The Australian population is expected to reach over 36 million people by the year 2050, putting an increased strain on the agricultural industrie
s as the threat of incompatible land use with mining and urban development increases.
Queensland has only one central fruit and vegetable market, located in Rocklea. It supports over 90 businesses, and creates up to 3,500 jobs. Brisbane city has regular fresh produce markets at a variety of locations, and encourages buying local produce. Right now, the balance of horticultural land use, mining and other industry development is sustainable, but due to lack of clear industry direction, the future roadmap is still to be determined.
On the wh***, there are no grave immediate threats to the ability for Brisbane to service the community needs.
So what about those who don't have access to food?
There is a not for profit company located two blocks from me called Vital Connection
, who prepare and provide healthy vegetarian meals to the homeless people of inner city Brisbane (I can see their rooftop). They began in 1995 as a dedicated group of freelance volunteers, and have since become a registered organisation, drawing on support and guidance from ADRA Australia.
They go out into the city every Saturday, Sunday and Monday night, providing warm, healthy meals to those in need. You can visit their website here
This got me thinking - if we have all these regular produce markets, and food industries with ample waste (Australians throw out an estimated $5.2 billion dollars in food waste every year, including $1.1 billion dollars of fruit and vegetables), why not connect the two?
As it turns out, there are many great businesses
operating nationally, one of which is called Foodbank
. They make connections with larger businesses and organisations (Woolworths, Coles, The Brisbane Markets, and so on) to store, sort and re-distribute their waste products. This is often cheaper for the businesses than paying disposal fees, and they give back to the community.
Preventative steps are being made more visible now, with websites like Foodwise
being launched to educate Australians on the need to reduce food waste.
Although - if we all reduce waste, what would happen to organisations such as Foodbank? How would they continue to provide goods to those in need?
Food for thought ;)