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Those of us who love food and the farmers that produce it know that the global food system is dysfunctional and in desperate need of reform globally, nationally and regionally. Fortunately there is a groundswell of committed grassroots organisations and individuals advocating for a better way to farm and eat. Yet, until very recently, intergovernmental bodies such as the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN have excluded input from NGOs and civil society on agriculture, food security and nutrition policies.

The Civil Society Mechanism was established in 2010 to give civil societies a voice in important international decision-making processes that affect growers and eaters around the world.

So why is it important that Australian civil society has a delegate at the upcoming Committee on World Food Security and the Civil Society Forum in Rome this October?

Australia faces unique food security issues. To name a few.......the farmer suicide rate is double the national average; 76 farmers a week are walking off the land and not being replaced; 70% of farms are only viable due to non-core business income (off-farm income); we have only one tomato cannery left in Australia and whole orchards are being abandoned and bulldozed; farm bank debts are record highs; over 1 million Australians are food insecure; and land/water grabbing and coal seam gas mining on prime land are rife. The "free" trade agenda is largely to blame for this situation, and yet the government and opposition offer more of the same - increased free trade and reduced structural barriers to trade which will make the systemic dysfunctions worse for all who eat. It is also important to support developing countries voice their own concerns, rather than relying on our government's patronising gloss, spin and blackmail in the form of "aid for trade."

As an advocate of food sovereignty and farmers rights, Michael Croft (President of the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance) is ideally positioned to represent Australia at the Civil Society Mechanism. However, he can't do it on his own and needs our support.

We need to challenge the 'expert' opinions and vested interests that argue genetically modified crops will feed the world and give us more nutritious and sustainable food systems.

So please contribute to ensuring that an Australian delegate can contribute to the voices of non-corporatised farmers and NGOs in global agriculture, food security and nutrition policies and action!

Some Of My Previous Work

Michael Croft is already an active contributor to the Civil Society Mechanism on International Food Security and Nutrition (FAO) in Rome and is uniquely placed to know first-hand what is going on in the agricultural-based civil society sector, having attended the recent International Conference of La Via Campesina in Jakarta (self-funded). He works full time as an unpaid food system advocate for the common good and has played a critical role in the development of the People's Food Plan in his role as president of the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance. He is a first generation farmer and operates Mountain Creek Farm, a vertically-integrated, value-adding, field-to-fork operation that aims to bridge the city-country divide. Passionate about biological farming, diversity and resilient food systems, he walks the talk of promoting eating as an agricultural and ecological act. Michael is also a director of several industry organisations, a leader in the Slow Food movement and a fellow of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation. Michael presents papers on food systems at many national and international conferences, is on the advisory team of the USA based www.foodtank.org.

The Challenges

The risk is quite simply burn out.

Civil society organisation for better food and farming is poorly poorly represented and funded in national policy in Australia. The voice of the people has been consistently ignored by federal and state governments, and self-funded individuals such as Michael Croft (and many others) have been doggedly working with farmers and food-based community organisations to ensure their interests are represented.

It's not sustainable for individuals such as Michael to continue these battles to ensure fair representation of civil society at the highest level without material support from the community.
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on 14th Oct 2013 at 1:00pm. The payment portal is closed now.
A$20 +a personal email of thanks
4 Chosen | Unlimited AvailableEst. delivery is November 2013
A$100 +a personal email of thanks and a video report of the proceedings
8 Chosen | 17 AvailableEst. delivery is November 2013
A$500 +A personal presentation and update from Michael Croft - travel to some locations by negotiation
1 Chosen | 9 AvailableEst. delivery is December 2013