Greens announce food plan to help farmers bypass supermarkets

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 31st July 2013

The Australian Greens party have announced their election manifesto for an $85 million food plan, which the Greens say will help farmers bypass supermarkets and “sell direct to consumers”.

The plan, announced by Greens Senator Christine Milne on 28 July 2013, aims to provide funding in the form of grants over four years from 1 July 2014 to help set up farmers’ markets, food box sales, farmers’ co-operatives, regional marketing and “food hubs”.

“People care about where their food comes from and that local farmers get paid a reasonable price for it,” Senator Milne said. “Farmers don’t have many options for selling their produce outside the low prices offered by the big supermarket chains,” she said.

“The Greens want to help farmers access infrastructure and markets so they can make a decent living off the land and improve our access to reasonably priced, fresh, local food,” Senator Milne said.

According to the Greens, providing infrastructure such as regional food hubs will give farmers and other local business access to facilities where they can store, pack and process foods with methods such as bottling, juicing or pickling.

“By sharing the equipment with other food producers they bring production costs down and improve their range of goods,” said Senator Rachel Siewert, Greens Agricultural Spokesperson. “Farmers co-operatives allow producers to band together to supply bigger contracts or start their own product lines with greater surety of supply than if they were working solo,” she said.

The Greens said grant money could also be used to market a region for its products, and said Tasmania and Western Australia’s Margaret River as examples of regions that currently have “strong food brands”.

The Greens have released a food plan