To Market, to Market to Buy Food Fresh and Wholesome and Local 2012

To market, to market to buy food fresh and wholesome and local

The Age – Date: April 06 2012

THE supermarket wars have spurred renewed effort to rethink our food supply chain and foster less centralised, local alternatives such as food hubs and growers’ markets.

Intense discounting by our major supermarkets may end up putting farmers out of business, right when we need them most. There’s pain everywhere, with grocery wholesaler Metcash chief executive Andrew Reitzer this week warning the traditional, independent corner shop has ”no chance in the future”.

Julian Cribb, author of The Coming Famine, frames the challenge for farmers this way: over the next 50 years they must double food supply to feed a global population of 10 billion and do it while using half the water, less available agricultural land, depleted soils, no fossil fuels, scarce fertilisers and chemicals, amid spreading disease and pests, and under the hammer of climate change.

Cribb, former journalist and CSIRO science communicator, was a keynote speaker at this week’s second national sustainable food summit in Sydney, where he said that if supermarkets continued to punish farmers by driving down commodity prices, much food in future may be grown artificially in factories rather than on farms.

Food Connect’s model has been replicated 15 times around the country and has now led to Pekin forming the Australian Food Hubs Network, working with Melbourne University’s Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab. . .