Sydney’s peri-urban regions have been increasingly urbanised over the last few decades, and agricultural lands have been paved over at an alarming rate. Sydney stands to lose 90% of its locally-produced vegetables if planned development goes ahead, with more than 50% of existing market gardens and poultry farms located in the designated growth areas under the Plan for Growing Sydney.
While Sydney grows (at current growth rates, its population is expected to reach 6.2 million by 2051), the number of vegetable farms could fall by more than 50% and the areas devoted to greenhouse vegetable production could decline by 60%, according to recent research.
The Chinese market garden at La Perouse, which has produced fresh greens for Sydney for generations, is under threat due to competition for land to expand a cemetery.
Despite a growing number of mouths to feed, Sydney’s food system is becoming more vulnerable due to:
- Global pressures, such as resource scarcity and transport price rises
- Local land-use pressures, including increased competition for land for housing and roads, and a lack of value attributed to agricultural land uses
- Competing stakeholder perspectives and conflicting desires for peri-urban futures
- The lack of a resilience-based response to food security issues.