Cities and Food

It's a fact that most people like to eat. Those of us who don't, still have to consume food to stay alive (unless you're that guy who invented Soylent). It's also now a fact that most of us live in cities. Globally, 54% of the population now live in cities - by 2050 it is predicted that it will be 66%. This is unprecedented in the history of civilisation. In Australia the proportion is even higher, with 90% of the population living in cities. We are now entering what some like to call the 'Urban Age'.

When it comes to food security, cities are vulnerable. By design, cities have a large number of people living in a small space, all of whom need to eat on a daily basis. In the recently published Foodprint Melbourne report, we estimated that over 15,000 tonnes of food is required eat day to feed the city of Melbourne based on the average Australian diet and consumption habits. It's simply not possible to feed a city from within it's limits, so the food must come from elsewhere.

Throughout history, cities have traditionally been fed from their hinterland. Most cities were established in their geographical locations because they were surrounded by by good land that had good access to water. In Australia, only 6% of land is suitable for intensive agriculture, and most of it is around cities.

However, the very land that fed cities so that they could grow, is under threat from urban sprawl which has come about through the need to meet another human requirement - shelter.

To be continued...