City of Boroondara Council Urban Agriculture Policy Snapshot

City of Boroondara Policy Snapshot

Background and Overview

The City of Boroondara is located in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne and was formed in June 1994 from the amalgamation of the Cities of Kew, Camberwell and Hawthorn. With less than ten per cent of the municipality available to the community as open space, much of the practice of urban agriculture occurs in private spaces. The Snapshot of Local Food Growing and Sharing Initiatives (2015) reveals many examples of outstanding urban agricultural (both food growing and distribution) practices taking place in the municipality. Council (which has a designated Senior Sustainability Officer) has been actively fostering the growth of local food in Boroondara in a number of ways, that include:

(Image via Boroondara.vic.gov.au)

(Image via Boroondara.vic.gov.au)

  1. Regular ‘how to’ workshops as part of the Living for our Future sustainable living program.
  2. Collaborating with the community to establish the Ashburton Community Garden (2009), the Winton Road Food Forest – Stage 1 (2012), and the Ashburton Shopping Centre salad planter boxes (2013).
  3. Providing access to grant funding (up to $10,000) for suitable projects through the Community Strengthening Grants Program (Note: four of the eight recipients of a 2014 Sustainable Communities annual grant had establishment of a food garden as a key aspect of their project proposal).
  4. Promoting community awareness of local ‘food swaps’ and other emerging initiatives (e.g. Kew Fruit Squad).
  5. Facilitating the provision of community gardens through a number of its neighbourhood houses and community centres.

In addition to the documents and resources detailed below, within the Environmental Sustainability tab on the Council website, there is a designated page for all things related to growing and sharing local food. The page includes information on;

  • The Community Gardens Booklet (pdf)
  • The Growing and Sharing Local Food in Boroondara – Community Consultation Report (pdf)
  • The Growing and Sharing Local Food in Boroondara – Discussion Paper (pdf)
  • A Snapshot of Local Food Growing and Sharing Initiatives (pdf)
  • A directory of active local groups involved in growing and/or sharing fresh food
  • A directory of local community gardens (with private growing plots)
  • A list of links to useful resources and groups (3000 Acres, Sustainable Gardening Australia Website, My Home Harvest & others)
  • A link to groups growing and distributing locally grown food across the municipality

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

Name of Document Reference to Urban Agriculture and Related Areas
Community Gardens Booklet (2016) The Community Gardens Booklet booklet provides useful information, resources and guidance to community members that are interested in establishing a new community garden in Boroondara. The booklet includes the process for working with Council if you’re proposing a new community garden.

(City on Boroondara, 2016)

Growing and Sharing Local Food in Boroondara – Community Consultation Report (2015) / Growing and Sharing Local Food in Boroondara – Discussion Paper (2015) / Snapshot of Local Food Growing and Sharing Initiatives (2015) In June 2015, Council consulted with the community on the discussion paper; Growing and Sharing Local Food in Boroondara, and an accompanying booklet; Snapshot of Local Food Growing and Sharing Initiatives. The consultation aimed to;

  • Gauge the level of community interest and awareness about the diversity of existing opportunities for growing (and sharing) of local food.
  • Outline issues for consideration and seek feedback about how Council might work with the community to foster continued expansion of local food growing (and sharing) opportunities.

The Growing and Sharing Local Food in Boroondara Community Consultation Report revealed that there was a high level of interest in local food growing and sharing, and that many members of the community were already actively involved in growing and sharing food. The Discussion Paper outlined;

  • Definitions of local food and local food systems
  • Benefits of growing local
  • How food is being grown locally
  • How that food is being shared
  • Examples of innovation in the community
  • List of existing community gardens
  • Priorities for future community based food gardening
  • Proposals for new community-based food gardens on Council managed land & an overview of the proposal process
  • Issues for consideration
  • Building support and capacity for the local food system

The supplementary booklet ‘A Snapshot of Local Food Growing and Sharing Initiatives’ captures the diversity of current local food activities and opportunities.

(City on Boroondara, 2015,a,b)

Health and Wellbeing Plan (2013-2017)

Health and Wellbeing Plan (Image via Boroondara.vic.gov.au)

Health and Wellbeing Plan (Image via Boroondara.vic.gov.au)

The issue of food security is raised in; Theme 3: Equitable access for all of the Health and Wellbeing Plan. Strategic objective 3; to support initiatives that address disadvantage, which seeks to ‘increase access to safe, affordable, culturally appropriate and nutritionally adequate food’.

Council recognises the link between household income, food, and health outcomes. The strategy states ‘the right to safe, culturally appropriate and nutritionally adequate food is fundamental to human health, where a lack of access to food is driven by poor housing, low income and social isolation.’

The strategy is closely tied to several other council policies that include; The Economic Development Strategy 2009-16, , Boroondara Community Strengthening Grants Policy 2013, City of Boroondara Homelessness Protocol 2009, Social Housing Policy 200 –11

(City of Boroondara, 2013)

Open Spaces Strategy (2013-2026) This strategy provides an overarching framework to manage Boroondara’s public open space network to the year 2026. Provision for new community gardens on Council managed public open space is considered in the Boroondara Open Space Strategy.

In the context that less than 10% of the municipality is available to the community as open space, the Strategy notes that ‘community gardens have positive features including growing food sustainably and social connectedness, but do restrict access for other purposes. Based on the fact that community gardens can operate successfully on public land other than open space, future proposals for community gardens are said to now be assessed with this knowledge in mind.’ The Strategy recognises that under-utilised privately owned land (such as VicTrack owned land) should be considered as future sites for community gardens

(City of Boroondara, 2013a)

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. 2016, City of Boroondara, Community Gardens Booklet, Available From; https://www.boroondara.vic.gov.au/our-city/environmental-sustainability/sustainable-living
  2. 2015, City of Boroondara, Growing and Sharing Local Food in Boroondara – Community Consultation Report, Available From; https://www.boroondara.vic.gov.au/our-city/environmental-sustainability/sustainable-living
  3. 2015a, City of Boroondara, Growing and Sharing Local Food in Boroondara – Discussion Paper, Available From; https://www.boroondara.vic.gov.au/our-city/environmental-sustainability/sustainable-living
  4. 2015b, City of Boroondara, Snapshot of Local Food Growing and Sharing Initiatives, Available From; https://www.boroondara.vic.gov.au/our-city/environmental-sustainability/sustainable-living
  5. 2013, City of Boroondara, Health and Wellbeing Plan (2013-2017), Available From; https://www.boroondara.vic.gov.au/your_council/local-laws-policies/community/health-wellbeing-plan
  6. 2013a, City of Boroondara, Open Spaces Strategy (2013-2026), Available From; https://www.boroondara.vic.gov.au/your_council/building-planning/strategic-planning/open-space-and-environment/open-space-strategy

 

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

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