Sparrow and Finch Gardening Why can’t we farm food anywhere we want

Why can’t we farm food anywhere we want

The foundations of human flourishing and the fabric for sustainability, are food. It is at the core of conflict and diversity but also offers opportunities for acceptance and respect. It can make or break communities, define neighborhoods, and create places.

In some cities, suburban agriculture has been adopted by residents to increase access to healthier food. It is possible to increase the consumption of local food by farming our streets and verges as well as vacant land in parks, backyards, and rooftops.

Despite the benefits of suburban agriculture, some regulations and cultural opposition continue to limit it. Even if we want to produce and sell food sustainably, it’s not possible.

Planning is key to creating a more sustainable and healthier food system. However, the role of planning in allocating different land uses throughout a city can also be limiting for suburban agriculture.

Two steps to healthier food systems

To make our food systems more healthy and more sustainable, we need to take a two-step strategy.

We need first to strengthen the parts of our system that allow access to healthy foods.

We need to eliminate the elements that expose us to unhealthy food.

Food is an essential human need. However, in Australia and many other countries, we are consuming food in a way that is damaging to our environment. We don’t consume enough unprocessed and fresh foods. We eat a lot of food that is produced using carbon-intensive or wasteful methods.

Town planners, primarily through land-use planning, can shape healthy and sustainable food systems. Planning can, for example:

Protect peri-urban agricultural land;

Encourage farmers’ markets, roadside stands and community gardens

Avoid placing fast-food outlets close to schools.

even help regulate food advertising environments.

Why do we have land-use zones in the first place?

In the 19th century , modern town planning was born out of the desire to separate unhealthful and polluting uses away from where people lived.

The Industrial Revolution brought about a rise in the number of noisy, dirty and smelly uses that were to be avoided. It also led to new methods of travel to get away from them.

Our urban areas consist of a mosaic we call zones. In each zone, some uses are allowed and others are not. A piece of land zoned commercial can be used to build a shop but not a home.

This might sound logical today, but to the people living in houses scattered around the factories and tanning in Manchester in the 1800s, it was quite radical.

This function of planning is the reason we can’t grow food in any part of the city. Instead, regulations ensure that related activities only occur in areas where they are compatible with nearby uses.

Food gardens should be kept away from roads that are likely to carry heavy traffic. This could lead to contamination. ACFCGN

Safety may be a factor in compatibility. In some cities, it’s forbidden that a community garden be located on a major traffic road because of concerns over contamination.

Amenity could be a factor. In some places, local produce is not allowed to be sold along the roadside because of concerns over parking and traffic.

This is a pretty obvious example, but the problem arises when there are different definitions of what constitutes safe and acceptable within a community. Is it better to have a pumpkin vine on the verge of the road or not? Do you think a community should embrace a roadside fruit and vegetable stall, even if that means parking is limited and traffic is slow?

How can we resolve conflicts in planning?

The town planners try to tackle these issues either by creating new policies and regulations in response to changing needs or by assessing each application for food distribution and growing on an individual basis.

It’s no surprise that some local authorities are struggling to keep up with the rapid densification of cities and a culture where growing your food is experiencing a renaissance.

Local authorities have failed to prioritize and recognize their role as a supporter of sustainable and healthy food systems. Local government should give priority to urban farming. This will have immense biophysical, economic, and social benefits.

A recent study found that in New South Wales, only 10% of community strategic plans mentioned food systems. In this way, Australia is part of an international trend.

Regional councils in New South Wales are surprising for their efforts to improve food systems. Food security and opportunities offered by local food production were seen as urgent concerns. Our metropolitan councils have a lot of room to catch up on the increased interest in farming suburbs.

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