2016 Conference: Alice Woodhead


The Circular Economy to Food Security

29-30 August 2016, Canberra

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Professor Alice Woodhead
Member, Australian-ASEAN Council

Alice-web532Alice Woodhead is a member of the Australian-ASEAN Council which aims to increase knowledge and promote Australia’s interests in South-East Asia. She is an award-winning agricultural social systems scientist, and has been Professor of Value Chains at the University of Southern Queensland since February 2015. She leads a research team at the Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development that specialises in developing value added agricultural products for export to Asia. Alice works closely with industry and government on product innovation and managing the complexity of value adding to agricultural commodities in rural Australia.

Previously, she was an independent consultant providing advice for industry on natural resources, supply chains, corporate social responsibility and sustainability practices. Alice also has extensive policy experience in both the public and private sectors. For nearly 20 years Alice occupied strategic research positions in agriculture for the New South Wales and Commonwealth Governments.

The Mega Cities, Mega Waste Last Mile Challenge


Across Asia, rapid growth of mega cities is driving change in retail outlets and consumer purchasing. Mega city economies are increasing the purchasing power of millions of people, creating the middle class of Asia. Many of these Asian consumers are internationally educated and adopting the food habits of western consumers. Increasingly, shelf-ready packaged meats, cheese and imported fruit and vegetables are now purchased from supermarkets rather than local wet markets.

In the past, the majority of Asian food wastage occurred post-harvest, during distribution to wet markets. Congested mega cities have limited cold storage systems and most food continues to be transported in non-refrigerated trucks.  Travel times have increased along congested roads and much imported and local food has lost its freshness long before it reaches the consumer. This results in very short shelf life and increased waste.

The systemic failures across food distribution and waste management systems are resulting in mega waste. Unsorted waste, from the last mile (from distribution centre to consumption), ends up in open landfills on the edge of cities. The challenge is immense. This session explores some of the technology and policy drivers that can help us to understand the problem including creating energy from waste, to helping consumers make informed choices.