Use QLD’s green wedges for food, says Growcom

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 2nd June 2010

organic food basketPeak horticulture organisation Growcom today suggested that the best use for the proposed ‘green wedges’ program, creating green barriers to limit urban sprawl, is not parkland but food production.

Premier Anna Bligh last week announced a plan to transform cane-fields and other land in south-east Queensland into ‘green wedges’ designed to avoid inter-city urban sprawl.

“It is disquieting to hear the government talk about the need for green wedges, quote, ‘so that families can enjoy walking through open spaces, kicking a football or picnicking with their friends’. Of far more relevance to an expanding population would be a plan to encourage the further growth of fresh food production,” said Growcom Chief Executive Officer Alex Livingstone.

The Queensland Government is planning to create three new cities at Ripley Valley in Ipswich and Greater Flagstone and Yarrabilba in Logan, which Livingstone believes must be carefully managed in order to protect the existing agriculture in these areas.

“In the past we have seen friction develop in those areas zoned rural-residential, where new residents have found themselves living beside fully functioning commercial farm businesses, which have been legitimately operating in the region for years prior.

“Many productive fruit and vegetable growing farms are adjacent to these areas. In planning three new cities from the ground up the urban footprint should be contained in such a way as to allow food production areas abutting these cities to thrive.

“That means, for example, ensuring access to sufficient water for food production, preserving the necessary routes to market and planning for buffers between urban areas and farms to allow normal farming operations to continue.

According to Livingstone, agriculture and cities don’t have to coexist unhappily, with cities providing direct markets for produce.

“The Premier should recognise and plan for the considerable advantages of having fresh food production close to burgeoning populations. These areas should be encouraged to thrive and cater for the nutritional needs of more people in the future,” he said.