Report: Food for thought

This report identifies the policy challenges that need to be addressed and the opportunities that could be leveraged to strengthen Melbourne’s foodbowl.

The report focuses on three key policy issues: protecting farmland, strengthening the viability of farming and increasing water access. The main findings of this research include:

  • The single most important step for strengthening Melbourne’s foodbowl is to provide certainty about the long term future of Melbourne’s green wedges and peri-urban areas, as a springboard for investment and innovation
  • Ongoing uncertainty limits investment by farmers in Melbourne’s foodbowl and fuels speculative investment in farmland, driving up land prices and undermining farm viability
  • Strong and consistent policy signals are required to create certainty for Melbourne’s foodbowl
  • Melbourne’s green wedges and peri-urban areas of food production require proactive management and investment
  • There is a strong argument for greater state government investment in recycled water infrastructure for agriculture in Melbourne’s foodbowl to increase the resilience of the city’s food supply to climate risks
  • An integrated water management framework offers an opportunity to reconsider the value of recycled water for agriculture in light of its broad social, economic and environmental benefits
  • Promoting farm viability is as important to strengthening Melbourne’s foodbowl and green wedges as protecting farmland
  • New opportunities are emerging to strengthen farm viability in Melbourne’s foodbowl, driven by a growing consumer interest in sourcing locally grown foods, new opportunities for agri-tourism and direct sales and increasing demand for ethical, sustainably-produced foods from smaller scale producers
  • State government has an important role to play in helping farmers to leverage the opportunities for agriculture in Melbourne’s foodbowl by increasing its policy focus on the region and providing agribusiness support
  • Local governments play an important role in protecting farmland and promoting farm viability and there is an opportunity for greater co-ordination across local governments to share best practice and develop common strategies to strengthen Melbourne’s foodbowl
  • It is important to build public support and awareness of the benefits of Melbourne’s foodbowl and green wedges to protect the region in the long term

front cover; food for thought

Food for thought: Challenges and opportunities for farming in Melbourne's foodbowl
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