‘Food for All’ as ACT Greens pledge comprehensive urban agriculture plan


Ensuring renters have the right to grow food in their backyards and balconies, mandating space for community gardens in all new suburbs, protecting rural farmland, supporting more community gardens and neighbourhood orchards, and a Canberra Region Food Collaboration with local food and tourism industries are key features of the ACT Greens ‘Food for All’ plan, announced today.

In Canberra, we pride ourselves on our excellent restaurants and food markets, yet the ACT is reliant on food produced elsewhere - an estimated 90% of our leafy greens and fruits alone coming from the Sydney region. Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic has seen more Australians than ever turning to their own backyards as a source of food.

Among the key highlights of the Greens’ ‘Food for All’ plan includes:

  • ensuring that renters have the right to grow food in their backyard or balcony, in the same way renters now have the right to have pets in rental properties 
  • establishing a $1.5 million Community Food Fund for community gardens, orchards, in school food education, garden therapies, food box schemes, markets, food swaps and sharing economies, seed saving and permaculture initiatives
  • mandating space for community gardens in all new suburbs, and retrofitting into existing suburbs where possible
  • allowing public housing tenants to establish community/personal garden patches and composting facilities on public housing grounds
  • Investing $1.5 million in a Canberra Region Food Collaborative with Regional Development Australia (ACT region) and $1.5 million in seed funding to our local farmers and commercial food producers
  • converting land from Broadacre zoning to Rural zoning to protect productive farmland in the ACT from development pressures 
  • piloting an intensive urban agriculture venture like a large rooftop garden or greenhouse garden employing circular economy principles
  • establishing $500,000 ‘Larders not Lawns’ fund to support residents to replace grass lawns with food gardens
  • developing the ACT’s first street orchard programs, and
  • allowing people to plant edible fruit and nut trees on nature strips.

Comments attributable to Jo Clay, ACT Greens Environment Spokesperson:

“The Greens understand that endless growth on a finite planet doesn’t work. That’s why we are making the switch from a destructive linear economy to a sustainable circular economy. This works really well for food production, just as it does for recycling and renewable energy. I’m really excited to support Canberrans to be able to produce more of their own food if it suits them, and to develop new ways for Canberra to grow food in our urban spaces.”

Comments attributable to Rebecca Vassarotti, ACT Greens Housing Spokesperson:

“Just because you are renting your home, doesn't mean you should be prevented from growing your own food and tending a vegetable garden. Providing people with a default right to plant a veggie patch is another way people can make their rental property a home. It also means people can become more self-sufficient and contribute to our local urban agriculture.”

Comments attributable to Joel Dignam, Executive Director of Better Renting:

"With more people and families renting long-term, renters should be able to put down roots in their community - figuratively, and literally.”

“Starting a garden is a way for renters to make a home. Folks shouldn't be locked out of this just because they aren't lucky enough to own their own place."

Read the full package at: greens.org.au/sites/default/files/2020-10/Foor%20for%20All.pdf

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Media contact
Clancy Barnard    M   0438 869 332    E clancy.barnard@act.greens.org.au