Australia now has a new roadmap to support our food systems to become more sustainable, productive and resilient for the future.

Australia’s food systems must change now to remain sustainable in the future according to a new roadmap released today by CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency.

Food systems – spanning the entire food pipeline from production to consumption and waste management – are under pressure on several fronts, including a changing climate, increasing demand, supply chain and workforce disruptions, rising input costs and nutrition-related public health concerns.

The roadmap, Reshaping Australian Food Systems, sets a path for how Australia can secure a more sustainable, productive, and resilient future for its food, environment, and people.

Better access to healthy diets and minimising food waste are among five key areas of opportunity identified in the report.

Kirsten Rose, CSIRO’s Executive Director, Future Industries, said the roadmap would provide an important resource for decision makers.

“Australia’s food systems currently support an estimated 70 million people across the nation and through our export markets so it’s critical those systems are robust enough to meet future needs,” Ms Rose said.

“This roadmap represents a collective approach to tackling some of the biggest challenges facing the security and health of our food.”

The roadmap identified five areas of opportunities, each with their own 2030 targets and 2050 goals:

  • Enabling equitable access to healthy and sustainable diets
  • Minimising waste and improving circularity
  • Facilitating Australia’s transition to net zero emissions
  • Aligning resilience with socioeconomic and environmental sustainability
  • Increasing value and productivity.

With input from more than 120 stakeholders across the country, CSIRO’s Director of Agriculture and Food Dr Michael Robertson said the roadmap covered a broad look at food systems and how they interact with wider societal systems.

“Recent climate extremes, the COVID-19 pandemic, and geopolitical uncertainties show that we need to prepare our food systems for a shifting risk landscape in our interdependent world,” Dr Robertson said.

“Addressing these challenges and redirecting our food systems towards greater sustainability and resilience will help us protect our food security into the future.”

Download the roadmap, Reshaping Australian Food Systems.

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Paul Denny, Assistant Secretary for food policy, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, said the document will be an important resource for building sustainable food systems for the future.

“The roadmap will shape thinking about food systems and assist stakeholders along the entire food value chain to understand how those systems can be made healthier, more equitable and more sustainable,” Mr Denny said.

Foodbank Australia General Manager Sarah Pennell said it was timely to have a guiding document to support equity in food systems right across Australia.

“We know that food insecurity is a growing challenge in Australia and there needs to be a ‘whole of systems’ approach to efficiently and effectively addressing the immediate impacts at the same time as providing solutions for the root causes,” Ms Pennell said.

“Foodbank has really welcomed the opportunity to input into this Roadmap because it supports and guides a collaborative approach to better delivering food security for the most vulnerable in our community.”