14 January 2010

Food Miles.

Firstly - we are extremely elated that Peter Spencer has come down from his wind tower and is receiving medical care. Peter and his army of supporters have vowed to continue the fight, and Australia First stands staunchly by his, and all Australian Farmers in this struggle.

It is with this pledge in mind that we offer the following information:
‘Food miles’ is a term used to describe the transport distance travelled by food products between production and consumption. It is gaining support in the UK and interest world-wide as responsible citizens seek methods of reducing unecessary consumption of fossil fuels and other environmentally degrading behaviours.

If governments are truly convinced of the need to reduce CO2 emissions they would be implementing measures to promote the reduction of food miles, amongst other things; rather than forcing our farmers to leave weeds growing on their land instead of using it for responsible agriculture! See the article on Peter Spencer below.

Australia First Party is not convinced, after a comprehensive review (by a scientific advisory group) of the research upon which the International Panel on Climate Change has based its recommendations, that there is an accurate trend of warming OR that any warming is due significantly to human activities. We do, however, believe it is necessary to reduce unecessary destruction of our environment.

A report has been compiled by CERES (the Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies, pronounced ‘series’) which is an internationally recognised model of a sustainable society located in Melbourne, Australia. CERES shares its name with the Roman Goddess for agriculture (further information is available here http://www.ceres.org.au/whatisceres ) . The purpose of their study was to contribute some preliminary research to encourage Australian dialogue on the growing issues of sustainability within our food systems and we find it an exciting opportunity to do just that!

CERES collected data to establish food miles and greenhouse gas emissions estimates for a typical food basket in Victoria. The total distance of the road transportation of the produce in the food basket was 21,073 km, almost the same as the distance around Australia’s coastline (25,760 km). The total distance for all transportation of the food basket was 70,803 km, which is equivalent to travelling nearly twice around the circumference of the Earth (40,072 km), or travelling around Australia's coastline three times.

The total greenhouse gas emissions estimate for all food trucks transporting all road-transported food items, over the total road transport distance, was 16, 989 tonnes (t) CO2–e. If all the food trucks were transporting all food items on the same day, the emissions from this one day of transportation (16, 989 t CO2–e), is equivalent to 4,247 cars driving for one year.

The resulting total food miles and greenhouse gas emissions, from this preliminary study, clearly indicate the need for Australia to respond accurately to the role our current food system plays within the issues of climate change and peak oil.

One such response involves education and empowerment of consumers in addressing these issues.

Further information on the report can be found here:

What can you do immediately to help reduce food miles?

• Buy from farmers’ markets. See: www.farmersmarkets.org.au
• Demand your grocer stock Australian grown produce or else just shop elsewhere. For instance, did you know that the only truly Australian grown and owned tea is now Madurah in northern NSW. Nerada is still grown in Nth QLD but it is now owned by an Indian Company.
• Spread the word to all you know and encourage them to do likewise.
Please send comments and suggestions for furthering this information and cause to afpqld@hotmail.com
This is YOUR nation and Australia First is a party for YOUR ideas to be integrated.

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