Routledge - Taylor & Francis Group Ltd

The emergence of urban agriculture: Sydney, Australia

Across the world the phenomenon of urban agriculture (UA) is defining itself after emerging from a mainly grass-roots response, evidenced in the Sydney Metropolitan Region by the Hawkesbury Harvest phenomenon and the Sydney Food Fairness Alliance, to powerful global forces which are negatively and paradoxically impacting on the quality of life of urban and farming communities. In the developed world these major forces include: (1) urban sprawl and its progressive sterilization of agricultural lands; (2) the supermarket dominance of food chains; (3) the fast food industry and associated health problems such as obesity; (4) globalization. The community-based promotion and marketing of local agriculture is causing some governments and public and private organizations throughout the world to recognize UA as a strategic mechanism to enable urban communities to deal with food security in the context of neo-liberalism, climate change, pandemics, natural disasters, human and environmental health, carbon footprint, biosecurity/terrorism, peak oil, waste management, and landscape and natural resource management. This paper explores the history of UA in the Sydney region. It is a narrative that allows for UA in the Greater Sydney Metropolitan area to draw on the experiences of other developed countries where UA is establishing its position.

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