Fair Food Law and the Prospects for Sustainable Agriculture
17 Pages Posted: 14 Mar 2016
Date Written: March 14, 2016
“Fair food” may mean many different things. To consumers, it may mean a good price or a choice between genetically modified and normal food. For producers, it may mean a decent price for their products, drought assistance when required or a voice in the supply chain. What about the livestock, the soil or the environment without which there would be no food whether fairly produced or not? For these aspects of the production chain, ethical conduct, sustainability and legal protection of their (largely voiceless) concerns must be important considerations. Juggling all these issues requires a holistic approach to fair food. A systems approach that recognises the various interests of producers, consumers and the “production chain” may be appropriate. We should also acknowledge that, whilst the various interests and issues may sometimes align in a complementary fashion, that will not always be the case. Covering so much ground and with so many potentially competing interests at play, perhaps the general goal of fair food law should be to advance any one or more of these interests but without detriment to other players in the system.
My particular interest in fair food law lies in the production/environment end. My curiosity was aroused by two recent developments – changes in 2013 to the Native Vegetation Act, 1999 Qld and the proposal to develop a major new irrigation scheme, the Etheridge Integrated Irrigation Project, in the Gilbert River catchment in northern Queensland. Both developments have been welcomed as opening up new agricultural opportunities but the question for me is – will either of them encourage better quality, sustainable agricultural development or fairer food production? This article explores this question.
Keywords: Food law, sustainable agriculture, Native Vegitation Act (Qld)
JEL Classification: K32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation