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The Federal Government has recently announced the end of the $1.5 million Community food grants program, due to the current fiscal environment.
The program has money invested in projects such as farmers markets, food co-operatives and hubs, community gardens, and city farms across the country, but the cuts will leave a number of organisations disappointed.
The Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance says it was the first time that work by the community food sector had been recognised at a federal level.
The cuts were supported by Ausveg, Australia's peak body for the vegetable industry, who believed the community gardens component of the funding posed a biosecurity risk for the country's horticulture sector. '...the issue we then have [with community gardens] is with infestations with either pests or diseases, and then that becomes a threat in itself to commercial horticultural operations that need to comply with strict adherence to quality assurance guidelines," said Ausveg's William Churchill.
However others have criticised Ausveg for their comments on the community gardens. Costa Georgiadis, presenter of ABC TV's Gardening Australia, says community gardens are no threat to biosecurity. 'Community gardens are about growing awareness and getting people inspired in local seasonal food,' he said. 'The thing with community garden is that it's not just the produce you're growing, you're growing the actual community, people are sharing, people are engaging.'
A number of others have also criticised Ausveg over social media.
Source: ABC Rural