Strategic planning for peri-urban food production & local renewable fertilisers

Sydney’s urban growth creates both an opportunity and a threat for sustainable phosphorus use and hence urban food and water security.

Sydney’s Metro strategy A Plan for Growing Sydney focuses primarily on the provision of housing, jobs and transport (largely roads). It largely ignores the strategic prioritisation, preservation, or even identification of fertile agricultural land within the Sydney Basin, creating a risk to Sydney’s food supply, health and further pressuring Sydney’s farmers many of whom are leaving or selling due to increasing land prices and unworkable terms of trade and development requirements.

Local food production has the benefit of shorter supply chains, which can buffer against climate change, rising fuel prices, reduce food’s energy footprint, provide fresher produce for increased health outcomes.

The multi-level governmental Sydney Agriculture Strategic Approaches (SASA) Working Group was formed to address these issues.

Building on the Sydney Foodsheds project, P-FUTURES in part aims to facilitate the transformation of Sydney’s food system by bridging the gap between local production of food, consumption, and waste production by working closely with stakeholders.

Initial phosphorus spatial maps developed by the Sydney P-FUTURES team reveal the theoretical supply of phosphorus is more than sufficient to meet local farmer demand (see more here).