians are acutely aware of the pace and scale of change to the Australian continent in 200 years.The current food system in Australia is characterised by an unsustainable reliance on emission-intensive fossil fuelsin both production and distribution. In a world of rising energy prices, diminishing resources and a price on carbon, asystem heavily reliant on oil for fuel and fertilizer will also result in higher food prices (see J Cribb; R Batterham).Productive capacity in agriculture is also in decline. This is due to both biophysical constraints – such as soil nutrientloss, scarcity of arable land and climate change – as well as capacity constraints such as workforce and knowledge gaps,inadequate investment in infrastructure (e.g irrigation and transport); and lack of investment in research and development(see R Batterham).There is also an increasing problem with equity, both locally and globally. Some Australians currently go hungry, with-out access to affordable, nutritious food Globally, nearly 1 billion people go hungry (see World Food Program).It is becoming more expensive to eat a variety of nutritious foods, yet energy-dense foods, often of low-nutritionalvalue, are cheaper and more accessible than ever. This has helped to create a society where many Australians areoverweight or obese (see Amanda Lee).Many Australians are disconnected from food production – both geographically and emotionally. Most Australianstake access to a wide variety of affordable foods for granted, throwing away $1.1 billion worth of fresh fruit and veg-etables every year without a thought for what it took to grow it or the contribution it will make to increasing greenhousegases in the atmosphere (see Foodwise). And despite the fact that cities are naturally situated in productive areas nearrivers and by sea, very few feed themselves. One of the biggest impediments to facilitating change is the current constraints around supply and distribution – getting it from farm gate to consumer cost effectively and shortening the supply chain.” – Rose Wright, Regional Industry and Development, Southern Cross UniversityNational Sustainable Food Summit Conference Report 2011 7
  8. 8. The current model is also forcing farmers to produce more, for less money, despite rising input costs. Many farmershave been forced off the land or are under increasing economic pressure. The ongoing viability of some regional areasis being undermined by the lack of economic opportunities.The current system is degrading the ecological systems that we rely on to produce food: land is degraded and nutri-tionally depleted; ground water is becoming increasingly scarce; population changes are swallowing up agriculturalland; and biodiversity continues to diminish. The earth is a closed, ecological system and the world is becomingincreasingly interconnected. Therefore, environmental degradation of local ecologies has global consequences (seeT Flannery; J Williams; R Batterham).Pressures on earth and land · There is less “peak land”. In the last 24 years, 24% of the world’s land is has become degraded. 1% is lost each year (see J Cribb). · Demand for nutrients to grow food will progressively outrun the discovery and development of new mineral resources (see J Cribb). · The global urban footprint is now half the size of China or the US. By 2050 it will be larger than either country (see J Cribb). · The world currently wastes around 80 per cent of its applied nutrients, which leach off farm or are lost in the food chain or waste disposal (see J Cribb).Pressures on water and sea · Groundwater levels are depleting (see J Cribb; R Batterham). · Many of the world’s fish stocks are fully exploited or overexploited (see Food and Agriculture Organisation). · High nutrient levels pollute many water bodies, preventing aquaculture (see J Cribb). The threats from non-fishing activities to ecosysytem productivity, that underpins fishery productivity in Australia, are largely inadequately managed. Continued production of seafood is threatened much more by the ever-increasing non-fishing impacts on the marine environment, than is ever likely to be from current fishing practices.” – Brad Warren, Executive Chair, OceanwatchPressures on sky and air · The rise of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is causing the planet to heat up with various climate-related consequences (see IPCC).Growing economic instability · The average Australian eats the equivalent of 60 barrels of oil a year, such is the dependency of our food system on fossil fuels (see J Cribb). · Food supplies are becoming increasingly unstable (see R Batterham) · We have reached peak oil in the US, in Australia, Britain and in 49 out of 65 of the world’s oil producing regions (see J Cribb). · Connectivity as a global ecosystem and economic system brings both opportunity and risk (see M Raupach; R Batterham). This is the size of the challenge facing the coming generation of farmers. It is to double the global food supply using half the water, on far less land and with increasingly depleted soils, without fossil fuels, with scarce and costly fertiliser and chemicals, amid spreading diseases and pests, under the hammer of climate change.” – Julian Cribb, Author, ‘The Coming Famine’National Sustainable Food Summit Conference Report 2011 8
  9. 9. Growing reliance on imports · There has been a 40% increase in food imports into Australia over the last five years alone (see K Carnell; R Batterham).Health inequity · 1 billion are starving while obesity is growing (see World Food Program; World Health Organisation). · The world wastes enough food to feed an additional 3-4 billion people (see J Cribb). · $5.2 billion of food wastage annually in Australia (see Foodwise).Future constraintsThe earth will be under increasing ecological pressure from human activity. Population projections indicate theworld needs to produce an additional 70 million tonnes of food per year (more than the current total annual output ofAustralia) (see J Williams).If the demands for more food are not met, more people go hungry. If people cannot afford food, they go hungry. Ifpeople can only afford nutritionally low-quality food, governments are left to pick up the tab of other health relatedissues.Lack of access to affordable food threatens political stability and promotes unrest, including increased numbers ofrefugees and war. Therefore, food insecurity in the world, particularly the Asia-Pacific region, threatens Australia’sown security. Australia must value its own food security and recognise its interconnectedness to global systems. As we look at the way we are making a living and what we are asking out of the system, we need to do it in the context of a true understanding of the earth’s system. There is nowhere else we can turn except the earth’s system for our requirements. We are all embedded in it, we are inextricably part of it, we are not separate; every intervention we make ramifies throughout the system and has an impact.” – Tim Flannery, Founding Member, Wentworth Group of Concerned ScientistsNational Sustainable Food Summit Conference Report 2011 9
  10. 10. OPPORTUNITIES: AUSTRALIA’S ROLE IN A SUSTAINABLE FOOD SYSTEMAustralia is a wealthy country, currently producing more food than it needs for its population. Australia has moreopportunities and more resources than many countries.Australia should play a key role in building a sustainable and resilient food system, both locally and globally. It cancreate new opportunities that shape its future resilience by doing so – and we must start now (see J Cribb; M Raupach).Australia should aim to become a world leader in sustainable, low-input agriculture, exporting sustainably produced,high-quality food and sharing expertise and knowhow with the world – particularly its experience of food productionunder climate variability and climate change (see R Batterham).It should leverage Australian expertise globally, influencing the international food agenda and linking to global initia-tives.With the development of a coordinated approach to food production and security in cities and regional towns, Australiacan set itself up as a world leader in peri-urban and urban food production, freeing up public land for agriculture andincorporating water recycling and varied production techniques into buildings and urban developments. Innovativeurban food production methods should be supported and trialled.The Australian food sector should be supported to incorporate life-cycle analysis across supply chains to identifyopportunities for improved resource efficiency, cost efficiency and productivity.Australia should support research and development into new industries that work within the constraints of resourcescarcity and climate change (for example, utilising waste to produce vegetable, microbial, fungal and animal protein inbiocultures which can become healthy processed food) (see J Cribb). Our intentionality shapes our systems. How would the food system be different if we approached it from the viewpoint of abundance and cooperation, rather than competition and scarcity?” – Richard Hames, Distinguished Professor and Director, Asian Foresight Institute Most businesses ‘help’, they ‘assist’, they ‘aid’, they ‘partner’, they ‘sell to’: Food Connect works ‘with’. We work with people that aren’t staff, they are not co-workers, they are people that work with you. And once you change that word, a whole new set of creative energies emerge that help you to find innovative solutions to old problems… And it’s exciting.” – Robert Pekin, Founder, Food ConnectNational Sustainable Food Summit Conference Report 2011 10
  11. 11. A sustainable 21st century food system needs to be different from the kind of system we have now. And therefore it needs to be about transformation – not tinkering at the edges. We really have to re-think the whole thing.” – Michael McAllum, Director, Global Foresight NetworkIDEAS AND RECOMMENDATIONSREGULATION AND POLICYNational: · Coordinate food policy and programs across all levels of government – especially land use and planning, climate change and water, and preventative health. This includes prioritizing national data collection on environment, food production, processing, distribution and consumption patterns to inform analysis and investment decisions · Integrate the food regulatory system · Look at establishing a food security agency that works closely with the National Preventative Health Agency · Establish an Australian standard for sustainable agriculture for local and imported products. The ‘Australian Sustainable Agriculture Standard’ must include life-cycle analysis of energy, water, land and biodiversity inputs · Food production and security must be given the highest priority in relation to land use and planning, and it must be coordinated · Medium and high-density housing development should be favoured over low-density development that encroaches on land suitable for agricultural production · Open spaces – including areas for community gardening and/or local food production – should be included in new developments · Relax the regulations relating to use by dates to minimise the unnecessary waste of food to landfill. For example; ‘Use By’ could be changed to ‘Best By’ · Create tax incentives for people who open up land to farming or community gardening · Put a price on the environmental and social cost of food · Provide incentives for new business models that grow local food economies and community-supported agriculture · Expand the opportunities for generating income on the land through environmental credits (ecological goods and services) – carbon credits, biodiversity credits, water management salinity credits and biofuels · Develop industry incentives for innovative and healthy food products · Ensure consumers can make informed choices through comprehensive product labelling · Resource accounting has to be comprehensive and consistent · Market mechanisms must be consistent with non-market mechanism (such as behaviour change and price signals). “Worldwide we can see democracy spinning its wheels…and we’re not making good decisions. We need a new way of getting informed consensus that allows us to make far reaching and large decisions without having these protracted arguments. We have to have the conversation a lot more efficiently.” Julian Cribb, Author, ‘The Coming Famine’National Sustainable Food Summit Conference Report 2011 11
  12. 12. For as long as the cost of maintaining and improving the natural resource base in agricultural systems is not included in the price of food, farmers will never be able to farm sustainably and profitably.” – John Williams, Commissioner, Natural Resources Commission, NSW and Founding Member the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists Without looking after the farmer, we have nothing.” – Jock Laurie, Chairman, National Farmers FederationGlobal: · Articulate Australia’s role in global food security · Australia should market its sustainable seafood practices and lead global efforts to restrict overfishing · Increase efforts to tackle global poverty to reduce risks from food insecurity and reduce population growth. It’s not the role of farmers to make sure there is equity. It’s for governments.” – Kirsten Larsen, Policy Research Manager, Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab We need to decide. Are we going to be a food bowl for Asia or the world’s biggest national park? We need a national vision, one in which farmers and producers are seen as custodians of the land. Cattle production and conservation values can coexist.” – Roger Landsberg, Producer, Trafalgar QldRESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT · Support research, development and extension (RD&E) into increasing productivity, promoting low-input agriculture and creating a carbon-neutral food sector · Ensure government and industry investment in RD&E is an ongoing priority and does not stagnate or decline · Support linkages in RD&E – multi-disciplinary, integrated assessments · Foster public-private partnerships · Expand understanding of and opportunities for multi-function farming; intensive farming; vertical farming; perennial agriculture and indigenous foods · Support RD&E for alternatives to petrol and biofuel (biofuel crops will often have to be used for food) · Collect consistent scientific data, publicly and freely available.National Sustainable Food Summit Conference Report 2011 12
  13. 13. SKILLS AND TRAINING · Support farmers and promote farming and agriculture through schools and the tertiary sector to address the growing decline in skilled farmers and food producers · Include the science underlying food production and nutrition in national school curricula · Develop nationally coordinated tertiary programs to support student movement and build expertise · Foster programs that link teachers, researchers and farmers to facilitate technology adoption · Education training needs to be more holistic and integrated, in line with systems thinking · Knowledge of the earth and its systems should be prioritised in education.ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIOURS · Encourage peri-urban and urban farming, including community gardens, to promote interest and knowledge about food and grow local food economies · Recognise that we are part of the ecological system and not separate from it · Value ecological capital · Foster a culture of knowledge sharing, collaboration, innovation and common interest in the community and in business · Take a life-cycle approach to the food system to minimise waste and support a culture that value’s food as a resource. · Foster an emotional connection and respect for the land and the food we eat. If we value Australian goods and we are willing to pay for them, then there is a future in regional Australia. Let’s grow our regional areas.” – Kate Carnell, CEO, Australian Food and Grocery Council We need to transform ourselves. We have become passive, accepting and disempowered – but we need to be food citizens that are empowered and can make choices in relation to our health and future prosperity.” – Bob Phelps, Director, Gene Ethics “We could reduce 50% of any resource use and carbon emissions through behavioral change alone.” – Michael Velders, Sustainability Consultant, ARUPNational Sustainable Food Summit Conference Report 2011 13
  14. 14. HOT TOPICS: FOR FURTHER DISCUSSION · What role does genetically modified food have to play in the current and future system? · To what extent should the externalities of food production – the environmental and social cost – be factored in to food prices? How is this achievable in a global economy? · How does food security relate to climate change policy (carbon tax/ETS) and water policy (Murray Darling)? · What role will organic farming play in the new food system? · What role do biofuels play in a climate of food scarcity? · What does a new economic paradigm look like? What is the “no-growth” model? · Is there any value in looking through other cultural mindsets through these problems? Is the western mindset getting in the way? · How can we apply systems thinking to governance (both corporate and public) and public policy making? · What principles underpinning the economy should we change? · What role does private ownership play in the future? · Do we need more food or better quality food? · What can we do to reinvigorate rural areas? · Have we reached peak phosphorous? · What role should marine parks play in a sustainable fishing system? · How do we raise food prices to factor in environmental cost and still ensure equity?National Sustainable Food Summit Conference Report 2011 14
  15. 15. WHAT’S NEXT? COLLABORATION, INNOVATION, ACTIONCreating a sustainable food system will rely on the conversations we have and the choices we make, today and overthe next decade.Here, some conference delegates share their thoughts on the challenge ahead:“Food security is an issue for Australia. We are not immune to energy prices, to nutrient loss, to lack of water, to varia-tions in climate, to price volatility, to lack of suitable land, to food insecurities including riots in nearby lands, to wast-age post harvest and of course to inappropriate nutrition. That said we have more opportunities than most. How do wechange attitudes to food and its importance? Is this a case of encouraging urban and per--urban food production? Howdo we change land use planning? Is this an enhanced role for COAG or perhaps an Australian food security agency? Atthe moment land use planning is not really driven by any strategy concerning food security. In the future, income fromsustainability matters could well equal that of agricultural production - just try a carbon price that approaches $30 to$50 per tonne and watch land use change. And finally, the biggest opportunity of all: how do we excel at low inputfarming – the only sure path to a high resilience future?” – Prof. Robin J Batterham, Deputy Chair, PMSEIC Expert Working Group on Australia and Food Security“The value we have from (the Summit) is the interaction and the collaboration it has generated – and if we can keep itgoing it will be invaluable. Australia21 will be taking on a Sustainable Food Lab so that we can keep the conversationgoing and bring in other people. The resonance started here today will be continued.” – Richard Hames, Distinguished Professor and Director, Asian Foresight Institute (Thailand)“There’s a long way to go, but this Summit was a shining example of how far we have come. The level of sophisticationin our understanding and conversations about the food system is increasing fast. Three years ago when we said ‘foodsystem’ people scrunched up their faces and said “you mean agriculture?” or “you mean the food industry?” or “youmean food security?” or “you mean nutrition?” People representing all those things were in the room and we seem tobe embracing the complexity of meaning all of these at once – and working together on what we’re doing about it. Theexponential graphs are always the bad things, but there is also exponential potential. This summit gathered a rapidlygrowing network of people ready to put our minds, and hearts, and hands, into the creation of a just and sustainablefood system. Bring it on.” – Kirsten Larsen, Policy Research Manager, Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab“We cannot possibly argue that we don’t know enough about this problem. There is so much information out there.One of the challenges…is about turning analysis into action and that’s the approach we are trying to take with strategicforesight: to link future’s work into strategy. So this is not just talking shop about what might happen; we need to startputting things into place, some building blocks for a future system.” – Liam Egerton, Director, Global Foresight Network“The integration of sustainability considerations will allow the industry to unlock immediate and long-term valuethrough tangible cost savings and resource efficiencies, effectively manage risks, build trust in the community andopen up new markets and sources of innovation – it can enable Australia to achieve a competitive edge in providingsafe, healthy and affordable food and grocery products. The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) observationsindicate that sustainability considerations are increasingly being incorporated into business strategy. Additionally,progress is being made to understand whole of supply chain impacts with the introduction of initiatives that promotethe adoption of supply chain policies and practices that are consistent with sustainable business. The AFGC aims tosupport its members by building their capacity and understanding of the issues. Recognising that this path towardssustainability will take a whole of supply chain approach, the AFGC is engaged with a range of industry stakeholderssuch as retailers, regulators, consumers and suppliers.” – Kate Carnell, CEO, Australian Food and Grocery CouncilNational Sustainable Food Summit Conference Report 2011 15
  16. 16. “I think there’s amazing opportunity in Australian agriculture. I’ve seen all different types of agricultural systems andthis is the country that I want to produce food in. I (attended the Summit) with two very other innovative young farmersand all I can say is we’re committed to producing food as long as you cut a few regulations and let us get out and dowhat we love doing. It’s a great industry to be a part of.” – Annabelle Coppin, Producer, Yarrie Station, WA“When considering food security it’s important to note that Australians are not consuming sufficient nutritious foodto promote health and wellbeing, but are consuming about 35% of our energy intake from energy-dense nutrient poorfoods and drinks, which are relatively cheap, readily available and heavily promoted. These dietary patterns are in-creasing our risk of obesity and chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.In turn, these diseases are contributing to escalating health costs, which are expected to double in the next 15 years,severely impacting on health, social, environmental and economic systems. It is imperative to factor in the true soci-etal costs of poor nutrition when developing national food policy.“ – Dr Amanda Lee, Director, Preventative Health Directorate, Queensland Health“What assumptions have we got in front of us that are no longer valid? What are the pathways that get us from here tothere? Could we totally transform the food production and consumption systems within 10 years? If you don’t think it canbe done, imagine what Steve Jobs (Founder of Apple) did to the music industry, and it didn’t even take him 10 years.” – Michael McCallum, Director, Global Foresight Network“If we all, with the energy and intelligence we have, really collaborate to integrate and transcend the issues beforeus, we can (leave this Summit) knowing that we‘ve created a very important milestone for thinking here, in Australia,which can also be a beacon of hope to the rest of the world.” – Richard Hames, Distinguished Professor and Director, Asian Foresight Institute (Thailand)“Given our history, our skills and our resilient and generous character, Australia should lead the world in the devel-opment of eco-agriculture. This is a shining challenge, both inspiring and well within our powers. I believe it is, oncemore, Australia’s destiny to serve humanity in this way.” – Julian Cribb, Author, ‘The Coming Famine’“We will only do this if we work together. We share this planet so working with strange alliances is going to be key.” – Michael Raupach, Chair PMSEIC Expert Working Group on Energy-Water-Carbon Intersections“The future is not the same as the past.” – Ian Porter, CEO, Alternative Technology AssociationFURTHER READINGVisit for more resources on food security and sustainability.National Sustainable Food Summit Conference Report 2011 16
  17. 17. APPENDIX 1: Break out groupsHere are some of the thoughts and ideas that emerged from the break out group discussions.Where does future value lie?Reconnecting people with the land: Closing the divide between the rural and urban population, consumer and farmer.Increasing knowledge and awareness on where food comes from. Placing an environmental value of the food we eat.Intergenerational equity: Incentives for younger generations of producers and growers.New R&D Models: Stakeholder led. Stakeholders should have more input into what is needed (e.g enhanced invest-ment, education).Greater decentralization of food distribution systems: Create more processing facilities and enhance resilience in thefood processing and distribution system.Transparent, clear and consistent product messaging for consumers: Consistency and integrity of products is neededacross the entire food supply chain. Create a robust and trustworthy national food labelling scheme.Co-operative approach to the National Food Policy: National Food Policy needs the input/leadership of a variety ofstakeholders (not just industry led or top down approach). Should engage with the broader community and localgovernment level to move beyond tokenism. Co-regulatory framework should be applied. Federal Minister for Foodshould sit alongside Minister for Health.Creating markets which recognise the true ‘value’ and cost of food: Food should be driven by value not price. Inter-nalise externalities (i.e. the consumer should pay the ‘real’ cost for food). Introduce a new price paradigm (e.g. Highertax on unhealthy foods, incentives for healthy purchases).Influential positions for women: Significant increase in roles for women in food policy and across boards in everyaspect of the food supply chain.Equity outcomes for all: This includes those outside Australia who rely on our purchases and consumption for theirlivelihoods and development (the interconnectedness challenge). A fair price for both domestic and overseas farmers.Advocacy and Education: Across schools, business, local and global communities and farmers.Community led initiatives: We must engage and empower individuals and communities to become food citizens.A global approach to food policy: Australia cannot isolate itself. Our standards and approaches must connect withglobal settings. We must mix scaling up local production on some products, while sourcing other products from globalsupply chains that we help make sustainable and fair.What are some of the policies, frameworks and business models thatwill enable this shift to occur?Tax Incentives for healthy food choices: Take away disincentives around the environment. Reward consumers withfood vouchers to spend at farmers’ markets, only on nutritional foods. Encourage consumers to produce their ownfood and make farmers’ markets accessible to all. Policy enabling locally produced food for schools and hospitals,food hubs.Resilient distribution models: Make the system less vulnerable to shocks (e.g extending and further developing thethree existing models of food distribution). Decisions may need to be driven by factors other than efficiency/cost(including possible collaboration between the big supermarkets, which is currently not allowed under ACCC anti-collusion policy).National Sustainable Food Summit Conference Report 2011 17
  18. 18. National Labelling Framework: A robust and trustworthy national framework is needed. Information on products mayinclude: carbon and water footprints; a nutrient density scorecard to help consumers make better food choices; label-ling to distinguish exported from locally produced foods.Global Sustainability Standard for food: Global standardised index for health, environmental impact and resourceuse, applicable to all food products. Encourages the sharing of resources and knowledge across all areas. AustralianStandard with global links with a comparable matrix and third party verification.Co-operative National Food Policy Framework: Aggregated model and shared understanding of systems complexity.This will allow for innovation and nimbleness by sharing resources and knowledge across government departmentsand portfolios.Equitable Food Sourcing Policy: Need to strike a balance between local and internationally sourced foods. Both canco-exist and are sustainable.Review of Trade Policy: Policy has been largely driven by market economy of free trade – this needs to be challenged.It should promote sustainability of Australia’s food systems globally. Applies to both domestic and imported food.‘Fair Price’ framework for producers: Fair prices for producers can be achieved without necessarily increasing costsfor consumers through industry champions, leadership, scale. Price should be dictated by cooperatives (milk for ex-ample). All prices from other agents then decided by this price. Possible price margin movement along the value chain,with more money going to the farmers and without a significant impact on consumers. Must be led by business andcommunity for the benefit of producers and then let government catch up.Policy on ‘true cost’ of food: (i.e. fair to farmers, sustainable land practice, etc). True cost will likely increase prices,which may hurt those vulnerable, but we will need to find other ways to compensate for that (i.e. similar to Carbon Taxdiscussions on compensation).New Educational Frameworks: Mandatory inclusion of food and nutrition in school curriculum and food literacy atall levels of education. Education initiatives should be supported by community initiatives and ‘healthy eating’ cam-paigns. Make eating healthy fun (eg. Junior Masterchef). Policy also introduced to limit ‘junk food advertising’ (similarto smoking model).Skills and Education for food industry: Support marketing training for farmers and up skill professionals in sustain-able practices across the supply chain.National Food Waste Policy: Co-operative approach to recycling waste supported by legislation. Policy should includerecycling of nutrients back into the food system (e.g all sewerage waste composted and cycled back to food produc-tion); humanure (composting human waste) supported by regulation; a ban on organic waste in landfill (food andpaper); incentives to farmers for turning compost into soil carbon. Farmers are inherently innovative greenies. We aspire to be go beyond sustainability. We want to be regenerative: we want our triple bottom line to be increasing every year.” – Sam Archer, Producer, Gundagai If you want an example of systems thinking, try running a broad acre farm.” – Mick Keogh, Executive Director, Australian Farm InstituteNational Sustainable Food Summit Conference Report 2011 18
  19. 19. APPENDIX 2: List of organisations present at the SummitA Department of Health (VIC)Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Department of Innovation, Industry, Science & ResearchEconomics and Sciences Department of Premier and CabinetActionAid Australia Department of Primary Industries (VIC)Australian Food and Grocery Council (Sponsor) Department of Sustainability and Environment (VIC)Agrifood Skills Australia Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water,Australian Graduate School Management Population and CommunitiesAmcor Limited Department of Agriculture and Food (WA)Arid Lands Environment Centre Dewalla FarmsARUP Dieticians Association of AustraliaAsian Foresight Institute Dietary Guidelines CommitteeAlternative Technology Association Diversicon Environmental FoundationAustralia InstituteAustralian Egg Corporation EAustralian Food Sovereignty Alliance East Pilbara Cattle CompanyAustralian Industry Group Echo Hills Farming CompanyAustralian Institute for Food Science & Technology ECO-BuyAustralian Lot Feeders’ Association EcoscapeAustralian Red Cross Ecourbia NetworkAustralian Water Engineering Edge Environment Edge Land PlanningB Elanco Animal HealthBarwon Regional Waste Management Group Enterprise ConnectBECA Pty Ltd EPA VictoriaBeyond Zero EmissionsBiological Farmers of Australia FBioNEW Fairtrade Australia & New ZealandBond University Fisheries Research and Development CorporationBulla Dairy Food FitzGerald ProductionsBungawurra Pastoral Company Fonterra Food Connect FoundationC Food LegalCattle Council FoodbankCentral West Group Apprentices FoodMatters Consulting Pty LtdCentre for Appropriate Technology Foresight Nutrition & DieteticsCentre for Design, RMIT University Forest Stewardship CouncilCHEP Equipment Pooling SystemsCiti Investment Research GCity of Casey Gene EthicsCity of Melbourne Global Foresight NetworkColes Global Permablitz MovementCouncil of Australian Postgraduate Associations Global Research: IBM R&D Lab MelbourneCSIRO Go Grains Health & Nutrition LtdCultivating Community Good Weekend (Sydney Morning Herald) Gordon TafeD Green Board / Street Book IncorporatedDepartment of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry GreenpeaceDairy Australia GrowcomDairy Food Safety VictoriaDeakin University HDepartment of Employment, Economic Development Healthy Food Magazineand Innovation (QLD) Heart FoundationDepartment of Health Horticultural Skills AustraliaDepartment of Health & Ageing Horticulture Australia LtdDepartment of Health and Human Services Hume City CouncilNational Sustainable Food Summit Conference Report 2011 19
  20. 20. I Planet CircusIBM PMSEICIndustry & Investment NSW PollinateInnerCircle Works Primary Industries & Resources (SA)Institute for Creative Industries and Innovation Professional Nutrition ServicesInstitute for Sustainable Futures (UTS)Integralevolution QISEAL Alliance QLD Farmers Federation Queensland HealthJ Queensland University of TechnologyJames Cook UniversityJulian Cribb & Associates R Red Lantern food groupK Regional Development AustraliaKathleen Davies Regional Development VictoriaKnox City Council Rig Network/ Southern Exchange RMITL Rosemary Stanton Pty LtdLandshare Australia Rural Industries Research + Development CorporationLion Nathan National Foods SM SA HealthMadeleine Write & Co Sandy Robinson & AssociatesMBDenergy Ltd SanitariumMetcash Seasol International Pty LtdMinistry of Agriculture and Forestry, (New Zealand) Second BiteMeat and Livestock Australia (MLA) Severn Park MerinosMoonee Valley City Council Simplot Australia Pty LtdMoreton Bay College Southern Cross UniversityMornington Peninsular Shire Spade LandscapesMOSS Springbank EcosystemsMountain Creek Farm Surf Coast ShireMelbourne Sustainable Society Institute (Melbourne Sustainability VictoriaUniversity) Sustainable Business Australia Suzie CoulstonNNAB Agribusiness TNational Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health Tasmanian Farmers’ and Graziers AssociationNational Farmers Federation Tasmanian Food Security CouncilNational Food Policy Working Group Teys BrothersNational Resources Commission The AgeNet Balance The Australian Farm InstituteNorth Coast Institute TAFE The Biogenesys ProjectNSW Farmers’ Association The Climate Institute The Goods UnlimitedO The Mulloon InstituteObject Consulting The University of MelbourneOceanWatch Australia The Water and Carbon GroupOffice of the Chief Scientist Toulon Pastoral CompanyOgilvy Earth Townsville Public Health UnitOPS Asia Pacific Pty Ltd TQA AustraliaOuter East Health and Community Alliance Trafalgar StationOxfam AustraliaOxford University (UK) UOzHarvest Uniting Church, Australia University of CanberraP University of QueenslandPe Australasia University of Technology SydneyPermaculture Design University of WollongongNational Sustainable Food Summit Conference Report 2011 20
  21. 21. VVictorian Eco-Innovation LabVicHealthVicRelief FoodbankVictorian Farmers’ FederationVictorian Farmers’ FederationVictorian Farmers’ Market AssociationVictorian Food Industry Training BoardVictorian Local Government AssociationVictorian Organic Industry CommitteeWWaite Research InstituteWentworth Group of Concerned ScientistsWestern Australian Farmers’ FederationWiley & CoWilmot Cattle CompanyWorld Wildlife FundYYarallahYarrock Farms / Yarrock OilsYaubulaNational Sustainable Food Summit Conference Report 2011 21