City of Darebin Council Urban Agriculture Overview
The City of Darebin is one of the leading local governments in Melbourne and nationally in the field of urban agriculture and urban food production.
Background and Overview
Although a relatively new area of policy work for the Council, the Darebin community has long been engaged in backyard and community gardening, and other forms of urban agriculture. The community has therefore demonstrated strong leadership of and support for urban food production and sustainable food initiatives in the municipality, and worked with the Council to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes. The strategies, plans, policies and partnerships relating to urban agriculture represent a complex understanding and recognition of the benefits it brings to the community in terms of social, cultural, economic, and environmental outcomes.
Review of Policies, Plans and Procedures Addressing Urban Agriculture and Related Areas
|Name of Document||Reference to Urban Agriculture and Related Areas|
|Food Security Policy (2010)
|The Policy outlines Council’s role and commitment to improving food security in the municipality. This policy is intended to provide Council with a framework that can guide local level action. The document covers the local and global context of food security, and Council specific information relating to the extent of food insecurity, vulnerable populations, challenges, barriers, vision, principles, scope and a proposed framework.
(City of Darebin, 2010)
|Urban Food Production Strategy (2014-2018)
|The Strategy describes how Council will work together with the Darebin community to realise a shared vision for urban food production which “enhances health, well-being and community connectedness, and which respects the limits of our natural resources” (City of Darebin, 2014). The Strategy has identified four key actions areas out of the consultation process, and from research into urban food production approaches and opportunities in a local government context. These are:
While encouraging and supporting food growing in Darebin is an objective, this Strategy is not intended to determine how Darebin can become self-sufficient in food production. Rather it seeks to integrate a wide range of local food initiatives into our urban environment to help increase awareness of the links between food, health and living more sustainably.
Related Council Documents: Communal Food Garden (Community Garden) Assessment Guidelines, Sustainable Gardening in Darebin (2011).
(City of Darebin, 2014)
|Urban Food Production Strategy and Implementation Plan (2014-2018)||The Implementation Plan builds upon the Urban Food Production Strategy to outline key tasks, measures and feedback mechanisms beside each action area. There is high integration between action areas, strategic actions, tasks, responsible units, timeframe, costs and measures.
(City of Darebin, 2014a)
|GreenStreets Streetscape Strategy (2012-2020)
|Reflects an ongoing commitment to urban agriculture through the following actions relating to urban food;
(City of Darebin, 2012)
|Draft Darebin Waste and Litter Strategy (2015-2025)
| Tackling issues around food waste through:
Review of Existing or Developing Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Strategies
The potential for local food production to bring positive benefits to the social, built, natural and economic environment in the municipality has been recognised in the Council Plan and a number of other council documents that relate to climate, water management, waste management and the environment generally (figure 1). Council committed to developing an Urban Food Production Strategy in both the 2013–2017 Health and Wellbeing Plan and 2012–2020 Greenstreets Streetscape Strategy. The Strategy is designed to link closely with both of those documents and their major objectives, and to complement the 2010–2014 Food Security Policy.
The City of Darebin Urban Food Production Strategy and Implementation Plan (2014-2018) represents a complex understanding of urban agriculture and its role in creating sustainable urban food systems. The four strategic action areas (Home Food Growing, Community Gardens, Other Urban Food Production Models, Integration) reflects the extension of urban agriculture from once being only recognised as encompassing community gardens, to including food forests, city farms, rooftop gardens, food and labour sharing programs, community food enterprises (2014, 2014a, City of Darebin).
The Strategy recognises the social, economic, and environmental outcomes of urban food production, specifically in the creation of a ‘Community Based Local Food System’, and reflects a holistic understanding of urban agriculture and urban food systems (figure 2). City of Darebin has committed to supporting a wide range of local food system initiatives, which engage a diverse demographic, have a strong educational component, and deliver benefits to communities with the greatest need (2014, City of Darebin). This is seen through the communities access to links and resources on the Darebin website, and the creation of Darebin Food Harvest Network, which supports the Strategy and its implementation, and overall effectiveness.
|Snapshot & Summary|
|Strategy / Framework / NA||Strategy|
|Does the Strategy or Framework integrate existing policy documents that explicitly address or make reference to urban agriculture and related area?||YES|
|Does the Strategy or Framework make reference to the Council Plan and appear to be integrated into the achievement of the Plan’s major objectives?||YES|
|Does the Strategy or Framework make reference to and integrate the objectives of The Municipal Health and Wellbeing Act (2008) into its framework?||YES|
|Does the Strategy or Framework recognise and address the ecological, economic, environmental, social welfare, cultural, and social benefits of urban agriculture and local food systems?||YES|
|Does the Strategy or Framework recognise the interconnectedness of urban food systems (from production, processing, distribution, access, consumption, nutrient/waste capturing, and recycling)?||YES|
|Does the Strategy or Framework have an action or implementation plan, a set of indicators, or feedback mechanisms that will allow it to evaluate its development, achievements, successes, obstacles, barriers and lessons.||YES|
|Is there an educational component of the Strategy or Framework?||YES|
|Is the Strategy being overseen by a dedicated Food Policy Liaison Officer?||YES|
- 2010, Food Security Policy (2010), City of Darebin, viewed 29 March 2016, available from; http://www.darebin.vic.gov.au/Your-Council/How-council-works/Organisation-and-Performance
- 2011, Sustainable Gardening In Darebin (2011), City of Darebin, viewed 29 March 2016, available from; http://www.darebin.vic.gov.au/Your-Council/How-council-works/Organisation-and-Performance
- 2012, GreenStreets Streetscape Strategy (2012-2020), City of Darebin, viewed 29 March 2016, available from; http://www.darebin.vic.gov.au/Your-Council/How-council-works/Organisation-and-Performance
- 2013, Health and Wellbeing Plan (2013-2017), City of Darebin, viewed 29 March 2016, available from; http://www.darebin.vic.gov.au/Your-Council/How-council-works/Organisation-and-Performance
- 2014, Urban Food Production Strategy (2014-2018), City of Darebin, viewed 29 March 2016, available from; http://www.darebin.vic.gov.au/Your-Council/How-council-works/Organisation-and-Performance
- 2014a, Urban Food Production Strategy Implementation Plan (2014-2018), City of Darebin, viewed 29 March 2016, available from; http://www.darebin.vic.gov.au/Your-Council/How-council-works/Organisation-and-Performance
- 2015, Draft Darebin Waste and Litter Strategy (2015-2025), City of Darebin, viewed 29 March 2016, available from; http://www.darebin.vic.gov.au/Your-Council/How-council-works/Organisation-and-Performance
- 2016, Darebin Food Harvest Network Website, viewed 29 March 2016, available from; http://www.darebinfoodharvestnetwork.org.au
Henry Crawford, Sustain: The Australian Food Network, 2016.