A vegetable grower has welcomed a call to secure federal funds for a major new national campaign to address the trend of declining vegetable consumption, with the average Australian eating around 13 kilograms fewer vegetables per year than 20 years ago.
The idea comes from Ausveg, the peak body representing the nation's vegetable and potato growers.
North west Tasmanian farmer Mike Badock, a National Farmers' Federation Horticulture Council Tasmanian representative and former Ausveg chair, said he supports a fresh campaign to get people eating more veggies.
"There used to be a promotion telling people to eat three fruits and five vegetables a day for their health, but on average, people were only consuming two veggies per day. We argued that if we could increase it to five, we more than doubled our industry, and that's still relevant today as a great health initiative as well," Mr Badcock said.
He said to start young teaching kids how to grow and prepare vegetables with some good initiatives already happening in Tassie around school farms and school gardens, getting interest.
"We've got to recreate the excitement for vegetables, promoting the health benefits and local community hubs where people can buy and sell and bring in surplus product to distribute especially to people in need. With people eating so much fast food, we've got to make fresh vegetables as available as fast food," Mr Badcock said.
Driving increased consumption of vegetables and potatoes, developing more effective businesses, and becoming a more resilient industry were the core priorities of Ausveg's 2022 federal election priorities published well ahead of a poll date announcement.
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Ausveg chief executive Michael Coote said it includes a range of issues to help the industry recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and place it in the best possible position for the future.
"A key ask will be to secure funding for a national behavioural change campaign that will address the trend of declining vegetable consumption."
He said according to the Fruit & Vegetable Consortium's "compelling business case to support a behavioural change campaign, increasing vegetable consumption by a serve per day would conservatively generate an increase in industry returns of $1.3 billion per annum shared by all parties along the food supply chain."
Mr Coote said it would lead to improved health and well-being outcomes and generate as much as $1 billion economic value after 11 years to taxpayers and governments.
He said every new job created in the Australian food industry supported an additional position in the regional economy.
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