Diggings 24 November 2021

I was inspired this week by the Healthy Stores 2020 project’s webinar series on initiatives in remote Aboriginal communities to enable healthier eating and their is a clutch of links below to articles about the project and to recordings of the webinar. Also in this issue two more articles critically lookin at Australia’s visa system and the Pacifika seasonal workers. But to start this edition off, La Via Campesina’s statement on progress and otherwise in its activisms for food sovereignty.

Food Sovereignty, a Manifesto for the Future of Our Planet

Official statement from La Via Campesina, as we mark 25 years of collective struggles for food sovereignty

We must remind ourselves that the only way to make our voice heard is by uniting and building new alliances within and across every border. Rural and Urban Social Movements, Trade Unions and civil society actors, progressive governments, academics, scientists and technology enthusiasts must come together to defend this vision for our future. Peasant women and other oppressed gender minorities must find equal space in the leadership of our movement at all levels. We must sow the seeds of solidarity in our communities and address all forms of discrimination that keep rural societies divided. In its defence, we stand united. Globalize the Struggle, Globalize Hope.


Healthy Stores 2020: Rethinking the food focus for Indigenous communities

Healthy Stores 2020 – a collaboration co-led by Monash University and a leading Indigenous community organisation, but also involving five other universities, including two in Canada – wanted to explore retail stores in remote First Nations communities to figure out whether, through marketing and merchandising changes, they could sell more nutritious food and drinks. The answer in short is yes, they could. Customers in general bought more water or diet drinks than sugary ones, and they also, in general, bought fewer added-sugar products and sweets. All this without the stores losing money.


And an October 21 podcast with Dr Julie Brimble brining the study up to date during COVID 19: https://omny.fm/shows/nourishing/dr-julie-brimblecombe-remote-food-security-communi

A link to a series of recordings from the webinar Healthy Stories + Good Food


And this, which I can’t download and cite from: https://www.croakey.org/food-insecurity-in-uncertain-times-ways-forward-post-pandemic/

New Pacific Australia Labour Mobility scheme offers more flexibility … for employers

For workers though, this tying of visas to a particular employer has been one of the key problems with the existing Pacific worker visa schemes. It limits workers’ ability to complain about exploitative treatment or to leave and find more favourable work. While the details of the new scheme are sparse, it seems the PALM scheme won’t substantially change this control mechanism. The “labour mobility” being delivered is not the worker’s choice, but movement between employers “in response to workforce demand”. That is, where employers struggle to provide the minimum average of 30 hours of work a week required, they (or more likely, the labour hire agencies managing their workforce) will be able to move workers between employers.


How the Covid pandemic exposed deep cracks in the Australian farm labour model

Some farms have known this secret for years. Neighbours look over the fence thinking “Gee aren’t the Joneses lucky, they’ve got Pete. He’s been with them for nearly 20 years. Petes are so hard to find.” Maybe there are more Petes out there, but the real scarcity is the commitment to people in farming business culture. That culture sorely needs a preparedness to provide employment security, attractive pay and conditions, appreciation, inclusion and respect.


‘That will save lives’: the move beyond school food allergy bans

The education sector is instead being encouraged to promote allergy awareness among both staff and students and to use risk reduction strategies such as using non-food rewards, reminding children not to share food, alerting parents about an upcoming activity involving food and ensuring that children wash hands after that activity.


Ending café food waste

In addition to using labour and materials from Bathurst, the project seeks to make local cafes more viable by halting the contribution they make to the river of gold leaving local economies in waste bill payments. The seats also cool adjoining pavement and reduce the invisible heat of pavements and walls which increases local temperatures. The damage to human, animal, bird and insect life from road, footpath and dark roofs and the lack of trees is severe; more people die from it than from bushfires in Australia.


The secret rock that could help feed the world and the ‘nerdy’ Australian scientist who discovered it

Because such a microbe mix generates ultra-healthy plants, no chemicals are applied and only minimal amounts of organic-certified pesticides and synthetic fertiliser. No hazmat suits, either – just local people in T-shirts and jeans. The thermal qualities of the rock mean that almost no heating or cooling is required – energy use per kilogram is less than 1 per cent of other intensive agriculture. Water use is minimal and greenhouse gas emissions net-negative. The yield, meanwhile – lettuce, edible flowers, tomatoes, strawberries, herbs – is clean, fresh, local and cheap.


‘It’s all bubble tea shops’: The battle over the soul of Chinatown

Everywhere you look in Chinatown, shopfronts are shuttered and revered restaurants are calling time on the torpor of the past two years. You only have to count the number of empty shops on Dixon Street to see that big-name closures are only the tip of a much bigger problem. If Dixon Street is the beating heart of Chinatown, the pulse is faint and erratic.


%d bloggers like this: