Greater collaboration is needed to safeguard our planet

Four years into the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals timeline, leading food innovators say we are heading in the right direction to achieving key targets such as Goal 2: Zero Hunger and Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. However, they insist greater collaboration is needed across our rural industries, consumers, corporates, companies and communities to ensure everyone is held accountable for their promises to address these serious commitments.

Two leading Australian food innovators have stressed the importance of collaboration in helping us achieve key targets in the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

2019 evokeAG. speaker Krista Watkins, Managing Director of Natural Evolution, said consumers also have a role to play in achieving some of the goals, in particular, Goal 2: Zero Hunger and Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

“Consumers are so much more aware, and more conscious of the provenance of their food. There’s a rapid movement in Australian-made, paddock to plate goods and this is a step in the right direction. But we need to be a little more open with innovative products.

“For example, we can turn almost any surplus fruit or vegetable into a powder. This means excess produce such as sweet potatoes and broccoli aren’t dumped. But we need consumers to buy these products and that’s where the mindset needs to change.”

The waste crusader insists this shifting mindset will help us ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, a key outcome of Goal 2.

Krista and her husband Rob have designed a co-operative model where groups of farmers can join together and process their excess produce using Evolution Industries’ technology and expertise.

“There has always been a lot of trust in co-op models. This is a great example of farmers coming together, using our technology to find alternative products and income streams to help feed our nation. But there are still some parties which need to come to the table. We need consumers to be open to trying new products, we need to be more innovative with our packaging, we need easier access to export markets – we need everyone to be thinking about the evolution of our food and waste streams to achieve the UN’s goals.”

Co-Founder and Director of Kimberley Wild Gubinge, Jacinta Monck, also stressed that we need to think outside the box if we want to achieve the UN’s targets. At evokeAG. this year, she highlighted the growing interest and demand of Indigenous native foods as the Kakadu plum, a superfood with enormous market potential.

“In remote communities, there is a great opportunity to grow and harvest Indigenous native foods, such as the Kakadu plum and the wild harvest ticks many of the Sustainable Development Goals. For example, in the Kimberley region, the wild harvest of Kakadu plums is predominantly run by women and the income they make goes into their regional and remote communities. We are also combatting land degradation by ensuring we are constantly planting natives in our region.”

Jacinta insists that looking at diverse food sources, including Indigenous native foods, will address some of the UN targets however more work needs to be done to ensure the supply and reliability of the produce – and that’s where collaboration comes into play.

Both women agree that there is still a lot of work to be done to reach the 2020 and 2030 targets.

“There are a lot of individuals doing their own bit to address some of these goals. But we need to identify linkages where we can work together,” said Jacinta.

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