Securing Sydney's Food Future

09/12/2019 - Securing Sydney's Food Future

Moved by Councillor Miller, seconded by Councillor Scully –

It is resolved that:

(A)        Council note:

(i)          according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, globally 26.4 per cent of the world population, or about 2 billion people, are experiencing moderate or severe food insecurity and do not have regular access to nutritious and sufficient food. Globally, initiatives attempting to address this include the Sustainable Development Goals, the UNCC Climate Action Priority for Food Security and Zero Hunger, and the Milan Food Policy Pact;

(ii)         according to the City of Sydney's 2019 Wellbeing Indicators, 8 per cent or 17,000 City residents, are currently food insecure and reported that at some point they had run out of food in the last year and could not afford to buy more;

(iii)        this figure has remained steady since 2011 with no progress toward the City's target of 95 per cent food security for people residing within our local government area;

(iv)       according to research by the Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) at the University of Technology Sydney in 2015, there are two main issues that impact on food security for City of Sydney residents: affordability and access to healthy food;

(v)         the Mobile Voluntary Services Study 2019 revealed that of those who are food insecure in the City of Sydney local area and currently accessing mobile food services, 46 per cent reside in social housing, including public and community housing;

(vi)       according to the UTS 'Sydney's Food Futures' 2015-2016 report:

(a)        only 20 per cent of Sydney's food comes from within the Sydney basin and the remaining 80 per cent comes from elsewhere, requiring trucks, trains, ships, and planes for transportation, thereby increasing the carbon footprint of the food we consume;

(b)        increasingly our food systems are becoming more vulnerable to disruption in light of chronic stresses like drought and acute shocks like bushfire within the region; and

(c)         food production could shrink by 60 per cent, and the Sydney food bowl’s capacity to feed its’ residents could drop from meeting 20 per cent of food demand down to a mere 6 per cent due to these types of disruptions;

(vii)      in spite of there being no overarching food resilience or food security strategy for metropolitan Sydney, the City is currently working toward achieving increased food security through:

(a)        Resilient Sydney - A strategy for City Resilience 2018 and A City for All: Social Sustainability Policy and Action Plan 2018-2028;

(b)        providing grants and sponsorship to programs which promote urban agriculture and food resilience such as FoodLab Sydney, BlakThumb Youth Food Movement and Greenspace Global, among others;

(c)         through initiatives like City Farm and associated educational programs and workshops; and

(d)        the City’s Meals on Wheels service provides affordable food options for older people and people with disability;

(viii)     due to the complex nature and far-reaching influence of food systems, it is necessary to work with all levels of government, industry and business to put this important issue on the agenda; and

(ix)       the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact is a pre-existing initiative signed by 207 cities around the world, including the City if Melbourne, to achieve more sustainable, inclusive, safe, and diverse food system; and

(B)        the Chief Executive Officer be requested to:

(i)          highlight the programs, projects, grants and events that promote increased food resilience and security through a dedicated page on the City of Sydney website and online channels;

(ii)         highlight actions within the Sustainable Sydney 2050 Strategy that promote food resilience and food security;

(iii)        investigate the City of Sydney becoming a signatory to the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact to "develop sustainable food systems that are inclusive, resilient, safe and diverse" and through the Resilient Sydney network encourage our partner councils to do the same; and 

(iv)       engage with key stakeholders and strategic partners to lead a discussion about Sydney's Food Resilience highlighting the importance of the issue and need to work collaboratively to tackle it at a local, metropolitan and State level.

Carried unanimously.