The Melbourne Age (newspaper) has been running a series on the future of food over the last few days.
(Copy/paste seems to have worked):
The Future of Food
Interactive graphic How suburbia has consumed Melbourne’s food-producing areas in the past 50 years and the farmlands now at risk.
Melissa Fyfe and Royce Millar Supermarket giants rely on cheap foreign labour to deliver burgeoning home-brand lines at lowest prices.
Melissa Fyfe and Royce Millar Italian imports have crushed local growers, write Melissa Fyfe and Royce Millar.
Melissa Fyfe and Royce Millar A quarter of vegetable growers facing financial ruin as they fight losing battle against cheap processed imports, mounting labour costs and greater competition for our traditional export markets.
Royce Millar, Melissa Fyfe Victorian food production faces mounting pressure from urban encroachment.
Royce Millar and Melissa Fyfe Therese Schreurs’ celery farm near Cranbourne, among some of Melbourne’s key market gardens, is about to be buried under concrete and bitumen — and she couldn’t be happier.
Marc Moncrief The numbers are clear: over time, less land has been devoted to food production, and more has been demanded of what remains.
Melissa Fyfe, Royce Millar Australia’s two biggest supermarket chains are reshaping the nation’s agriculture, diet and understanding of what fresh food is.
In today’s edition there are a couple of interesting letters in response.
One comments on the Italian vs Australian canned tomatoes item. The writer says he’d willingly buy the Aussie brand, except that in the list of ingredients it has tomatoes, tomato juice, firming agent and food acid. The Italian brand has just tomatoes in tomato juice. Hmmm. He has a point there.
A second writer is concerned about the monitoring of chemical pesticides, fungicides and other preservatives that might be in imported food, in other words, what’s their quality control like? “Please buy local”, she says. This is something that always concerns me, so I always try to buy local. Admittedly, there’s no guarantee that locally produced food is subject to the sort of stringent controls that we might like, but at least we live in the country of origin, where we might expect that something will be done about an issue if we jump up and down vigorously enough.
The third writer talks about planning issues. “In 50 Years time, where will our fresh food be grown? And what will it cost if it has to be hauled longer and longer distances?” Focussing on cost here, but I’d be focussing on the peak oil issue. If food is grown far away how will it get to the cities? Without oil, life will return to the horse & cart days.
Not a single one of the articles or letters mentioned peak oil. Oh, boy, are we in for a shock!