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Kathy McConell Food Alliance Coordinator. Biggest challenges: Climate change Food and water. Environment Economic Equity Health. Why does food matter?. Food is responsible for 37% of Victorian footprint. Water, peak oil, biodiversity, climate change will challenge food system capacity.

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Kathy McConell Food Alliance Coordinator

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Kathy McConellFood Alliance Coordinator

Biggest challenges:Climate change Food and water

  • Environment

  • Economic

  • Equity

  • Health

Why does food matter?

Food is responsible for 37% of Victorian footprint

Water, peak oil, biodiversity, climate change will challenge food system capacity

Environment pressure

  • Loss of agricultural land

  • Soil degradation

  • Food waste

  • Dependence of food system on fossil fuels

  • GHG emissions

  • Increasing extreme weather events

  • Increased demand for meat and dairy and more food generally

More sustainability pressures

  • Food system represents 15% ($36.2 billion) of Victoria’s gross value added

  • Employs 14% (366,000 people) of the workforce; 210,000 employed in Melbourne

    Reference: SGS Economics and Planning Pt, 2009, Economic Significance of the Food Sector, Latrobe University, Melbourne


  • Most farms are small

  • Most have a turnover of less than $50,000 annually

  • Only 8% of farms turn over more than $350,000 annually

Economic pressures

Source: DAFF, 2013

Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services.

United Nations, 1948-12-10

The right to food is the right to have physical and economic access at all times to sufficient, adequate and culturally acceptable food that is produced and consumed sustainably, preserving access to food for future generations.

Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Special Rapporteur on the right to food’s Final Report, 24 Jan 2014

Equity: Food is a Human Right

  • In Victoria more than one in 20 persons surveyed in 2012 experienced food insecurity (that is, they had run out of food at least once and been unable to afford to buy more) in the previous 12 months

  • Poor neighbourhoods more exposed to unhealthy foods: up to 2.5 times the exposure to fast food outlets

  • Increasing cost of healthy foods with cheaper foods being energy dense and nutrient poor

  • At greater risk for obesity: 20–40% higher in individuals who are food insecure

Food Security

  • In Australia, the annual economic cost of diet-related chronic disease in terms of health care is approximately $6 billion (National Health and Medical Research Council 2003)

  • This represents a cost to Victoria of approximately $1.25 billion per year

  • Only 7% of Victorians meet the recommended healthy eating guidelines for both fruit and vegetable consumption

  • Food is responsible for up to16% of the burden of disease


Diet is biggest burden of disease

  • Multifactorial

  • Systems approach: paddock to plate

  • Multisectoral/


  • Multistrategic

Determinants of Food Security/Healthy Eating

Vision is a world where:

  • healthy, sustainable food is the easy and affordable choice

  • soil, rivers and biodiversity are protected for our children and future generations

  • farmers, workers, citizens and animals are treated fairly and ethically


  • Increase levels of food literacy

  • Support the emergence of a connected food system

  • Grow regional food economies

  • Protect prime farmland


  • work together with local governments and other stakeholders to build strong and connected local food communities; we provide the coordination, facilitation and some leadership

  • integrated approach seeking multiple outcomes

  • evidence informed

    Funded by VicHealth and Lord Mayors Charitable Foundation; hosted by Deakin University

Food Alliance

  • Connecting people

  • Creating and sharing information

  • Capacity building

  • Facilitating action

  • Proposing policy solutions

Food Alliance role: coordination and leadership

Members of this Network will:

  • form part of and be leading players in a burgeoning national and global healthy, sustainable and fair food movement

  • connect online with others around the country and internationally attend events where experience and knowledge will be shared and discussed

  • access mentoring, advice and support in the profiling of the of local food systems, and

  • access support for dev’t, monitoring and eval food strategies, action plans and programs

Urban and Regional Food Network


  • There is a gap between the amounts of some fruits and vegetables produced in Australia and the amounts required to meet nutritional needs

  • Modelling studies suggest future vulnerability

  • National production of some vegetables has declined

  • The area of land planted to vegetables has decreased

  • The number of vegetable farmers is falling  

Australia’s fruit & veg supply is vulnerable

Melbourne’s food bowl:Urban fringe and Casey-Cardinia

Werribee Sth and Morn Peninsula

  • Create a permanent Urban Growth BoundaryComprehensively map fertile farmland around the city fringe so that it can be protected

  • Create a ‘high value agricultural overlay’

  • Give the highest levels of protection to the fertile farmland around the Eastern and Western Water Treatment Plants 

To protect Melbourne’s Foodbowl:

  • Advocate

  • Agreed principles

  • Definitions and common language

  • Framework for policy and leg changes

  • Basis to build tools

Network: Charter purpose

  • Ecology: Our food system should  actively maintain the health and integrity of the natural resources on which it depends, wherever possible seeking enhance the health of existing ecosystems and maintain biodiversity

  • Economics: Our food system should support, create and sustain local long-term employment, build a resilient local food industry, and underpin local livelihoods

  • Politics: Governments and organisations should proactively engage with communities to inform policy, planning and legislative actions relating to land-use, food security, health and wellbeing, and urban and regional livelihoods

  • Culture: Our food system should embrace the diverse, cultural significance of food, recognizing its central role in promoting social cohesion, life-long and intergeneration learning, and community wellbeing

Charter: high level principles

  • Holistic approach

  • Provides terms of approach

  • Assists to determine critical issues

  • Distils tensions and competing issues

  • Provides feedback and monitoring and comparison

Framework to support communities to enact change

Food Profiling Assessment Tool

City food policies

Integrating food system obj into policies

  • Provide leadership and co-ordinate regional strategies targeting determinants of food insecurity

  • Influence land-use planning (to support local food production in both urban and peri-urban regions)

  • Support opportunities to grow food: gardens, farms, orchards

  • Optimise public transport systems; outlets within walking and cycling distance

  • Encourage reduced distance between food production and consumption (local food procurement, CSAs, farmers markets)

  • Create infrastructure and education on food waste management

  • Nurture citizen based groups

  • Support food celebrations that enhance social inclusion and community capacity building

  • Encourage all levels of government to respond to food insecurity

  • Provide information, financial and physical resources

Local Gov’ts role

Kathy McConell

9244 3802



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