What are the implications of peri-urban agriculture on food security in Australian cities?

Ramsey, Rebecca & Gallegos, Danielle (2011) What are the implications of peri-urban agriculture on food security in Australian cities? In 2nd National Food Futures Conference, 22 - 23 November 2011, Hobart, TAS. (Unpublished)

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Periurban agriculture refers to agricultural practice occurring in areas with mixed rural and urban features. It is responsible 25% of the total gross value of economic production in Australia, despite only comprising 3% of the land used for agriculture. As populations grows and cities expand, they are constantly absorbing surrounding fringe areas, thus creating a new fringe, further from the city causing the periurban region to constantly shift outwards. Periurban regions are fundamental in the provision of fresh food to city populations and residential (and industrial) expansion taking over agricultural land has been noted as a major worldwide concern. Another major concern around the increase in urbanisation and resultant decrease in periurban agriculture is its potential effect on food security. Food security is the availability or access to nutritionally-adequate, culturally-relevant and safe foods in culturally-appropriate ways. Thus food insecurity occurs when access to or availability of these foods is compromised. There is an important level of connectedness between food security and food production and a decrease in periurban agriculture may have adverse effects on food security. A decrease in local, seasonal produce may result in a decrease in the availability of products and an increase in cost, as food must travel greater distances, incurring extra costs present at the consumer level. Currently, few Australian studies exist examining the change in periurban agriculture over time. Such information may prove useful for future health policy and interventions as well as infrastructure planning. The aim of this study is to investigate changes in periurban agriculture among capital cities of Australia.

Methods: We compared data pertaining to selected commodities from the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2000-01 and 2005 -2006 Agricultural Census. This survey is distributed online or via mail on a five-yearly basis to approximately 175,000 Agricultural business to ascertain information on a range of factors, such as types of crops, livestock and land preparation practices. For the purpose of this study we compared the land being used for total crops, and cereal , oil seed, legume, fruit and vegetable crops separately. Data was analysed using repeated measures anova in spss.

Results: Overall, total area available for crops in urbanised areas of Australia increased slightly by 1.8%. However, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth experienced decreases in the area available for fruit crops by 11%, 5%,and 4% respectively. Furthermore, Brisbane and Perth experienced decreases in land available for vegetable crops by 28% and 14% respectively. Finally, Sydney, Adelaide and Perth experienced decreases in land available for cereal crops by 10 – 79%.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that population increases and consequent urban sprawl may be resulting in a decrease in peri-urban agriculture, specifically for several core food groups including fruit, breads and grain based foods. In doing so, access to or availability of these foods may be limited, and the cost of these foods is likely to increase, which may compromise food insecurity for certain sub-groups of the population.

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ID Code: 55252
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Food security, Food insecurity, Periurban agriculture
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NUTRITION AND DIETETICS (111100) > Nutrition and Dietetics not elsewhere classified (111199)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Epidemiology (111706)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2012 21:56
Last Modified: 03 Dec 2012 21:56

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