Melbourne at 7 million: losing farmland due to urban sprawl

Melbourne’s Foodbowl can currently provide enough food to meet 41% of the city’s food needs, but urban sprawl is putting this city-fringe farmland at risk.

The Foodprint Melbourne project has released its first infographic on Melbourne’s foodbowl, highlighting the potential threat to supplies of fresh, locally grown fruit and vegetables as Melbourne grows to 7 million people by 2050.  For more information about the infographic click here.

A report of the findings from the first stage of the project will be made available in late November.

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Infographic showing impacts of urban sprawl on farmland surrounding Melbourne.

Feeding Melbourne from its Foodbowl

The Foodprint Melbourne project is investigating how much of Greater Melbourne’s food can be supplied by the city’s Foodbowl. The project found that in 2015, the Melbourne’s city-fringe farmland grows enough food to meet 41% of the Greater Melbourne population’s overall food needs, and that these peri-urban farms make a significant contribution to meeting our vegetable needs, can meet all of our egg and chicken meat needs, produce enough red meat to meet the majority of our needs, and produce significant amounts of dairy and fruit.

Urban sprawl threatening farmland

As Melbourne grows to 7 million people, we will need 60% more food to feed the population. But at the same time, we will be losing farmland due to urban sprawl. If Melbourne continues on its current land use trajectory, by the time we have 7 million people Melbourne’s Foodbowl will have lost substantial amounts of farmland.

We will only be able to meet 18% of our overall food needs, and will go from meeting 82% of our vegetable needs to only 21%. We will only be able to meet 3% of our fruit needs.

If we want to eat local fruit and vegetables in 2050, how can we plan to make it happen?

The data doesn’t tell us exactly how much of the food currently grown in Melbourne Foodbowl is actually consumed in Greater Melbourne due to lack of data about how food is transported around the state and to and from other states, but they show how important this area is as a food-growing region. A report of the findings from the first stage of the project will be made available on this website in late November.


For more information about the project contact Dr. Rachel Carey

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Phone – 0425 739 529

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