Food, Lifestyle and Consumption

Promote local food production, sustainable consumption, healthy lifestyles.

Step 8) Local and Sustainable Production and Consumption

Action: The Tasmanian Government must set out a strategy that aims a) to support the local and sustainable production of food, materials and other produce on just terms to producers and consumers, and b) to promote sustainable consumption patterns and lifestyles. Elements of the strategy will include:

  • action to ensure that planning schemes provide positive support for food production farms, community and market gardens, and local growers markets;
  • preserving high-valued soils from residential or other forms of development;
  • a comprehensive certification and labeling scheme for Tasmanian (as well as regional and organic) foods and other domestic produce;
  • assistance to transition food production systems away from fossil fuels and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from livestock;
  • the immediate elimination of the most dangerous agricultural chemicals and progressive transition to a chemical-free State;
  • sustainable aquaculture systems, and financial support for conversion of mainstream farming to organic or permaculture based systems;
  • financial support for local small businesses engaged in local production, while ending support for multinational businesses to locate in the State;
  • a sustained media campaign and strategy to promote sustainable consumption and lifestyles, including mandatory disclosure of the full carbon impact of products and services in advertising.

Rationale: High energy, high resource use and high consumption lifestyles are actively promoted through advertising, while the environment and other costs associated with these lifestyles are hidden from consumers. At the same time, production systems in the state are often unsustainable and vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. A comprehensive strategy to promote sustainable production and consumption in all sectors of the Tasmanian economy is required.

For example, agriculture is a major source of emissions in Tasmania, while the footprint of the sector is larger still when transport, fertiliser use and supply chain linkages are taken into account. At the same time, Tasmania is a major food producer and exporter and this will become an increasingly important function as climate change impacts on food production in Australia and globally. Perversely, however, many foods are imported into Tasmania that are or could be produced locally.

Also, Tasmanian farmers are often economically exploited, notably by major supermarket chains, in many cases making their enterprises unviable, leading to the sale and often permanent conversion of their productive land to other uses. Commercial exploitation also limits the funds available for food producers to invest in more sustainable production systems.

Finally, Tasmanian consumers are poorly served by an absence of reliable, Government-endorsed certification and labelling systems that would enable them to express their preference for local and sustainably produced foods.