Valuing environmentally sustainable agriculture? Food and water concerns, production literacy, and consumption behaviours in rural-regional Australia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Although Australia currently enjoys a high level of food security, increasing climate change pressure on the planet’s driest landmass which is governed by little climate change mitigating legislation, makes future food security tenuous in globalised, industrial food production systems. This article presents primary data exploring the salience of food and water concerns, compared with related knowledge, affecting agricultural product consumption. Online survey respondents (employees at a large organisation that states its values creating environmentally sustainable rural-regional communities while educating health, science, and agricultural professionals) demonstrated low pro-environmental sustainability literacy and behaviour regarding food and water consumption choices, despite having sustainability concerns and high level of education, including formal environmental science training. Data are contextualised amid interdisciplinary research and theory to further sociologically understand knowledge gaps about food choices and (un)awareness of conventional agricultural food/water production implications affecting socioeconomic and environmental sustainability. Given expansive literature argues sustainability initiatives must derive from individual and private sector action-taking, rather than await governmental change, the article argues policy and practice changes must prioritise knowledge-action gaps and value divergences. Research interrogating why low literacy about sustainable production and consumption practices persist is advocated to enhance consumer awareness and behaviour following internationally recommended pro-environment action-taking necessary for sustained global food/water security that facilitates agricultural sector capacity to support human and environmental health.

Original languageEnglish
Article number(2)
JournalFuture of Food: Journal on Food, Agriculture and Society
Volume10
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022

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