Food

Current methods for producing food in Western Australia are heavily reliant on fossil fuels, and are putting pressure on already degraded landscapes, risking both food security and farmers' livelihoods. Arable land must be protected and regenerated to ensure future food production is sustainable. Therefore, farming and pastoral practices that promote food security through improving soil quality and reducing salinity, such as mixing food and tree crops, should be strongly encouraged.

Greater consumption of plant-derived foods will benefit human health, health of the environment and soils, and reduce greenhouse emissions associated with food production. Circular input systems which may include animals in regenerative systems will assist in these changes.

Western Australian farmers must be paid a fair price for their produce, and food needs to be valued and not wasted. In addition, food labelling needs to be truthful and comprehensive so that people can make informed choices about food purchases. The advertising or promotion of unhealthy food or drink options, especially to children, should be regulated to minimise consumption.

Aims

The Greens (WA) want:

  • social, health and environmental issues associated with food production to be fully considered in agricultural policy (see also The Greens (WA) Agriculture policy)
  • a reduction in transport distance between the point of production and point of sale
  • people to have access to local, affordable and seasonal food
  • food to be labelled with its place of origin
  • processed food to labelled with nutritional values and contaminants that pose credible health risks
  • foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to be clearly labelled (see also The Greens (WA) Genetic Modification policy)
  • the precautionary principle1 applied to the production and use of new foods
  • animals used for food to be treated with the least possible cruelty (see also The Greens (WA) Animals policy)
  • to move towards sustainable methods of food production and away from the use of artificial fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides
  • the use of growth hormones and antibiotics in food production to be phased out
  • Western Australia's limited high quality arable land retained for food growing and not turned into housing or industrial development
  • people to value food more and waste it less (see also The Greens (WA) Beyond Waste policy)

Measures

The Greens (WA) will support legislation and actions that:

  • encourage plant based diets with less meat and animal based foods, for our health and for the health of the planet
  • support the development and introduction of meat alternatives that are environmentally sustainable and safe for human consumption
  • reduce the wastage associated with meat production
  • reduce the use of trans fats2 in food production to below 1% of all fats and ensure all foods containing trans fats are clearly labelled
  • phase out the use of artificial additives and preservatives in products aimed at or likely to be consumed by children
  • ensure independent, methodical testing of all food products for contents and contaminants
  • integrate the Australian Dietary Guidelines into the labelling of all commercially available food
  • encourage the slow food movement3
  • support First Nations efforts to build community-based businesses producing traditional and sustainable foods (see also The Greens (WA) First Nations Peoples policy)
  • support local governments to encourage, establish and help maintain community gardens, providing land, basic infrastructure, advice and appropriate management where necessary
  • encourage the conversion of household gardens to food production
  • encourage the saving of heritage seeds and animals
  • invest in local horticulture in regional areas to provide fresh food that has not been transported from distant regions (see also The Greens (WA) Regions policy)
  • monitor the price of fresh food in rural and remote towns and communities and put in place measures such community garden production targets, anti-gouging laws, subsidies and support for local growers, with the aim of making fresh food available at prices approximating metropolitan prices for similar produce
  • support zoning to prevent further residential development of peri-urban agricultural land
  • employ appropriate technology and alternative farming methods to reduce the use of toxic chemicals and pesticides and minimise the application of artificial fertilisers in agricultural production (see also The Greens (WA) Agriculture policy)
  • phase out the use of growth hormones and antibiotics in food production
  • encourage the composting of food waste
  • promote the humane treatment of animals used for food by:
    • phasing out intensive production systems for meat, dairy and egg products;
    • ensuring well defined free-range food production with the establishment of clear production and labelling standards;
    • phasing out mutilation practices; and
    • reducing long distance transport of animals from farm to abattoir (see also The Greens (WA) Animals policy)

Glossary

  1. Precautionary principle - where an action poses threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason to proceed with the action.
  2. Trans fats are made through the chemical process of hydrogenation of oils which solidifies liquid oils and increases the shelf life, flavour and stability of oils and foods that contain them. Trans fats are found in abundance in deep-fried foods and both raise the 'bad' (LDL) cholesterol and lower the 'good' (HDL) cholesterol levels in blood, increasing the risk of heart disease.
  3. Slow food movement – is a movement to counteract fast food and fast life and the disappearance of local food traditions, and to promote people's interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world – people, communities, animals, plants and the environment.

Food policy ratified by The Greens (WA) in 2021

The Greens (WA) spokesperson for food issues is Diane Evers MLC