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Conference paper
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Abstract: Food has always been grown on the peri-urban areas of large cities around the world. However as urbanisation has occurred, the former food growing land has been paved over forcing the food growers to relocate to the new peri-urban area which is now further away from the city centre. This is the way that the growth of Australian metropolitan areas has occurred, yet the peri-urban land is still a significant producer of food. The ABS Agriculture census has shown that the peri-urban areas grow 47.2% of Australia’s perishable vegetables. Using the Sydney peri-urban area as a case study, it will be shown that this food is grown in a landscape that is mostly rural residential in use. The juxtaposition of rural residential land use to food production creates land use conflict. Land use conflict arises when people don’t have any connection with the agriculture and merely seek a rural lifestyle. Using the ABS Census of Population and Housing, it will be shown that the people living in the peri-urban area have demographic make-up more akin to an urban area than a rural one. This ‘urbanisation’ of the food growing areas is a phenomenon that is increasing and the evidence provided by this paper will show that the production of food is a necessary land use for the peri-urban area. We cannot just push it over the range into the inland areas because the climate and soils there are not conducive to growing these perishable vegetables. Add to this the growing popularity of the local food movement as well as the transport costs and long supply chains and there is more reason to keep growing food in the peri-urban area. The production of food therefore is an industry that needs to be taken into account by the State Government when considering the strategic planning for the growth of Sydney as well as the other metropolitan areas around Australia.

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