Friday, July 19, 2024
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Food aid – the new normal?

Foodbank’s 2019 Hunger Report tells us that one in five Australians have experienced food insecurity in the last 12 months, most of them women.

Released during anti-poverty week in October, the report paints a sobering picture of food poverty in our nation.

An unexpected bill or expense is the most common reason why 5 million Australians have gone hungry. Twenty-two per cent of them children.

On the flipside, a report by Rabobank confirms that Australia is the fourth highest food waster in the world, with each person binning nearly 300 kilograms of food annually.

We waste a whopping $890 billion worth of food per annum and it’s indefensible.

It’s doubly damning when we know there’s been a 23 per cent increase in the number of people in NSW and the ACT seeking food relief from charities over a similar period.

CEO of Foodbank, Brianna Casey, says her organisation’s report quantifies a growing social crisis that requires a long-term, whole-of-government plan to fix it.

Sydney University environmental and agricultural experts, Dr Alana Mann and Professor Alex McBratney, are also urging Australians to look beyond their plates to ask who supplies their food, how, and for whose benefit.

“Personal food choices can only make so much difference in a monopolised food system.

“Debates over diets, that is the impact of meat versus plant-based products, hit the headlines but overlook a more fundamental challenge – the normalisation of food aid.”

Is this “new normal” our best effort given the statistics?

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