I hope this finds you all well and looking forward to peaceful holiday time with friends and family.
I am writing to inform you that, after much reflection, I have decided to resign from the current AFSA Committee, owing to work, family and other commitments.
As you would all appreciate, having been a principal founder of AFSA and devoted a large portion of my life, at considerable personal sacrifice, to building it into a leading actor in the food movement in Australia over the past five and a half years, this is not a decision I have taken lightly. The AFSA journey has at times been tumultuous and difficult, yet it has also had many rewards and satisfactions. Not the least of which has been the pleasure of working with a large number of inspiring and motivated individuals – including of course your good selves – all around the country over many years, all of whom are wanting to play their part in supporting and amplifying the fair food movement here and globally. I always have done and will continue to draw inspiration from the passion and energy of these wonderful people.
The legacy of those five+ years is a significant one: the People’s Food Plan, Fair Food Week (over 260 events), the Fair Food documentary now screened more than 50 times, and the Fair Food book, whose sales are now approaching 2000. All of this, and much more in the past 12 months, has played a major role in raising awareness of the need for more and more people to become politically engaged in the long-term and vital work of building a fairer food system for all.
And sometimes the most encouraging news comes from unexpected sources that may not have had anything to with our efforts. A couple of weeks ago I discovered that from 2017 the Food Tech cookery subject will be replaced as an elective in Year 11 and 12 in all Victorian secondary schools, with a new Food Studies elective. I have reviewed the proposed curriculum, and it is a very good coverage of a food literacy and food systems subject. The expectation is that the numbers of high school students taking the subject will rise from the 3000 who currently take Food Tech, to more than 10,000 taking Food Studies in a few years’ time. They will be a powerful and growing constituency for a fair food system, which confirms my firm conviction that major change is both possible and underway.
I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to all of you for the wonderful work you have done and continue to do in support of the food movement in this country. That so much has been achieved in this period is a reflection of the work of us all as a collective, both within AFSA and of course well beyond it. I am well aware of my own shortcomings and limitations as an individual and an activist, and thank all of you for your patience and understanding along the way. I also want to take this opportunity to apologise for any offences I have caused both overtly and through neglect. What I can say categorically is that I have always tried to act according to what I believed and understood to be in the best interests of the food movement in this country, whilst realising that, being human, we all make mistakes.
I wish you all well in your respective professional and personal lives, and no doubt my path will continue to cross with many of yours in the months and years ahead.
All the best for a wonderful 2016.
Dr Nick Rose
Co-founder and Vice-President, Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance