What will food insecurity look like?
People in the SAGE community talk a lot about food security. It’s our raison d'être! We’re trying to build a robust local food system with plenty of commercial growers, farmers markets, backyard growers and people committed to buying and eating locally produced food. We believe this will ensure our community is ‘food secure’ and resilient. But have you really thought about what food insecurity will look like in 20 years?
There are scientists predicting that if climate change continues in its current trajectory, global temperatures will rise by 2 degrees by about 2043. That’s in 20 years.
If this eventuates, on the other side of the world, at 2 degrees, America’s Midwest and primary food basin will be flooded. America’s West and Mexico, their second and third food basins, and the rest of Central America and South America will be too dry to produce food. Africa and South Asia will be too dry. Some of China will be flooded and other parts will be in prolonged drought. Some of Australia’s food growing regions will be flooded, and some will be in drought.
There will be unthinkable food shortages around the globe.
When food does make it to our corporate food distribution centres from either production within Australia or imports, we can expect significant food shortages and unthinkable prices.
Ask yourself this, if you were a corporate Sydney based food distributor with limited supply and crippling fuel costs, would you distribute food outside of a hungry and wealthy Sydney? Would it cross your mind to transport your limited supply 4 hours’ drive south to a small town called Moruya?
We hope this never happens, but just in case some scientists are right, this is why SAGE supports local producers, and runs a Farmers Market and a market gardening training facility at Stepping Stone Farm to increase the number of commercial market gardeners. It’s why we advocate to the government about food security plans and run education programs to encourage sustainable small scale and backyard food growing, and encourage food sharing.
We understand the frustrations that consumers and growers experience around the peaks and troughs of local supply and demand. A robust local food system takes many years to grow – it can’t suddenly be turned on when there’s a crisis somewhere, we must be prepared, and we must prepare now so we’re ready. Just in case.
If you’re not growing veggies yet, please plant something in your backyard this week, even if it’s just parsley and kale (anyone can grow these!) so it becomes part of your everyday life to grow food. Plant a food tree if you can! Show your children that growing food is part of everyday life, find out where local food comes from at a farmers’ market where you can meet your growers. Drive past their farms. Get to know your growers (they have the best recipe tips!) and learn how to cook food in season.
And please support the people who grow food for us locally. Our commercial market gardeners, our farmers, our small-scale agricultural enterprises because they are our community’s food future.
Everyone can contribute to building a secure local food system. What will you do today?
Shani Keane, a local grower from Left Field Farm and Stepping Stone Farm, and a regular seller at the SAGE Farmers Market, attended this year’s Deep Winter Agrarian Gathering.
Shani kindly provided an interesting report for SAGE readers, including the Deep Winter Statement which was developed following consultation with the gathering.
President’s report from Cath Reilly
Treasurer’s report from Jan Maitland
Stepping Stone Farm report from Mark Barraclough
Farmers Market report from Peter Heyward
Farmers representative report from Eliza Cannon
Education and Events report from Sandra Makdessi
Community food report from Alda Rudzis
Food share report from Alda Rudzis
SAGE Garden report from Stuart Whitelaw (on behalf of Adrian Cram and Wendy Jones)