Many of you have joined Colin and Sally's mailing list because you want to buy direct from the farmer, to support a family, to buy certified organic meat free from hormones or antibiotics. And you're awesome, let's not forget that. We've been supplying the public for over three years now, and we're growing (slowly but surely), continuing to improve pasture, and thinking how we might diversify the business, to the benefit of the soil and to provide the kind of nutrient-dense food that we believe people should have access to. Farmer, meet consumer. Consumer, meet farmer. Sounds pretty simple, doesn't it.
So why don't more farmers sell direct? Why don't more customers want to support farmers directly? What are the barriers to selling direct, both for farmer and consumer, in terms of regulations (oh, and there are many and they are burdensome), access to abattoirs, access to land, a perceived lack of a market, convenience for the consumer...
I joined the committee of the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA) earlier this year after a couple of years of helping a number of individual farmers tackle these issues. Oh, and eating delicious food with intelligent, likeminded people is not a small boon to the committee work.
Many, many customers of ours ask about how they can better support direct to consumer models, know more about food labeling, become more conscientious eaters - well here's a chance to start your conversation - come along to the second Annual Fair Food Convergence held in Melbourne on the 22nd and 23rd October. Hosted by AFSA, we'll be converging at CERES Community Environment Park. Everyone is welcome – farmers, makers, connectors, chefs, community gardeners, hunger activists, consumer advocates, GMO campaigners, academics, and policymakers…
The Convergence is intended as a democratic forum for the movement to come together, share successes and challenges, tell stories and debate strategies, work collectively for radical food system reform from a diverse range of viewpoints, positions, and activities, and provide the incoming AFSA National Committee with a mandate from members for its work in the coming year.
The Convergence will consist of a day and a half of unconference where the agenda is set by all those in attendance, and there will be plenty of opportunity for networking and making the important connections you need to progress your efforts back on the home front.
For lunch on Saturday we'll have a potluck feast, so be sure to bring a plate of food to share! Saturday night, we will get together for a dinner of ethically produced and local food at Feast of Merit.
On Sunday we'll round off the Convergence with a delicious catered lunch. In the afternoon, AFSA will hold our Annual General Meeting and elect the next year’s National Committee.
I hope to see many of you there - intelligent talk, delicious food, and a chance to get better acquainted with people who share a vision of a food system that is beneficial to the soil, the animal, the farmer and the eater.