Food Security: Insights from the June DisasterWise Get-Together - DisasterWISE
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Food Security: Insights from the June DisasterWise Get-Together

This June, the DisasterWise community gathered for an insightful get-together featuring Josh Collings from Acres and Acres in Corryong. The theme of the event focused on a critical issue facing many communities after disaster: food security. With climate change increasing the frequency and intensity of disaster events, ensuring access to food in the aftermath has never been more important. We all experienced the impact Covid19 had on supply chains. Localised food networks offer food security for regions, along with opportunities for peer-to-peer learning, strengthening community fabric and building a more resilient futures.

Josh Collings, co-founder of Acres and Acres, has been a pioneering force in transforming agricultural practices to enhance food security in his local region. Joshs’ work in Corryong, especially in the aftermath of the devastating 2019-2020 bushfires, has been instrumental in shaping sustainable farming and community resilience strategies. Acres and Acres focuses on community-supported agriculture (CSA), promoting local food production, and fostering strong local food networks.

Plan C program Director, Rena Frohman was also in attendance. Rena is currently overseeing the Rising Together Food Security project. Funded by the Northern Rivers Community Foundation and implemented with Wild Community, this project aims to enhance food security and resilience in the Northern Rivers by uniting the community, government, and food system actors. A scoping study will be conducted in Byron and Lismore Shires to analyse the food system, supported by 25 interviews and international best practices. The project will result in improved understanding of the current food system, a discussion paper outlining challenges and opportunities, a review of local food governance, the establishment of a Resilient Byron Food Security Working Group, a community of practice, and increased community awareness about food and nutrition security.

Key Takeaways on Food Security After Disaster

Local Food Production is Crucial:

  • Josh emphasized the importance of local food production in mitigating the impacts of supply chain disruptions caused by disasters. By growing food locally, communities can ensure a steady supply of fresh produce, even when external sources are cut off.

Community Involvement and Education:

  • Engaging the community in agricultural practices and educating them about sustainable farming techniques is vital. Acres and Acres has been successful in involving local residents in farming activities, which not only boosts food production but also strengthens community bonds.

Diverse and Resilient Crops:

  • Diversifying crops and adopting resilient farming techniques are key to surviving and thriving post-disaster. Josh shared insights into how Acres and Acres has implemented permaculture principles to create robust agricultural systems that can withstand extreme weather conditions.

Collaboration with Local Authorities:

  • Effective collaboration with local governments, disaster response teams and even the media can enhance community projects and strategies. Josh highlighted the need for coordinated efforts to develop comprehensive disaster response plans that include food security as a priority.

Innovative Solutions and Technology:

  • Embracing technology and innovative farming solutions can significantly enhance food security. Josh shared more information on the mobile cool store, experiments in electric vehicles and utilising smart irrigation systems to implementing renewable energy sources.

Looking Ahead

The June DisasterWise get-together underscored the important work of organisations such as Acres and Acres and Plan C in the pressing need to address food security in the wake of disasters.

Joshs’ story was not just a testament to the resilience of the Corryong community but also a call to action for communities across Australia. As climate change continues to pose challenges, it is imperative to adopt sustainable and resilient agricultural practices.

Join the Movement

If you missed this year’s event, stay tuned for future DisasterWise gatherings and join the movement towards building resilient communities. By learning from pioneers like Josh Collings and organizations like Acres and Acres and Plan C, we can collectively work towards ensuring food security and sustainability after disaster.

Want to delve deeper?

Supermarket Shelves were empty for months after the Lismore Floods. Here’s how to make supply chains more resilient.

Berry, F, Keegan, S, Sadegh Koohestani, S, New, M, Renouf, J, (2023) Is the Northern Rivers food system resilient? Northern Rivers food security scoping study. Plan C, UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures and Wild Community.


1 Comment

  • Eddie Harran
    Posted July 9, 2024 at 4:08 pm

    Nice one, Josh – so good to learn about the great stuff you are doing these days.


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