Regional Agribusiness Scan Survey


Ravens Creek Farm, Moriac

No matter what part of the food system you participate in we are all involved. Whether you produce, distribute, process or access food it is vital to all people, not just in quantity but the nutritional value that is obtained on a regular basis.

Regional Geelong has always been an amazing source of food, from the many food producing locations known by indigenous people to the crops and livestock raised over vast grazing lands and oceans rich with seafood.

Today the region is seeing an increase in sustainable farming practices to closed loop systems that reduce waste streams and chemical use. Some farmers have invested in diversified farming practices working with the ecosystem, while others employ biodynamic, organic and permaculture principles. The level of interest in greenhouse production, hydroponic and aquaponic systems is also on the rise.

Understanding the emerging trend in agribusiness is important for agribusiness growers, industry groups and leaders. Through mapping new and developing agribusiness projects in the region we develop greater regional cohesiveness and marketing, provide better support for changing industry needs and improve programmes for changing infrastructure or distribution in the regional food system.

This week the Regional Agribusiness Scan Survey opens for a two week period and we need, food producers, distributors, processors and retailers to connect regional Geelong agribusiness. Please click here to take the survey.

The Regional Agribusiness Scan Survey by Innate Ecology is undertaken on behalf of the Committee for Geelong, G21 Agribusiness Forum and Enterprise Geelong.

Developing Food Resilience

Moments occur in time that with hindsight can appear as an alternative path or as a spark of inspiration that if pursued can lead to opportunities and connections. Recent occasions have inspired this post the first in a series of food.

While many perceive urban food as individual backyard or community garden activity, urban and peri-urban agriculture is an emerging area of importance for local council and communities. In a recent presentation at The Making Liveable Cities Conference 2014, I was pleased to find myself  in a session focussed on food and food systems thinking.

My presentation on ‘Developing Food Resilience in Cities’ was followed by a presentation on the local region of Kiama, showcasing a range of regional food projects underway. The conference highlighted the shift in understanding of the importance of local food systems in the provision of social, economic and environmental benefits. In addition to the benefits of fresh food produce grown within urban areas there is a significant reduction in food miles (in contrast to mainstream distribution channels), greenhouse gas emissions, with strong social and economic potential promoting food production as a burgeoning career opportunity.

Grow, Cook, Swap, Shop - Local Food Map

This morning was another spark. I was at a breakfast for the (soft) launch of ‘Design for Hope’ a book on international restorative approaches by colleagues Dominique Hes and Chrishna Du Plessis (available Routledge Nov 2014). Conversation was diverse yet contained within the field of restorative and regenerative approaches to life and our cities. Topics ranged from biomimicry, ecosystem services, urban ecologies, urban food and water, regional opportunities and projects occurring.Many of the attendees while working in differing fields from marine biology through to facilitation and architecture, are working towards restorative – positive systems and services.

The ‘local food system’ is both a common thread and the lens for my conversations due to current research and consultation work in developing urban food systems and ecosystem services within an urban ecology (see Conference Presentations for upcoming talks). Previous urban community activation and local food mapping projects by Innate Ecology (see image) continue to build engagement with local food. Ultimately, food is a resource reliant on ‘conditions conducive to life’, relevant across all habitats and an issue when habitat pollution occurs.

I met with Stacey Chilcott of Green Collar Productions whom spoke eloquently of her passion for documenting issues relating to community and food sources. In particular her film on the Vidamour Farm and its conversion to a local community food production facility and Farmer Incubator here on the Mornington Peninsula is inspiring. So too is her film The Future of the Riveria Maya on the aquifers of Mexico and the issues of marine and freshwater pollution and local ecosystem impacts.

Local food systems incorporating urban, peri-urban and rural production, processing, distribution and access is an emerging area in research. Follow the Innate Ecology facebook page for frequent updates on food production and systems, urban ecologies, city planning and design related information and this blog for regional updates.

I hope this provides inspiration and connections for others working in this area.


Suzette Jackson

UN Sustainable Development Goals look to city and food resilience

The latest outcome document from the Open Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals released 19th July 2014, target the need for change in city policy, infrastructure and planning in order to remake our cities for resilience and sustainable agriculture. These goals will be considered by the General Assembly at its 68th session, for inclusion into the UN development agenda from 2015.

While highly aspirational these goals set are the hopes of people globally.

Proposed goal 2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture

2.1 by 2030 end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round

2.2 by 2030 end all forms of malnutrition, including achieving by 2025 the internationally agreed targets on stunting and wasting in children under five years of age, and address the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women, and older persons

2.3 by 2030 double the agricultural productivity and the incomes of small-scale food producers, particularly women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers, including through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets, and opportunities for value addition and non-farm employment

2.4 by 2030 ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, that help maintain ecosystems, that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters, and that progressively improve land and soil quality

2.5 by 2020 maintain genetic diversity of seeds, cultivated plants, farmed and domesticated animals and their related wild species, including through soundly managed and diversified seed and plant banks at national, regional and international levels, and ensure access to and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge as internationally agreed

2.a increase investment, including through enhanced international cooperation, in rural infrastructure, agricultural research and extension services, technology development, and plant and livestock gene banks to enhance agricultural productive capacity in developing countries, in particular in least developed countries

2.b. correct and prevent trade restrictions and distortions in world agricultural markets, including the parallel elimination of all forms of agricultural export subsidies and all export measures with equivalent effect in accordance with the mandate of the Doha Development Round

2.c. adopt measures to ensure the proper functioning of food commodity markets and their derivatives, and facilitate timely access to market information, including on food reserves, in order to help limit extreme food price volatility

Proposed goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

11.1 by 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services, and upgrade slums

11.2 by 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons

11.3 by 2030 enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacities for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries

11.4 strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage

11.5 by 2030 significantly reduce the number of deaths and the number of affected people and decrease by y% the economic losses relative to GDP caused by disasters, including water-related disasters, with the focus on protecting the poor and people in vulnerable situations

11.6 by 2030, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality, municipal and other waste management

11.7 by 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, particularly for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities

11.a support positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning

11.b by 2020, increase by x% the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters, develop and implement in line with the forthcoming Hyogo Framework holistic disaster risk management at all levels

11.c support least developed countries, including through financial and technical assistance, for sustainable and resilient buildings utilizing local materials

The outcome document can be viewed here.