I’ve had a huge break from posting here, and for those who have stuck around, I want to say a big thank you! You’ll be pleased to know, that despite the lack of content, I’ve been spending my time reflecting on the direction to take the blog and I will be posting here more regularly moving forward.
As you know, the blog has focused a lot on sharing stories and information about Australia’s food system. I’ve posted many success stories; along with discussing many of the issues, highlighting its hugely industrialised and market driven nature. I’ve shared how the food system provides us with an abundance of cheap food, alongside unprecedented levels of diet-related chronic diseases. How intensive food production has caused significant environmental damage, including biodiversity loss, decreasing soil quality and water stress. And how there is an imbalance of power within the food system, often resulting in companies abusing their dominant position at the expense of those with less power and control, especially farmers and consumers.
The overall aim initially, was to increase awareness of these issues (among the many others that we experience), and in turn, create a meaningful shift in food systems change. At the same time, I started to look inwards, and think about how much this awareness raising was resulting in a change in my own behaviour. I’ll be really honest here and say that even though I had all this information, and held strong values about what was important to me, I was putting things like convenience and price ahead of these. I was thinking to myself,
“If I’m struggling to change my own behaviour, then how can I expect others to do so?”
You’ll be pleased to know however, that over the past 12 months I have changed where I source my fruit and vegetables from and I’ve written a three-part blog post on this detailing the journey from farm to fork, which will follow shortly.
Asking individuals to vote with their dollar is just one of the ways in which we can influence change. It’s important though, to acknowledge here that the environment in which we live doesn’t make it easy for people to always make the right choices. As I pointed out above, individual behaviour change can be tricky, especially when we’re surrounded by an array of food choices that are heavily marketed to us, that taste good, that are extremely convenient, and also affordable. Especially when most of us are likely to have easy access to a supermarket which provides us with all our food needs (and more) in a convenient one stop shop. As consumers, we really have a limited amount of control in the food system. When I talk about control, I mean our ability to knowingly and intentionally change the status quo of the industrialised food system.
It’s then that I had my light bulb moment. What can people do to regain some control and create the food system that they want? I think if you’ve found your way to this blog you’re likely looking for those answers. You want to know what the alternative is to the current industrialised food system. You want to know what you can do in your home, your community, city, or even country to facilitate a change in the food system. You want to know how to put some of the control back into your hands. The hands of everyday people. Away from the corporates, the multinationals and big businesses who currently dominate the food system.
So from now on I’m going to share practical examples of what you can do to influence change in your home, neighbourhood and community, and even at a national level. I’ll share examples of what people can, and are doing to influence food systems change, and ultimately regain some control. Therefore the aim of this blog shifts from purely raising awareness, to encouraging and guiding you to embark on a journey from a passive consumer to becoming an active food citizen. For some, you may just be starting out on this journey. For others, you may be well on your way. Wherever you are in your journey, my hope is that Our Food System helps to guide your path to creating a food system that you want. A food system that priorities health and wellbeing; one that nurtures and protects the environment; one where everyone has access to nutritious and affordable food; one that pays their farmers fairly, one that puts people ahead of profits.
You may not realise it now, but you have the power to influence change. Collectively, we are greater than the sum of our parts and together; we can influence change to create Our Food System.