Paddock to Plate: policy propositions for sustaining food & farming systems

Paddock to Plate: policy propositions for sustaining food & farming systems

Publication TypeGovernment Report
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsCampbell, CAndrew
KeywordsExternal, food systems, goals, milestones, sustainability, sustainable food, Victorian Farming

Healthy environments, healthy farming systems, healthy foods and healthy people are intricately intertwined. This paper culminates a project for the Australian Conservation Foundation that explores the future of the Victorian food and farming system in a rapidly changing and more demanding world, focusing on the period to 2020. The focus here is unashamedly on the public policy challenges inherent in designing and delivering healthier, more sustainable and more resilient food and farming systems. The food system is a heavy component of the human environmental footprint on the planet. If current trends in human population and consumption patterns continue, the world will need to produce about twice as much food by 2050... This propositions paper outlines policy suggestions that would substantially assist the Victorian food system in delivering healthier foods, healthier profits and healthier landscapes. The policy propositions posited here encompass food system leadership and governance; the evidence base, research capacity and education systems required to underpin food system renovation; farming system transformations; the sustainability of the food value chain beyond the farm gate; urban food production and exploitation of waste streams; the planning, design and infrastructure reforms needed to improve the performance and resilience of the food system; and management of the trade-offs between food, water and energy in a warming, drying climate in southern Australia. Government needs to develop an integrated sustainable food and farming strategy, with clear targets based on measures of environmental, social and economic progress. A sustainable food system is underpinned by healthy working rivers. Action to deal with the over-allocation of water should be strategic, prompt and sufficient to recover river systems, minimise social dislocation and realize alternative development pathways. Reversing the decline of biodiversity in production landscapes needs to be seen as a high priority in food and farm policy. Victoria, and Australia as a whole, needs a new soil policy framework to redress soil loss, improve soil management and maximise the services provided by soils, especially carbon sequestration. Businesses along the entire food value chain can and must play a stronger role in shaping supply and demand to meet sustainability goals. Government should use the full mix of policy tools to mobilise the private sector to transform food and farming.

Government Body

Australian Conservation Foundation


Citation and export

Campbell, C. Andrew. Paddock to Plate: policy propositions for sustaining food & farming systems. The Future Food and Farm Project Propositions Paper. Australian Conservation Foundation, Melbourne 48pp (2009).

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