Local governments have a growing concern with urban agriculture. The Local Government Urban Agriculture Network responds to this concern and supports staff across different municipal councils to share knowledge and experience. Its areas of focus include developing guidelines for community gardens, edible planter-boxes and edible verges.
The Food Alliance assumed responsibility for facilitating this network in 2013. Since then its membership has expanded to more than 20 Councils. The scope of work has expanded from urban agriculture to local food and food system plans, strategies and policies. To support this work, different Councils host meetings on a rotating basis.
Network meetings provide an invaluable opportunity for staff to share research and project outcomes. Members discuss emerging issues and trends. They learn from experiences across different local governments, and build their own networks
Key Emerging Challenges
The most important emerging challenges have been identified as follows:
- How can we work together effectively to secure the inclusion of urban agriculture within the state-planning provisions?
- What does it mean to create an enabling framework for supporting diverse forms of urban and peri-urban agriculture?
- How can we most effectively engage with key internal stakeholders – senior managers and councillors> In particular, how can we engender understanding of the importance of food systems issues?
- How can we support the realisation of core municipal goals across economic development, health and well-being, environment and sustainability, and community strengthening?
A handful of inner-city councils began the conversation in Melbourne in 2012. Building on this beginning, the rapid expansion of the Network reveals the high levels of interest in food-systems work. This Australian-first conversation is expanding. It promotes an authentically whole-of-system approach to food and agriculture based on key values and principles: health, fairness, sustainability and resilience. These principles are widely shared across the Victorian and Australian community.
For more information about this network and to get involved, please contact the Executive Director of Sustain, Nick Rose: NicholasR@Angliss.edu.au / M: 0414 497 819.