Australia Sustainable Food, Environment, & Social Systems 2017

Blog site for the 2017 MSU study abroad program.

09-Kit F.

My topic over the trip focused on if a farmer in Australia would be able to farm sustainably and still be able to make a profit. First we need to define what it means to grow food in a sustainable manner.  In this sense it means to use practices and technologies that reduce clearing of new land, the emissions of green house gasses, for example, altering the diet of dairy cattle to produce less methane, and to reduce runoff from fertilizers and pesticides which can cause algal blooms that can choke out all the life in rivers and streams.  Over the course of my travels I discovered that yes not only could a farm grow using sustainable methods, but they could do better than a traditional farm that sprays large amounts of fertilizer and pesticides. This is due to the fact that it is highly cost effective to use methods that protect the biosphere, the world that we live in, as it means instead of using new land and new fertilizers, you can reuse what you already have more effectively. For example, when we visited the PineCliff horse farm, they had one of the largest worm farms in the world, that allows them to process 1200 tons of manure a year that would otherwise contribute large quantities of methane gas to the green house gasses already in the atmosphere.  Sustainable farms are also needed, as they help to serve a big market of new consumers, environmentally conscious parents.  These are parents who are concerned as to how far their children’s food travel, and how it is grown. without these farmers and technology, there would be a market that would be empty, and the world would be much worse off without them.


My name is Christopher Fahey, but everyone calls me Kit, and I am a Food Industry Management major here at MSU. I am from a town called St. Charles which is about an hour outside of Chicago in Illinois. I am a member of the Spartan Marching Band and Spartan Brass as a Tuba player, and currently work at the MSU surplus store.

One of my biggest inspirations for wanting to travel to Australia is both my dad and Granddad, who always told me stories of their travels through the world, and hopefully I can have stories of my own to tell my kids. When I was young I had always been fascinated with Australia and the wildlife there. When I started working on a farm at home It peaked my interest as to what other people had to eat and cultivate in other countries, especially in Australia as it seemed so foreign to me as to how they could possibly eat anything down there. This is the perfect opportunity for me to learn more about not only about the agricultural practices down there, but how they are also protecting this fantastic environment.

Research Question:

As a Food Industry Management major, my research question would be about the methods used for both the production and distribution of agricultural goods, but also the impact that the food supply system has on the environment and how to minimize that impact.


How do the sustainable practices here impact yield? Do these practices increase or decrease the quality of the product?

What are the benefits of using this practice over another in terms of environmental impact? Are there negative aspects to this practice that could impact the environment or quality of the product in a negative way and if so what could be done about it?

Do more sustainable processes impact the prices of the products made here? If more sustainable business practices are more expensive do you consider them still worth doing based on the positive environmental impact there?


“FOODmap: An Analysis of the Australian Food Supply Chain.” Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Mar. 2017.

The Drum By Tony Eastley. “The Future of Our Food Supply Is a Moveable Feast.” ABC News. N.p., 03 Mar. 2013. Web. 31 Mar. 2017.

“Policy Briefing Paper: Australian Food Systems.” Future Directions International. N.p., 27 Jan. 2016. Web. 31 Mar. 2017.


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