City of Whittlesea Urban Agriculture Policy Snapshot

City of Whittlesea Policy Snapshot

Background and Overview

The City of Whittlesea is located in the outer Northern suburbs of Melbourne and is comprised of both rural and urban communities. The municipality has a diverse range of natural assets including rare native grasslands, local waterways and significant animal species like the Growling Grass Frog. During 2010 and 2011 the City of Whittlesea grew by 8675 residents (a 5.6 per cent increase), the second largest annual growth for a Victorian municipality (2012, City of Whittlesea).

Significant population growth over the last decade has placed increasing pressure on the natural environment of Melbourne’s urban fringe, and despite supporting the growth of the local economy of Whittlesea, it has posed challenges that have significant environmental impacts.

The ongoing demand for housing, increased resource use and waste production, puts enormous pressure on our environment. Early attempts to address these concerns is reflected in the City of Whittlesea’s Local Conservation Strategy (LCS) (2000), which was the framework for all local conservation and environmental activities. More recently, The City of Whittlesea Environmental Sustainability Strategy 2012-2022 (ESS) explores the current and emerging sustainability issues facing the City of Whittlesea. In relation to urban agriculture specifically, the City of Whittlesea has a Community Gardens Policy (2015), and within the priority area of land management in ESS addresses issues relating to food security and food sovereignty.

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

Name of Document Reference to Urban Agriculture and Related Areas
Community Gardens Policy (2015)









This document is intended to support the establishment of community gardens in the municipality and to encourage the development of community gardens on appropriate private and Council controlled land. Key principles that underpin this policy:

  • Community is responsible for the operation of community gardens
  • Community gardens improve the health and wellbeing of the community
  • Community gardens provide a setting for inter-generational, cross-cultural exchange across all abilities
  • Community gardens are multifunctional spaces that provide a range of physical, social, economic, cultural and environmental benefits
  • Community gardens will abide within existing Council laws and policies, including; Disability Action Plan, Council’s Municipal Laws, Public Health and Wellbeing Act and all planning permit conditions

The Policy makes indirect references to food security and food sovereignty through recognizing that “community gardens also have the opportunity to promote sustainable gardening practices, reduce food miles, support local economies, increase community resilience to climate change and meet a growing need to access fresh, affordable and culturally-appropriate food”.

(2015, City of Whittlesea)

Environmental Sustainability Strategy 2012-2022



The Strategy provides the City of Whittlesea with a framework to work towards a sustainable city that “supports and protects biodiversity, ecological processes and a healthy and sustainable population.” (2012, City of Whittlesea). There are seven priority areas, all of which have defined aims, threats, barriers, opportunities, strategies & approaches, and include;

  • Water
  • Land
  • Climate Change
  • Biodiversity
  • Urban Development and Built Environments
  • Waste Management and Resource Recovery (Mentions of Composting and Worm Farms)
  • Change Strategies

Specific mention is made to food security in the priority area of land, the aim of which is to support sustainable land management practices for “social and economic gains without damaging its quality, natural values and the ecosystem services it provides for the community.” The strategy recognizes these issues in the context of food security, population growth and climate change.

Council supports rural landowners to manage their land more sustainably through incentive schemes such as the Sustainable Land Management Rebate Scheme and Environmental Works Grant. Council also engages with landowners through Pest Plant Local Law campaigns and by reviewing rural planning applications to ensure that development in those areas are sustainable and do not contribute to the further decline of  natural resources.

(2015a, City of Whittlesea)

Review of Existing or Developing Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Strategies


Snapshot & Summary  
Strategy / Framework / NA N/A
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? No


  1. 2016, City of Whittlesea, Plans, Policies and Strategies, Available from:
  2. 2015, City of Whittlesea, Community Gardens Policy, Available From:
  3. 2015a, City of Whittlesea, Sustainable Land Management, Available From:
  4. 2012, City of Whittlesea, Environmental Sustainability Strategy (2012-2022), Available From:

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

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