“Put simply, if we fix our food, we can fix people and planet. If we carry on as we are doing today, it will end badly for both. What is so incredibly exciting is that we know how to transform global agriculture from the planet’s number one threat, to the number one hero.” (Johan Rockström, 3 Oct 2020) 

In a recent ABC Science Show podcast Johan Rockström explained how global agriculture is damaging the natural environment. It accounts for one quarter of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere; over-uses fertilisers, herbicides and insecticides which accumulate in the environment and has taken over 50% of earth’s land mass for grazing or food growing. Changes are needed if we are to halt deforestation and biodiversity loss and keep below a 1.5°C rise in temperature. Johan advocates for increased use of sustainable agricultural methods and adoption of a flexitarian diet, which reduces consumption of red meat and starchy foods, thus decreasing production impacts. 

For an in-depth discussion of these challenges listen to our podcast on sustainable food systems from Footprints Online. Costa Georgiadis, Patrice Newell, and Manu Prigioni consider ways to create more climate resilient food growing systems from broad acre farming to urban agriculture and explain how they are contributing to change. They discuss models of sustainable agriculture including biodynamics, farm share arrangements like Farm it Forward and regenerative agriculture 

16-25 October was Fair Food Week which promotes farmers getting a fair price for their food and the whole community having access to healthy, sustainable food. The Addi Road Food Pantry at Marrickville and Camperdown provides food relief to those in need.  

Understanding the issues around food systems allows us to be more thoughtful in the ways we access and consume food. How can we contribute to a more sustainable food system in the Inner West?  

  • Grow your own organic food at home 
  • Source local seeds from Inner West Seed Savers and learn how to grow from seeds and from cuttings
  • Attend a skills-based food growing course or workshop. The Green Living Centre holds these regularly. Follow us on Facebook in the coming weeks as we share food growing tips 
  • Join a community garden to connect with others who want to grow food together. Did you know there is a food forest at Whites Creek Valley Park? See how it works in this video about the park. 
  • Support community supported agriculture. Harvest Farms has a Lewisham collection point  
  • Share your locally grown food at a crop swap. Find the next swap at Crop Swap Sydney or Pocket City Farms 
  • Support ethical local businesses such as Feather and Bone, hear all about their ethos in this podcast. Many local bulk food stores stock locally produced honey and other products. 
  • Reduce your food waste. This video from Cornersmith provides some inspiring tips 
  • For those who are just starting to learn about this topic this free film festival will give you a good grounding in sustainable agriculture.