Australian Fair Food Forum

Peer/Participatory Guarantee Systems

These notes were taken from a group discussion session at the Food Sovereignty Convergence in Canberra, 23/24 November 2017.

Experiences in the group?
How to boost legitimacy/scale in Aust?
PGS: A system of producer + consumer integrity
Farmers can peer-review one another. Generally accepted to follow eg. IFDAM standards. A counter to the certification ‘industry’. More control to a community + small-scale farmers and increasing connections between both.
Can flourish in specific communities with specific needs
Key idea: PGS driven by the community, owned and trusted by community (IFDAM have templates)
Key elements: farm audits, stat decs, signed upon completion, cannot export as designed for local.
Participation is key. Community of self-supported producers
Transparency is key; helps decrease scepticism. Farmers and consumers can both be involved in auditing.
Becomes a network of growers learning from one another.
Wording: ‘ecological guarantee’ ?
There’s a new organic peak body being considered to represent organics to the govt as a whole
Organic certification doesn’t guarantee/enforce enhancement of biodiversity/ecology. Looks at ‘the books’.
FEED ‘Farmers Endorsement of Ecological Development’- a proposed PGS gramework/minimum standard which can be applied to different areas eg. ‘FEED: Northern Rivers’
AFSA’s role: to increase awareness of other groups doing/establishing other movements. Eg. PGS being set up for Northern Rivers
A PGS can have flexibility eg. To weather extremes
Need a lot of community engagement + education to generate awareness of local PGS ‘Brand’ >> then need consistency of the brand
Farmers can pay to promote by getting local PGS branding
SCPA= South East Producers PGA
Nationally, only 4 PGS operating but IFDAM’s international maps list lots! Particularly in India and Pacific
A great model for AFSA to engage with ie. a page on website of IFDAM website- ‘how to start your own PGS’, links to the 4 Aust PGS.
AFSA as a repository of info for PGS in Aust
Corporate org certifiers won’t recognise a PGS but some have both and see the PGS as valuable for the local network/community
Future: let’s work collaboratively to have more PGSs!
Can lobby organic certification bodies to use PGS as ‘in conversion’ period. But will it lessen the value of PGS? Eg. A PGS then seen as ‘less’ organic
PGS= a model of best practice in each industry/production system
Challenges: getting a farmer to commit
Solution: get soil test on 1st farm visit. Farmers don’t get the test done.