While you’re here… help us stay here.
Are you enjoying open access to policy and research published by a broad range of organisations? Please donate today so that we can continue to provide this service.
Abstract: Land use on the periphery of urban centres is of critical importance in the sustainability of healthy cities, food security, and natural resource management. Despite increasing recognition of the importance of local food production, transport costs, climate change, and the availability of water, the future of periurban rural lands and agriculture is often contentious, and if considered at all in planning, it is a 'remnant' issue after the overwhelming political imperative of urbanization. Periurban agriculture also provides significant employment and adjacent urban areas provides the labour required for intensive horticulture but which is often lacking in rural areas. Periurban agriculture is, however, generally conducted by people with little political power. The Sydney basin contains the largest number of horticulturalists of any region in Australia, with farmers from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds (CLDB) producing 90% of Sydney’s perishable vegetables. However, 40% of the current market gardens, including the most important area in Australia for Asian vegetable production, are in areas designated for urbanization.
This paper discusses strategies to “make periurban farmers matter”, including: policy initiatives, such as the cross-sectoral Premier’s Task Force into Market Gardening by People of Non English Speaking Background, and the Education and Training Plan; the use of deliberative planning, used in complex and messy political contexts to engage government, non government and community organizations; extensive media coverage; and farmers markets. The paper concludes that it is essential to recognize the “public good” of open space and agriculture in the urban and periurban contexts.