Baw Baw Shire Council Urban Agriculture Policy Snapshot

Baw Baw Shire Council Policy Snapshot

Background and Overview

 

The Shire of Baw Baw is located in the eastern part of the state and includes the towns of Drouin, Longwarry, Neerim South, Trafalgar, Warragul and Yarragon. Baw Baw Shire Council does not currently have a holistic policy relating to urban agriculture or food security, but is currently formalising the community driven policy that was developed by a number of active individuals, businesses and groups within the Baw Baw community.

Baw Baw Shire Council in partnership with the Central West Gippsland Primary Care Partnership (CWGPCP) have been supporting a food security officer since 2013, and have continued support for this role until the end of 2016. Working closely with the community of Baw Baw, the primary function of the food security officer is to raise awareness and the promotion of ways to increase food security in their region. As part of this role, a number of valuable contributions were made in 2015 through the Food For All Baw Baw project including (2015, Baw Baw Shire Council):

  • Longwarry ‘Let’s Talk About Food’ event with key speaker Dr John Tickell
  • Edible landscapes developed in Longwarry
  • The Healthier Oils project; which supported local food businesses in switching to healthier cooking oils for food preparation
  • Seven Community and School gardens implemented
  • Launch of the Baw Baw Food Movement (Formalization of community driven policy)

The formalisation of the Baw Baw Food Movement within Council represents the recognition of the work done over a number of years to increase food education in the region around food sovereignty, and buying locally sourced, organic, ethical, seasonal produce. Created to unite food efforts across Baw Baw Shire, the Baw Baw Food Movement has become the official community led food policy for Baw Baw that now has over 50 members that includes farmers, food retailers (including the Baw Baw Food Hub), community members and groups. A strategic planning working group within Council (cross departmental) and the food security officer work closely with the community led Baw Baw Food Movement.

The strategic planning working group and the Baw Baw Food Movement comprise part of the Baw Baw Food Security Coalition, known as Food For All Baw Baw (FABB), which consists of 4 meeting groups that in addition include the Food Security Coalition Steering Committee and the Baw Baw Emergency Food Relief Network. These groups bring together local government, community health, emergency relief agencies, neighbourhood houses and the community to work across the food security continuum (2016b, CWGPCP). The overarching aim is to improve food security and increase access to healthy food in food insecure target groups/populations in Baw Baw by:

  • Increasing local planning and action
  • Implementing evidence based interventions
  • Supporting community led food solutions

Image via CWGPCP, 2016b

Baw Baw Shire has community gardens and orchards that continue to form all over the municipality in places like Jindivick, Drouin, Longwarry, Trafalgar, Warragul and Yarragon. Council does not currently have an official strategy or policy relating to community gardens, but through the allocation of funds and the resources availability on the Council website they support the growth of these gardens in the municipality. The website recognizes community gardens as places to provide significant opportunities for people to connect, build skills, enjoy the outdoors and plant, grow, produce and eat their own food. Council provides a number of resources and information on how to get in contact with gardens and groups in the municipality. Baw Baw Shire Council has provided significant contributions to garden projects in the past, seen most recently in a $39,400 contribution to Growing Together Baw Baw who has just completed the Eastern Park Community Garden (2016, Baw Baw Shire Council).

Review of Policies, Plans and Procedures Addressing Urban Agriculture and Related Areas

    Name of Document                                                      Reference to Urban Agriculture of Related Areas

Public Health and Wellbeing Plan (2013-2017) The Public Health and Wellbeing Plan has to a commitment to support healthy eating through leadership and involvement in improving local food security issues through planning and development.

Objective 9 of the 11 key objectives identified to implement Being Healthy in Baw Baw Plan promises to “Lead initiatives that build a local healthy, accessible food system.” The strategies subsequently identified to achieve this objective include;

1.     Initiate and support programs and activities that result in more access to healthy food.

2.     Develop new community networks and partnerships and coordinated action.

(2013, Baw Baw Shire Council)

Review of Existing or Developing Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Strategies

Snapshot & Summary  
Strategy / Framework / NA Framework
Does the Strategy or Framework integrate existing policy documents that explicitly address or make reference to urban agriculture and related area? NA
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? NA
Does the Strategy or Framework make reference to and integrate the objectives of The Municipal Health and Wellbeing Act (2008) into its framework? NA
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? NA
Does the Strategy or Framework recognise the interconnectedness of urban food systems (from production, processing, distribution, access, consumption, nutrient/waste capturing, and recycling)? NA
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. NA
Is there an educational component of the Strategy or Framework? NA
Is the Strategy being overseen by a dedicated Food Policy Liaison Officer? NA

References:

  1. 2013, Baw Baw Shire Council, Health and Wellbeing Policy (2013-2017), Available From; http://www.bawbawshire.vic.gov.au/Our-Community/Community-Health-and-Wellbeing
  2. 2015, Baw Baw Shire Council, Food Security a Priority for Council, Available From; http://www.bawbawshire.vic.gov.au/Latest-News/Food-Security-a-Priority-for-Council
  3. 2016, Baw Baw Shire Council, Community Gardens, Available From; – http://www.bawbawshire.vic.gov.au/Our-Community/Get-Involved/Community-Gardens
  4. 2016a, Baw Baw Food Hub, Our Principles and Values, Available From; https://bawbawfoodhub.org.au/about/our-principles-values
  5. 2016b, Central West Gippsland Primary Care Partnership (CWGPCP), Food Security – Baw Baw Food Security Coalition, Available From; http://www.centralwestgippslandpcp.com/food-security/

Henry Crawford, Sustain: The Australian Food Network, 2016.

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