Dunedin and Otago are poised to take organic gardening
and farming "to the next level", University of Otago graduate
Bart Acres says.
About 50 people yesterday attended presentations and
discussions billed as Dunedin's first "local food forum", at
the university's Centre for Innovation.
Discussions focused on "strengths, challenges and future
courses of action for developing a more sustainable, viable
and productive local food system", organisers said.
The Otago Farmers Market continued to prove a successful part
of Otago's sustainable food network, and yesterday's forum
had proved "very positive", Mr Acres said.
There was also "a massive amount of potential" to further
develop Otago organic gardening and farming, bringing it to "
to the next level" , partly by improving links between parts
of the existing sustainable food production system.
One idea under development was a proposed "vege box"
initiative, enabling consumers to subscribe to receive a
weekly box of organically grown vegetables for a set fee.
Dunedin had some land which was not being used and there were
knowledgeable people keen to further develop organic
This would also help provide an income for growers, given
unemployment problems, he said.
Mr Acres completed a master of planning degree about two
years ago through the Otago geography department, focusing on
local sustainable food networks.
He then helped establish Foodweb, an organisation promoting
"Otago's Local Food Network" and which brought together