The Dunedin City Council is being asked to take a more
active role in Dunedin's food chain by supporting community
food initiatives and even helping protect wild food sources.
Reporter Dan Hutchinson takes a look at the ideas released by
the council's Community Resilience Forum.
Fairfield School pupil Ben Wilden (10) checks the progress
of broad beans that are being grown on surplus state
highway reserve. Photo by Dan Hutchinson.
The Dunedin City Council will decide on Monday if it wants to
take a more active role in feeding its citizens - everything
from paua to pumpkins could be included in its patch.
Community Resilience Forum chairwoman and city councillor
Jinty MacTavish said the forum had been exploring
food-related matters since May, at the request of the
In its report, the forum is recommending food be acknowledged
as a strategic issue for the city and the council take a more
co-ordinated approach to food-related issues.
There are a multitude of food-related initiatives already
sprouting around the city - everything from community
vegetable gardens to protests aimed at protecting paua stocks
for non-commercial harvest.
Even surplus land beside Dunedin's southern motorway is being
used for vegetable growing by pupils at Fairfield School.
Board of Trustees member Greg Inch secured a 999-year lease
on surplus road reserve land from the New Zealand Transport
Agency to use land at the top of a steep rise, a safe
distance from the motorway.
This was no problem for the NZTA, which confirmed it
regularly received requests from the community to use surplus
Northeast Valley group Transition Valley 473 has recently set
about planting up to 1000 fruit trees on council reserves and
the fruit will be available for public consumption.
The forum's recommendations to the council would take its
involvement to a new level and corporate policy team leader
Maria Ioannou warned there would be ''resource implications''
and other work might have to be re-prioritised to cater for
Cr MacTavish said the council was only one player in a large
area but it had a role in facilitating discussion and
co-ordinating people's efforts.
''Food is one of those issues where it has a massive impact
on the wellbeing of our citizens but council is only one
player in a fairly significant pool of players.''
She agreed others might not see it as a core council activity
but that was why they needed to discuss it as a council.
Other opportunities mentioned in the forum's report related
to opportunities for new food manufacturing businesses and
the protection of wild food sources through habitat
protection and sustainable harvest rates.