During the pandemic we are starting to see some things that have been obvious to URFA and our supporters for some time now. For example, that a global food system is uncontrollable and many factors make it that way. It is unmanageable because it is a system built on national and even international lines of supply and transport, which under a catastrophe like COVID is totally vulnerable.
Despite Joe Buffone, director-general of Emergency Management Australia, saying that 'there was no food shortage, ... it's about staffing levels', supermarket shelves are empty in many products, including fresh produce and shoppers are turning to small, independent butchers and greengrocers for their fresh produce, who, while trying to source produce locally as much as possible, are increasingly turning to the centralised markets system to bridge the gap in supply. However, as Clive Erbacher of Erbacher's Fruit and Veg pointed out "Green cabbage I paid $3.50/kg yesterday and $5/kg today — beans I paid $4/kg on Tuesday, looking at $6–7 today. It just goes up and up all the time."
According to URFA, a regional food supply which is controlled by urban consumers, passionate about fresh, healthy, regional produce and supporting small businesses like Erbachers Fruit and Veg, experienced retailers like Mr Erbacher and his family, and regional farmers who are committed to cooperating to develop a regional food plan is what will make a regional food supply sustainable and manageable.
Sources and more info about the current situation: https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2022-01-08/buy-local-supermarket-fruit-vegetables-prices/100743822 and https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-01-06/supermarket-shelves-bare-again-panic-buying-supply-chain/100739894
URFA is an urban regional approach to a sustainable and manageable regional food system. Its focus allows control over a number of things: for example, the only controllable social and natural environment - our region. In the social environment it includes and empowers by building on primary relationships, creating more meaningful social business relationships through technology focussed on like-minded people in a region. In the natural environment, it allows for a more accurate understanding of supply and demand on the basis of what urban consumers, retailers and wholesalers and other food outlets actually want and posts the data to the regional food map. In this way, regional farmers can organise to supply not just staples but also develop new product lines.
The video below outlines the power of ESRI ArcGIS Mapping Tools and how we at URFA can see us and our teams using it to put Urban URFA supporters and Regional Farmers on the map. Using ArcGIS, URFA can provide not just a sustainable online market for Regional Farmers, Urban Consumers and Retailers and other Urban and Regional Foodies, we can use the data collected to create new product lines where farmers don't have to compete for the same market with same products, as well as creating a stable source of supply for staple product lines without the waste, and get pre-paid a fair price for their products.
Currently URFA is investigating a number of possibilities to move us further towards a real social/ business regional food system controlled by urban/ regional teams of four. One is the establishment of a Foundation Team of Four (made up of urban consumers and retailers and regional farmers). Another is to use GIS (Geographic Information Systems) such as ArcGIS and its mapping technology to provide a regional focus for information about regional farmers working with URFA, about urban supporters such as consumers, retailers, wholesalers and foodies in general, including a buying and selling system, and using the technology to communicate and organise so that the data captured is relevant and functional.
URFA - Urban Regional Food Alliance
URFA is a process, which works towards a sustainable and manageable regional food system, managed by committed 'Teams of Four People' made up of urban consumers and retailers and regional farmers who live in and around a large city like Brisbane and harnesses the Social Power which exists in the Region’s Business Markets and Community Projects by applying this Social Power COOPERATIVELY rather than COMPETITIVELY.
Some Food Facts - where we are now!
Despite Australia's size, only 3% of our land is suitable for horticulture.
The number of farms in Australia decreased from 130,000 in 2000 to 85,000 in 2018, that's around a 40% decline.
On average the Australian farm produces enough food for 600 people. Unfortunately, 480 of them do not live in Australia.
The 'Just in Time' food system in a crisis (as is happening in the UK and France) would see supermarket shelves empty in 3 days, and our supermarket controlled food system works exactly the same, and as such we would have the same results in a crisis.
We cannot allow divisive, control freaks to 'look after' our food system like they 'look after' everything else. We must do it ourselves in the only practical way to ensure our food security is sustainable and manageable: on a regional basis.
Where we want to be in the future - having a guaranteed, quality, consistent regional food supply!
URFA is the answer!
At the moment most of us have an unfocused idea about what we, collectively, should do to make sure we have an affordable, manageable and sustainable food supply for the future. We know where we are and where we need be in the future BUT we don't know how to get there. URFA provides easy step by step modules that will take us from where we are to where we need to be.
Module 1. The earliest manifestation of the business and social process is an individual with an unfocused idea (ie.vision) and a commitment to find out what needs to be done to make the process Manageable and Sustainable. It is the first step toward the positive alignment of human “intuition”, “thinking”, “feeling”, “dialog” and “action” within an existing “context”. The individual learns to positively align the components of their vision to avoid inconsistency while providing a rational framework for recruiting support for the idea (ie. Vision).
Module 2. The individual in Module 1. takes the first step toward transforming vision into effective and sustainable action by recruiting a minimum three others who share the vision and can perform critical social and business functions as the process evolves. The four participants combine their “thinking, feeling, dialog and action” to identify a shared vision on which they all agree.
Module 3. Cooperation in team relationships creates resonance and synergy outcomes. Competition in relationships creates dissonance and inefficient outcomes. The participants will learn that four people have eleven relationships to satisfy AND each additional person added to their team will more than doubles the number of relationships that need to be satisfied, managed and sustained.
Module 4. Most people involved in social and business projects (and life generally) operate with an incomplete set of tools. Most of us are, from birth, trained and conditioned competitors. A complete 'set of tools' requires equivalent training and conditioning – to develop cooperators. The individual will discover that cooperation is NOT compliance AND cooperation is more powerful and useful than competition.
Shane and Jerry
Both Shane and Jerry are long time educators and learners. Jerry has been a committed activist over many years, while Shane likes to think of both of them as being 'social entrepreneurs'.