The current food system faces many challenges of equity, sustainability, waste avoidance, human health, and animal welfare. We must address these challenges in order to secure a resilient food future. Local Government has a role to play in enabling access to adequate and nutritious food through; our built and natural environment, planning, governance, service delivery, and policies.
The Illawarra Councils recognise the important role of food in our lives, and its impact on our communities. Our region joins a growing movement focussed on rebuilding a relationship with good food, which is ethically produced, with minimal ecological impact. The development of the Illawarra Regional Food Strategy formed part of a 3 year funded NSW Environment Trust project.
The Illawarra Regional Food Strategy
The Strategy has 114 actions that can and are being practically implemented. There are 4 themes in the Strategy.
Theme 1 – Building the capacity of our community through community education and providing skills in growing and preparing good food, encouraging food events to showcase local produce, supporting schools and community gardens, supporting emergency food relief and promoting food rescue initiatives.
Theme 2 – Planning, Infrastructure and Regulation which will be addressed through protecting agricultural land, ensuring suitable land for food production is available, addressing transport and distribution systems, and auditing existing infrastructure to understand barriers to access.
Theme 3 – Leadership, good governance and targeted advocacy strategies include researching local food production and distribution, developing policies to enable community and verge gardening and encouraging the emergence of food stallholders outlets.
The final theme is Supporting the local food economy through the development of new and existing community-based initiatives such as farmers markets, providing regional food to local communities and encouraging food tourism destinations.
We will publish the full paper soon from Julie Errey, Kiama Municipal Council. It was presented this year at the Association’s conference on Healthy Cities.