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Localising food production: urban agriculture in Australia

Urban agriculture Farming Cities and towns Food industry and trade Australia

Urban agriculture is becoming an increasingly prominent topic in discussions on food security in Australia. More than 90 per cent of Australia’s population lives in urban centres and depends on a decreasing agricultural workforce to meet increasing food demand. Long food supply chains, although economically efficient, lead to poor nutritional and environmental outcomes for society. The re-localisation of food production will support and enhance Australia’s food system and has the potential to increase access to nutritious, affordable food for the most vulnerable. 

Key points

  • An increasing number of urban Australians are struggling to access healthy, affordable food. The high cost of living and volatile food prices are leaving an increasing number of households requiring support from organisations like Foodbank.
  • The re-localisation of food production, processing and consumption is increasingly discussed as a solution to the high cost of long, complex supply chains.
  • Urban agriculture presents an opportunity to support domestic food security, but scope to develop these food systems needs to be part of the urban design and planning processes of local and state governments.
  • Biosecurity and soil contamination risks inherent to farming can be effectively mitigated through improved regulation and training.
  • Regular networking and knowledge transfer is required, involving rural and urban farmers and regulation bodies, such as the Department of Agriculture and Research. This would ensure coordinated, timely and efficient responses to biosecurity threats.
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