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Land and Environment : Agribusiness Assoc. of Australia

Connections: Farm, Food and Resource Issues

Connections is refereed by Glenn Ronan and Bill Malcolm. The name reflects its origins, its intentions and the medium. It is a joint product of the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society (AARES) and The School of Agriculture and Food Systems, The University of Melbourne. Connections is an extension publication, connecting material in farm and agribusiness, in marketing and management, in environment and resources.

Connections - 2008

Paper 94

Food Miles, Food Chains and Food Producers

Randy S. Stringer and Wendy J. Umberger

The ASFM study results suggest a diverse set of indirect environmental, social and economic relationships between consumers of local food produce. These indirect relationships are not well understood, are seldom analyzed in the context of local food supply chain development, and are rarely reflected in local policy formulation. The survey results present a case for exploring further the additional public and private benefits from supporting local agriculture.

Paper 93

Watering Victoria: the good, the bad and the ugly

 Alistair Watson

Presented to the Watering Victoria Symposium organised by the Centre for Public Policy of the University of Melbourne, September 24, 2008

 This paper is a variant of others written on water policy in Australia over recent years (Watson 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007a, 2007b, 2007c, 2007/2008, 2008a, 2008b).[1] The major conclusion of this version is that public policy for irrigation and water in Victoria over more than a century has been based on poor arguments about local economic, environmental and hydrological conditions that should have been, and still should be, the basis of policymaking. The emphasis is on irrigation with only a few remarks on urban water.

Paper 92

A special role for country citizens?

Anne Moroney

Company Towns, a town’s company; rural businesses play a special role in the community – or do they? As significant business goes global, and shareholder returns are increasingly in focus, has the bond between a country town and its key businesses become frayed or are notions of mutual responsibility still strong?

Regional business has long been vested with a sense of responsibility for the welfare of the town or immediate region. It drew its workforce from this region, the founder’s family was from the region and most likely held significant positions in the local community: mayor, church warden, justice of the peace. Anecdotally at least, there was a sense of mutual responsibility.

Paper 91

True Blue – Authenticity and Yalumba’s Value Chain

Cecil Stephen Camilleri

The history of Australian wine, and perhaps its future, is closely associated with Britain’s love affair with good quality wine (Beeston 1994; Johnson 1992). In fact, in a paper presented in 2007 at the international conference on corporate communications held at Wroxton, Dr. Cecil Camilleri of the Yalumba Wine Company described wine as a socio-symbolic artefact – a cultural product replete with symbolism and meaning (Camilleri 2008a). Yalumba’s links with Britain date back to 1849 when Samuel Smith, a brewer from Dorset, settled his family in the free State of South Australia and planted 30 acres of vineyard (Linn 1999).  This was the simple foundation of Yalumba.  Six generations and more than 150 years later Yalumba, Australia’s oldest family owned winery, has developed into a wine success story, basing its sustainability on stakeholder relationships as well as the careful management of the essential elements that make wine – principally, earth, air, water and energy.

Paper 90

Tarac Technologies: Closing the loop in sustainable wine making

Ira Pant

Tarac Technologies was established in 1929 by ex-CSIRO scientist Alfred Allen at his home in the heartland of the Australian Wine Industry – the Barossa Valley, South Australia. Tarac’s raisons d'être is to provide environmental solutions to the Australian wine industry to ensure its sustainability well into the future. This is achieved through its four plants, strategically positioned in the key wine growing regions of Australia—two in the Barossa valley, and one each in the Riverland and Griffith in New South Wales. These plants enable Tarac to service approximately two thirds (by volume) of the residuals from the Australian Wine Industry. Tarac’s closed loop process (Figure 1) ensures maximum utilisation of wine industry residuals while minimising the adverse impacts of its own by-products.

Paper 89

What are the values in value chains?

Crutchett, L., Davis, A., Harvey, A., Pontifex, D. & Stasiak, M.

This article aims to provoke thought about the ways in which current approaches to food and wine value chain analysis either contribute to or frustrate societal goals. In it, the Health/Sustainability/Education Alliance 1all members of the partner group in the residency of the current Adelaide Thinker in Residence, Dr Andrew Fearne, discusses the social and environmental ‘values’ that might underlie value chain thinking when adopted according to the Fearne model. The collaborative effort of the Alliance to promote these values within the residency provides insights for incorporating health and sustainability-based thinking into value chain analysis towards an holistic approach.

Paper 88

From consumerism to citizenship: a journey of involvement

Andrew Fearne, Claire Garcia and Claire May

In this paper it is argued that the ‘sustainable shopper’ must be targeted in a meaningful and relevant manner and their motivations for purchasing more or less sustainable foods be thoroughly understood in order to maintain the momentum that govt and industry have created in shifting the balance in our lifestyles from consumerism to citizenship. Different groups of shoppers behave in different ways and for different reasons, which has important implications for policy makers, NGOs, food manufacturers and retailers seeking to stimulate a change in purchasing behaviour towards more sustainable foods.  In exploring the journey which the sustainable shopper makes, from consumer to citizen, we highlight the importance of ‘involvement’ - of the individual and in the product – in shaping the marketing, merchandising and communication strategies to speed up the journey and ensure more people arrive at the desired destination.

Paper 87

Adelaide Thinkers in residence- a Model for Delivering Systemic Innovation

Brenda Kuhr

Over the past five years, Thinkers have helped South Australia position itself nationally and internationally as an innovative and dynamic community for living, working, investing and doing business. The Thinkers provide strategic advice to the residency partners who come from government, non-government, business, industry and community organisations.

Paper 86

Food Miles: a critical evaluation

Ismo Rama and Patrick Lawrence

‘Food miles’ is an inadequate and potentially misleading measure of the
environmental and economic impact of food. Distance travelled is not necessarily a good indicator for transport emissions, and fails to consider other environmental impacts (including other greenhouse gas emissions) associated with food production. Further, there may be negative impacts on economic development by effectively penalising non-locally produced food.

Paper 85

A virtual paper on virtual water

Dave Appels, Alistair Watson, David Briggs and Mike Woolston

This note examines the methodology for estimating virtual water and identifies several important flaws in the virtual water concept. These flaws render the virtual water concept meaningless and casts serious doubts on the wisdom of applying the concept of virtual water to draw conclusions regarding the desirability or otherwise of alternative production activities.

Paper 84

Labour may use its loaf to end Coalition's inept wheat marketing policy: while not complete deregulation, the ALP's plan is a huge leap forward

Professor Paul Kerin

This article was published in the Australian 20/11/07

I’m sick to death of the Coalition’s ineptitude on wheat. Meaningful reform is only sure to occur if the Coalition loses this Saturday. Should that happen they only have themselves to blame. An article in the latest issue of the American Journal of Agricultural Economics the most prestigious in the field found that current wheat marketing management cost Australia $US 224.7 million ($252 million) annually. The article is by Melbourne University's Donald McLaren and an English economist, not by anti-single desk Americans.On November 1, Melbourne University's Joshua Vans – whose past work AWB cited as "evidence" that the single desk earned a huge price premium – wrote ( that  “the ALP’s policy appears to be moving towards a better outcome”, describing its plan to provide “more competition” as “a solid policy option”.


Glenn Ronan, Co-editor and Principal strategy Consultant, corporate Strategy and Policy, Primary Industries and Resources South Australia.

Bill Malcolm, Co-editor and Associate Professor, Faculty of Land and Food resources, The University of Melbourne, Victoria.



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