Last week the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA) launched a crowdfunding campaign to fund the publication of its groundbreaking book Farming Democracy: The True Cost of Food.

Eight farms, eight stories, one revolution.

AFSA is bringing true transparency to the food system and a healthy dose of democracy with this fascinating and timely book.

Farming Democracy opens the gates, the books, and the hearts of eight small-scale regenerative farmers from across Australia, sharing just how they grow, process, and distribute their produce, how much it costs them to do so, and how much they earn for their toil.

With stories from Applebox FarmBellasato FarmCaroola FarmFat Pig FarmJonai FarmsOld Mill RoadRoly Poly Farm, and Woodstock Flour, the book includes a diverse range, from new vegetable farmers in it for their first year and those up to their 12th, pastured livestock farmers with full or partial value chain control, and the children of organic grain farmers who are carving out their spot on the farm by milling their own flour and selling it directly.

From WA to NSW, Tassie to far north Queensland, this ‘underground insurgency’ is gaining pace across Australia. Many run community-supported agriculture (CSA) models, sharing both the rewards and the risks of farming with a loyal community of members in a relationship that goes well beyond the transactional.

In the words of the world’s most famous farmer Joel Salatin:

“Few vocations are as foundational to civilization as farming.  Few vocations can destroy civilization as fast as farming.  That’s not a conundrum; it’s a real assessment of trajectory.  With the industrialization and centralization of farming, most people have adopted an “out of sight, out of mind” relationship with this foundational vocation.  Before the wrong trajectory extends too far, we all need to immerse ourselves in the stories of those who dare to challenge the orthodoxy; who dare to follow a different trajectory that benefits the soil, the people, and the planet.

This collection of transparent, personal vignettes into the lives of real people caressing real land producing real food and fiber touches all of us profoundly with the peaks and valleys of farming.  Better than fiction, these stories articulate reality; the reality of how, why, and where food and fiber enter our plates and homes.  Knowing something about our intersection with food and fiber is a starting point for earth stewardship.  Let the lessons begin.”

Charles Massy, author of the bestselling book Call of the Reed Warbler, a deeply engaging and inspiring look at the regenerative farming revolution in Australia, has this to say about Farming Democracy:

“Regenerative agriculture is bottom-up. It comprises an underground revolution which disempowers the big end of town and restores both farming and social democracy, along with individual sovereignty. The eight courageous farmers in this book reveal, warts and all, how this revolution is being enacted in Australia and world-wide. These examples are inspiring, powerfully democratic, regenerative, and truly healing of society and ourselves.”

AFSA is working to raise $24,640 by 15 December 2018 to fund publication, and has chosen to self publish in keeping with its democratic activities and commitment to helping the people control the means of production, maintaining full editorial control as well as raising funds to enable AFSA to continue its critical work to grow the food sovereignty movement in Australia and globally.

In addition to receiving a copy of the book early next year, one of the crowdfunding rewards on offer is a ticket to the inaugural Farm Day Out at Jonai Farms in March 2019! It promises to be a great day on the farm listening to the alluring tunes of local Victorian musicians Freya Josephine Hollick, Sean McMahon, and Sal Kimber & The Rollin’ Wheel, while munching on delicious food grown in ethical and ecologically sound ways by one of a host of great food trucks, accompanied by some local beer, wine, or spirits…

The time to shine a light on the realities of farming, and to support the growing movement of small-scale agroecological farmers in Australia is now. Farming Democracy will be part how-to guide and part why-to inspiration to help everyone participate in radically transforming the food system.