Surf Coast Shire Council Urban Agriculture Policy Snapshot

Surf Coast Shire Council Policy Snapshot

Background and Overview

(Image via Surf Coast Open Spaces Strategy)

(Image via Surf Coast Open Spaces Strategy)

Surf Coast Shire is located in the southern part of Victoria, about 125 kilometres south west of Melbourne and 60 kilometres south west of Geelong. It includes the towns of Aireys Inlet, Anglesea, Lorne, Moriac, Torquay and Winchelsea. Proximity to the coast accounts for the pride taken by Council and the community in its dedication to the preservation of its magnificent natural environment.

Surf Coast Council has a number of policies and strategies that address local food and urban agriculture, without having a holistic document that addresses it specifically. In addition to these documents, the Surf Coast Shire Council website has a number of resources and links that relate to food and urban agriculture. The ’10 things to do to live more sustainable’ resource under the Living Green tab lists ‘growing your own food’ at number four, and provides a link to ‘getting involved’ with community gardens in the municipality. Council also has a number of publications relating to plants and landscaping.


As of July 2016 Surf Coast Shire Council has been advertising for an environment and sustainability officer


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

Name of Document Reference to Urban Agriculture and Related Areas
Open Spaces Strategy (2016-2025) The Surf Coast Shire Council Open Space Strategy (2016-2025) sets the direction for open space planning and provision within the municipality. Under the Emerging trends, issues and opportunities section of the strategy, there is mention of edible landscapes, where through ‘supporting urban agriculture (e.g. community gardens) Council recognises the benefits that edible landscapes can provide’.

(Image via Surf Coast Open Spaces Strategy)

(Image via Surf Coast Open Spaces Strategy)










(Surf Coast Shire Council, 2016c)

Health and Wellbeing Policy (2013-2017) Within the Health and Wellbeing Policy (2013-2017), the Health and Wellbeing Snapshot recognises the benefits of urban agriculture (community gardens in particular) in contributing to greater food availability, quality, access, and safety. The reduction in food miles and increases in healthy eating are also recognised as outcomes of urban food production and urban food systems. As part of the theme of creating Healthy Engaged Communities, Council objective 1.5 aims to promote sustainable living through a number food related actions, specifically;

  • The development (with community groups), support, and promotion of food security initiatives, with measurement including; activity at community garden food swaps, attendance/ sales at farmers market, and local eateries advertising ‘local sourced foods’.

(Surf Coast Shire Council, 2013)

Council Plan (2013-2017) (Updated 30 June 2016) Food growing and urban agriculture is mentioned several times throughout the Council Plan, specifically under the themes of environment and economic development and tourism. Under the theme of environment, Objective 1.3; ‘Leadership in innovative environmental practices’, is closely tied in with urban agriculture and food security;

  • Outcome – Develop initiatives with other community groups to enhance food security internally and externally
  • Measure – Deliver a local food program document.
  • Strategies – (1.3.4)  Develop initiatives with other community groups to enhance sustainable local food production and consumption.
  • Research – (1.3.1)   Where feasible to deliver opportunities for enhanced organic waste diversion and recycling.

Local food is also mentioned under economic development and tourism; “Our hinterland, with its agricultural and aesthetic attributes is starting to play a growing role in the development of Surf Coast Shire’s economy particularly in local food and niche tourism opportunities.“

(Surf Coast Shire Council, 2013a)

Climate Change Strategy (2011-2016) The strategy strongly recognizes the link between climate change, food insecurity, and the need to create more resilient urban environments. It provides a number of definitions that include; Food Security, Peak Oil, Resilience, Climate Change, Adaptation, and Biodiversity. Food security and food systems is directly or indirectly mentioned in many of the key Council action areas that include;

  • Natural resource management
  • Asset Management
  • Economic Development
  • Stormwater
  • Transport
  • Water Use
  • Resource Recovery and Waste Management
  • Land use and development

A discussion paper was intended to accompany the Adapting to Climate change objective of the strategy . The proposed discussion paper on climate change was set to include (but not limited to) assessment in the areas of; Land use planning, Asset management, Emergency management, Risk Management, Open space, Biodiversity, Vulnerable people, Tourism, Agriculture, Food security, and Peak oil.

(Surf Coast Shire Council, 2011)

Edible Landscapes Initiatives (2014)


Edible Landscapes Initiatives is an example of Council delivering on its Council Plan (2013-2017) commitment to develop initiatives with community groups to enhance food security internally and externally.

(Surf Coast Shire Council, 2014)

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



  1. 2016, Surf Coast Shire Council, 10 things to do to live more sustainably’, Available from;
  2. 2016a, Surf Coast Shire Council, Get Involved – Community Gardens, Available from;
  3. 2016c, Surf Coast Shire Council, Open Spaces Strategy (2016-2025), Available from;
  4. 2014, Surf Coast Shire Council, Edible Landscapes Initiatives, Available from;
  5. 2013, Surf Coast Shire Council, Health and Wellbeing Policy (2013-2017), Available from;
  6. 2013a, Surf Coast Shire Council, Council Plan (2013-2017), Available from;
  7. 2011, Surf Coast Shire Council, Climate Change Strategy (2011-2016), Available from;

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

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