City of Nillumbik Urban Agriculture Policy Snapshot

Nillumbik Policy Snapshot

Background and Overview

Nillumbik’s population of 64,219 live amongst a fragmented urban and peri-urban landscape in close-knit communities, which range from typical urban settings to remote  bush properties. There are over 300 hectares of nature and recreation reserves, which does not include some areas of the Kinglake National Park in the north of the Shire. These reserves provide an important refuge for Nillumbik’s unique range of plants and animals, and are places where residents can spend time with nature and enjoy a number of cultural and recreational activities.

Nillumbik has several detailed Council documents that relate specifically to the environment; regarding local flora and fauna, biodiversity, climate change, water, and green living. In addition, Nillumbik’s Community Garden Policy attempts to develop practical knowledge of sustainable living practices, as well as building community connection and resilience (Nillumbik, 2015). The Nillumbik Community Garden Guidelines and the Planter Box Guidelines are the companion documents to this policy. Nillumbik Shire Council is involved in a wide range of local food initiatives which are summarised in the diagram below.

Local Food Initiatives (Image via Nillumbik Community Gardens Policy, 2015).

Local Food Initiatives  Nillumbik Community Gardens Policy, 2015).

There are a number of highly active community groups within Nillumbik that are involved in a range of activates relating to food and the environment. One of the most active is Local Food Connect, who for instance currently facilitate more than 10 food swaps in and around the Nillumkin municapaility (Local Food Connect, 2016)

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

Name of Document Reference to Urban Agriculture and Related Areas
Biodiversity Strategy (2012) The Nillumbik Biodiversity Strategy provides the strategic direction for biodiversity management across Nillumbik to inform programs, standards and targets for Council. The key objectives which guide the strategic implementation of this vision in Nillumbik are:

  • Improve monitoring, knowledge and information relating to significant species, communities and ecological processes
  • Conserve, maintain and enhance ecosystem services and processes
  • Improve decision-making and target investments to conserve biodiversity
  • Create a consistent and practical response to fire management and biodiversity recovery after bushfire
  • Support the community to take action to protect and enhance biodiversity.

(Nillumbik, 2012)

Climate Change Action Plan (2016-2020) The Shire of Nillumbik recognises that climate change is one of the most serious challenges facing our popuation. As an action to mitigate the impacts of climate change, council will continue to offer and support programs that promote and support businesses that produce food locally, specifically through:

  • Agricultural Advisory Committee
  • Land management services
  • Food mapping and marketing
  • Farmers’ markets
  • Open Farm Days
  • The Landholder Expo.

(Nillumbik, 2016)

Community Gardens Policy (2015) Nillumbik Shire Council values community gardens as a unique form of open space, which is managed by the community for the production of food. This policy links to five goals of the Nillumbik Council Plan (2013-17):

  • To enable a better future for Nillumbik residents and encourage healthy, safe and resilient communities through the provision of quality services
  • To preserve and nurture the natural environment of the Green Wedge for future and current generations through responsible leadership and stewardship
  • To provide infrastructure and plan for a built environment which respects and preserves the unique character of the Green Wedge
  • To develop a prosperous local economy through partnerships with local business, governments and community, consistent with our Green Wedge values
  • To provide good governance, leadership and responsible financial management and to make decisions in an inclusive and transparent manner.

The Nillumbik Community Garden Guidelines and the Planter Box Guidelines are the companion documents to this policy. The Guidelines provide advice for groups wanting to start a community garden, the operational and management considerations of community gardening and the application process.

This Policy aligns with the community values as identified in Picture Nillumbik, the Green Wedge Management Plan 2010-2025, Environment Charter 2013, Climate Change Action Plan 2010-2015, Open Space Strategy 2005, Environmental Education Strategy 2012 and the Health and Wellbeing Plan 2013-2017.

(Nillumbik, 2015)

Home Harvest Booklet (2015) Produced in partnerships with Manningham, Nillumbik, and City of Whittlesea Councils with text by Sustainable Gardening Australia (SGA)

  • A multi-functional document that provides information on best practices for food growing in urban environments
  • Emphasis on design, product selection, maintenance, waste management, health and disease prevention
  • Information, promotion and support of alternate food systems (food swaps, farmers markets, etc.) in the form web-links

(Nillumbik, 2015a)

Practically Green at Home (2013) The document provides resources and information based on the premise that your home and the way you live are two of the main ways in which you can influence your impact on the planet. It is a guide for Nillumbik residents that has been designed as a resource to help create an environmentally sustainable home and lifestyle. It relates specifically to food systems and urban agriculture by addressing;

  • Landscaping and Garden Design
  • Sustainable Living; Sustainable purchasing, Waste & Recycling
  • Water Capture and Use

(Nillumbik, 2013)

Live Local Plant Local (6th edition) (2014) Live Local Plant Local was compiled to provide information to landowners on the locally indigenous plants commonly found and suitable for garden plantings.

(Nillumbik, 2014)

 Review of Existing or Developing Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Strategies  

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? N/A
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? N/A
Does the Strategy or Framework make reference to and integrate the objectives of The Municipal Health and Wellbeing Act (2008) into its framework? N/A
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? N/A
Does the Strategy or Framework recognise the interconnectedness of urban food systems (from production, processing, distribution, access, consumption, nutrient/waste capturing, and recycling)? N/A
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. N/A
Is there an educational component of the Strategy or Framework? N/A
Is the Strategy being overseen by a dedicated Food Policy Liaison Officer? N/A

References:

  1. 2016, Nillumbik, Climate Change Action Plan, Available From; http://www.nillumbik.vic.gov.au/Council/Council-publications/Strategies-policies-and-legislation
  2. 2016a, Nillumbik, Community Groups, Available From; http://www.nillumbik.vic.gov.au/Living-in/Get-involved/Community-groups
  3. 2015, Nillumbik, Community Gardens Policy, Available From; http://www.nillumbik.vic.gov.au/Council/Council-publications/Strategies-policies-and-legislation
  4. 2015a, Nillumbik, Home Harvest Booklet, Available From; http://www.nillumbik.vic.gov.au/Council/Council-publications/Strategies-policies-and-legislation
  5. 2013, Nillumbik, Practical Green Living at Home, Available From; http://www.nillumbik.vic.gov.au/Council/Council-publications/Strategies-policies-and-legislation
  6. 2014, Nillumbik, Live Local Plant Local, Available From; http://www.nillumbik.vic.gov.au/Council/Council-publications/Strategies-policies-and-legislation
  7. 2012, Nillumbik, Biodiversity Strategy, Available From: http://www.nillumbik.vic.gov.au/Council/Council-publications/Strategies-policies-and-legislation

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

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