Since the Green revolution, the way we consume and produce food has dramatically transformed. Technological and scientific advances have resulted in the ability to mass produce and transport food. While the benefits from our agricultural innovations cannot be ignored, the consequences of the adjacent unsustainable practices result in large-scale negative environmental impacts. With food accounting for over 25 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, 50 per cent of the world’s habitable land and consuming 70 per cent of our global freshwater, being conscious of our consumption and agricultural systems in the midst of the climate crisis is critical.
Below are resource links to key organisations doing vital work navigating the challenges in this rapidly evolving sector, as well as educational materials, compartmentalised into key areas.
Where Our Food Comes From
With the luxury of food readily available from supermarket shelves, there is dangerous detachment from its processes and impacts.
From Paddock to Plate – Educational resources that educate people about food and fibre production in Australia with a highlight on informing youth running the Paddock to Plate school program.
ESRI Australia Story Map – Answering the question at the supermarket about where Australia import’s their food from? Explore the interactive map for both processed and unprocessed imports, click on a country and expose the types of food imported including the top 10 countries of import priority.
Agrifutures – Better understand the process from farm to retail through research by Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation in how food prices are determined in Australia.
Why It Matters
Food security and safety are at great risk from the impacts of climate change such as changing weather patterns, crop yields and sea level rise. As a basic human need, we need to consider the impacts and conduct of food production, distribution, and consumption for their significant impacts on the environment, economy, and society.
Climate Nexus – Dedicated to changing the conversation on climate change and clean energy, discovering key climate issues surrounding food, with a fantastic resource on the significant impacts of animal agriculture.
National Geographic – World renowned source of scientifically founded information across environmental matters, find a summary of key ecological impacts from our modifications and industrialisation in our agricultural systems.
Australian Institute of Family Studies – Certain groups in Australia are more susceptible to food insecurity such as those in single-parent households and low-income earners. Understand the variation in how these matters impact our diverse population and how the AIFS can help support these groups.
Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences – The science and economics research division of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. Their insights report on:
Further insights and understanding of the government’s perspective and structure of the industry can be found.
Innovative practices focusing on sustainable alternatives to current unsustainable agricultural systems are emerging and at the forefront of our agricultural futures. These practices can help to adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change on agriculture, by improving the resilience of crops to extreme weather events and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the sector in addition to many other benefits. Discover groups working in this space, further information on developments and how you or someone in the sector could get involved.
Food Tank – An information hub aiming to promote sustainable food systems and food justice by raising awareness and providing information and resources on sustainable farming practices. Food Tank publishes research, articles, and videos to learn more about current news and solutions emerging in this space.
Agricultural Innovation Australia – an organisation that aims to drive innovation and productivity in the Australian agricultural sector with a focus on research and development projects and providing support to farmers, researchers, and businesses to help them adopt new technologies and practices. Find current and updated news in these areas on their news page.
Sustain – An organisation aiming to raise awareness about the environmental and social impacts of food production and consumption, and to promote the adoption of sustainable farming practices, with a focus on the Australian food system. You can find information, resources, and support for farmers, consumers, and other stakeholders in the food system, as well as the capacity to engage in advocacy to promote sustainable food systems.
The Union of Concerned Scientists – A non-profit organisation that works to promote the responsible use of science in addressing environmental and public health issues. Here you can find a comprehensive page on the topic of sustainable agriculture providing information and resources on sustainable agriculture practices and their benefits for farmers, the environment, and society.
The Aboriginal Carbon Foundation – An organization that works to support and empower Indigenous communities to participate in carbon farming and other land management activities that promote environmental sustainability and help to mitigate the effects of climate change. Find tools, resources and educational materials on education on carbon farming and related topics.
Waste and Inequity
In our consumeristic society, food waste is a prevalent issue with overproduction, overconsumption and over-packaging. Further, consumerism drives the demand for an abundance of food options, leading to overproduction and over-purchasing by individuals, which in turn leads to more food being thrown away at the consumer level. Despite our excess, inequity in food access is a significant problem for certain groups in society. Discover groups working in challenging these practices and systems and groups you can participate in.
Local Food Connect – an organization aiming to connect people with local food producers and promote sustainable food systems. The page provides a list of local food justice organizations in Australia that you can connect with. These organizations work to promote access to healthy, culturally appropriate and affordable food for all members of the community. Some of the organizations listed on the page include:
These organizations offer a variety of services such as food banks, community gardens, nutrition education and food rescue programs.
Second Bite – Working to redistribute surplus fresh food to people in need. Their mission is to combat food insecurity and waste by recovering surplus food from grocery stores, supermarkets, and other food outlets and distributing it to people experiencing food insecurity through partnerships with over 2,000 community organizations such as shelters, soup kitchens, and schools. They also work with community organizations to provide education and training on food waste reduction, healthy eating and cooking.
Fareshare – FareShare’s origins began in Melbourne in 2000 when a pastry chef was inspired to take action on food waste and hunger. Aiming to reduce food waste and provide healthy meals for people who need them, interstate groups offer the opportunity to help others and get involved in multifaceted aspects of their mission.