Written by Featured, Griffith Review

Marrying health and agriculture

Griffith Review cover

IN THE past three years there have been urgent calls – by organisations ranging from the United Nations to the Queensland Liberal National Party – to double food production by 2050 and feed a global population of nine billion. The corporate farm lobby, multinational food manufacturers and biotech companies the world over are using this line to support their demands for an unprecedented expansion of industrial agriculture.

There’s another figure, however, that draws out one of the contradictions of the global food system that Australia champions: a third of the world’s food is wasted. In developing countries the figure is lower; most of the losses there occur in the production stage due to poor facilities and drought. In wealthy countries, like Australia, the percentage is higher; about half the waste is food dumped in bins in shops and homes.

Why are we planning to grow more food when we throw half of it out?


IT’S EIGHT IN the morning, a week before Christmas, when I drive south until Canberra ends and the ranges loom ahead. On Westwood Farm, a property donated for the use of charities, sit the new Canberra offices of OzHarvest. I’m supposed to meet the director, Dave Burnet, before spending a day with Chris, a van driver. We will collect food from supermarkets and function centres that would otherwise go to waste, and deliver it to community organisations that distribute the food to families who need a hand.

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