Canberra to Boost Local Food Production with $455,000 Investment

ACT, Australia

In a groundbreaking move, the ACT Government has committed $455,000 in the 2024-25 ACT Budget to implement the Canberra Region Local Food Strategy, aimed at bolstering the region’s local food production sector. The initiative marks the first time an Australian state or territory has launched a comprehensive plan to support and expand its local food system.

The funding for the strategy’s first year will include a Local Food Chain Infrastructure Study, focusing on opportunities to support small to medium-sized local food producers struggling to compete with larger commercial entities. The study will concentrate on areas such as food packaging, distribution, storage, and networking, leveraging data from the Agriculture and Food in the ACT Study currently in progress.

The strategy also aims to eliminate barriers for local food producers to enter local marketplaces and grocery stores, and examine opportunities to utilise suitable ACT Government land for local food production. The funding will also cover community education programs on food cultivation in the ACT.

Additionally, the strategy involves a review of Land Management Agreements with rural landholders to provide greater flexibility and support for local food production. The Canberra Region Local Food Strategy is available on the ACT Environment website.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr emphasized the strategy’s potential to improve the local food system’s capacity, create jobs, and diversify the economy. Minister for the Environment, Parks and Land Management, Rebecca Vassarotti, highlighted the importance of community feedback in shaping the strategy and the government’s commitment to engaging with Traditional Custodians to incorporate Ngunnawal knowledge and experience. In the face of a climate emergency, the ACT Government sees local food production as a key step in reducing greenhouse gas emissions caused by imported foods.