Thursday, December 6, 2012

The People's Food Plan




In October 2012, a few of us from the Moreland Food Gardens Network (MFGN) got together to discuss the People's Food Plan and explore ways in which we could create a fair, sustainable and resilient food system.   




What's the People's Food Plan?
The process for establishing the People's Food Plan (PFP) was initiated by the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA) in response to concerns around the content of the National Food Plan Green Paper. In an earlier post we mentioned some of the issues highlighted by AFSA members regarding the problematic assumptions in the Federal government's Green Paper.  

The People's Food Plan is a social movement, call for action, a participatory & democratic conversation that aims to create a fair and healthy food system.  PFP aims to include all Australians, unlike the National Food Plan which seems to benefit large agri-business & retailing corporations!


For more information about the People's Food Plan & how to get involved, visit AFSA's webpage.


Our story...

We hosted our first PFP conversation over a Food Swap.  The evening was hosted for MFGN members by Merri Community Health Services & CERES Environmental Park with support from AFSA.  We explored some of the issues outlined in the People’s Food Plan discussion document, identified policy ideas and collated people’s food stories and visions for a local food system.  

The Food Swap table was filled with delicious produce from people’s gardens.  This sparked a lively conversation around food, health, families and community.  Some of the produce that crossed the table included; calendula petals, kaffir lime leaf, “worm wine”, tarragon, rocket, red mustard leaf, bronze fennel, horse radish leaf, French sorrel, heartsease viola, nasturtium flowers and leaves, silverbeet & preserves.  We shared stories of childhood memories, growing food with our parents and grandparents, connecting with nature and creating change within our communities through the simple act of growing food.  Below is a quote from one of our members:

 “I became a gardener when I became a mother, the two are very connected for me.  8 years later I am now sharing our family’s connection to gardens/seasons/nature/food with our community.  We belong to a number of food coops, have begun a vegetable garden at our local school and meet our neighbours often via food and gardens”

Many themes emerged from our conversation which highlighted a need for a variety of strategies required to support a local food system and build community resilience; these include:
- Integrated Council policies & frameworks to support local food projects
- Productive green infrastructure, including urban orchards and food forests
- Establishing networks to enable peer support and meaningful social action
- Building community capacity to support all residents
- Establishing social enterprises and food co-ops


We also talked about how we can get better at including disadvantaged & vulnerable groups   into new or existing local food projects.  So we established scenarios & visions for the future.  There is still a lot of work to be done!  However, we found that this was a great way to inform future projects for MFGN & our advocacy agenda for 2013.

So what's next?
We collated our feedback and sent it to AFSA to incorporate into a revised PFP discussion document.  This document will be launched around the country this month (Dec 2012).  We also plan to take part in Stage 4 of the PFP consultation which aims to "broaden and deepen the public engagement with the revised People’s Food Plan discussion document, through the formation of working groups on specific issues, the writing of background papers to support the People’s Food Plan proposals, and the holding of further public forums and kitchen table talks February – July 2013" (as described by AFSA).  

Our next PFP event will be open to the public & we look forward to having you onboard... so stay tuned!

Get involved!
In the meantime, please share our video & get the word out about the People's Food Plan. If you would like to join our next PFP event, we'd love to hear from you - drop us a line on morelandfoodgardensnetwork[at]gmail.com or if you'd like to host your own PFP conversation in your neighbourhood, please get involved directly through AFSA.
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