Regional Food Economy – Culture Background Paper

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Regional Food Economy – Culture Background Paper
November 2009

Prepared by:
Brendan Hoare
Organic Systems Ltd .

Organic Systems Ltd January 2010
Page 1 of 21

Contents
1.

Introduction

2.

Context
a) International relationship to a food economy
b) National and regional relationship to a food economy
c) Waitakere
d) Regional food economic strategies are a way to revitalise and progress sustainability
e) Understanding the urban and peri-urban contributions

3.

Aspects of the Food Economy and Culture
a) Food quality and security: reducing urban hunger
b) Health, wealth and the environment
c) Health: Public health system that believes and acts on a “you are what you eat” strategy
d) Energy: Decreasing the oil dependency and exposure
e) Being more productive: Optimising land use and urban and peri-urban planning
f) Food culture as an economic development enabler
g) Urban agriculture and food waste recovery
h) Community gardens/food normalized in schools; growing local champions i)
Food culture as an expression of identity

4.

Developing the understanding
a) Communications, capacity building and public education
b) Setting a new direction; developing our thinking; changing the way sustainability is understood
c) Promoting the action

5.

Key Opportunities
a) Start work on developing a strategic framework
b) Build capacity and expertise in Regional Food Economy and Culture c) Develop realistic timeframe and expectations

6.

Conclusion

7.

Appendix 1

8.

Appendix 2

9.

Acknowledgments

Organic Systems Ltd January 2010
Page 2 of 21

1. Introduction
In November 2008 a presentation and report to Waitakere City Council outlining the relationship between international changes and interrelationships between food, environment and the economy was presented by Brendan Hoare. This report was commissioned to provide further information on the components of the regional food economy and culture, and will identify areas locally for further consideration by officers. Specifically, this paper will provide a definition of the various aspects of a regional economy framework and will identify areas of potential work. To date local governments have had little direct involvement and perhaps understanding of the interrelationships and implications of what constitutes a Regional Food Economy (RFE). Currently, food is:

• Managed as a waste problem
• Indirectly managed as a soil and water management issue, or • Seen as an activity to be mediated as farming, processing and retail. In general, food production is not valued as an activity or actively seen as a metabolic activity of a city and its surrounding environments, and unlike many developing countries, the interrelationships and integration of food with sustainability, culture and health is yet to take place in New Zealand, even though it is part of the United Nations 27 Principles on Sustainability. i

The author considered this an excellent opportunity to evolve thinking and engage in new discourse matched equally with action. This is backed by a growing popularisation and awareness amongst the general public of this phenomenon over the last four to five years. Community gardens, local food, food miles, enviroschools and a dramatic increase in seedling sales and home grown vegetable and fruit production are symptoms of this growing ache to connect with food in a more meaningful way.

The diversity and range of participants in this shift is an indicator of the interest range and growing awareness. Examples include:
• District health boards linking home gardening and food production with health and well being, specifically with prevention of certain diseases such as diabetes. • Schools developing an integrated approach to their learning: tying in food, waste, energy, education, culture with the overall physical design of the school, within their curriculum, with spectacular results.

• Community-led...
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