Sustainable food systems restore and strengthen ecological systems, empower us all to realise our right to a full and healthy diet and enable food producers and consumers to determine what food they produce and eat, and how.
Yet our food system is unsustainable in all these ways. We are using non-renewable, polluting resources to produce food, which is degrading land and water systems. More than 2.5 million Australians are living in poverty, with many unable to access enough healthy food and experiencing diet-related chronic disease. And a concentration of power in our food supply chains is both undermining sustainable food systems and the ability of food producers and consumers to turn this situation around.
Our food system is also contributing significantly to climate change through greenhouse gas emissions on-farm and throughout the supply chain, and is one of the most severely affected systems, with agricultural production impacted by droughts, reduced rainfall and extreme weather.
While our food system is creating and suffering from many environmental challenges, it is an exciting arena for change. We can transform our food system, and it can underpin the critical goal of zero net emissions by 2050 — all while restoring ecological systems and biodiversity, ending hunger and empowering inclusive communities and economies for a sustainable future.
Our challenge is to ensure as many farmers as possible — as quickly as possible — adopt sustainable farming practices and regenerative systems throughout Australia. We need to build and strengthen values-based supply chains where farmers and allies collaborate to attain scale as well as a viable alternative to the current export- and profit-driven system serving and dominated by the interests of a few. We must make major changes to how we understand food security and what we eat to end hunger while transforming our food system to regenerate ecosystems. And we need to engage with and galvanise the food systems movement, which is essential for building the constituency for change.