The cost of having the Dunedin City Council take a
greater role in improving the resilience of the city's food
supply is to be investigated.
Council staff will report to the council early this year on
what resources would be required to have a more co-ordinated
internal approach to food-related issues and to engage with
stakeholders on ways to deal with the challenges, risks and
opportunities in the area of food supply.
The work is to happen after the council's Community
Resilience Forum spent eight months exploring food-related
matters in Dunedin, particularly the sustainability and
resilience of food supply to the city.
The council resolved last month to note food presented a
strategic opportunity for the city and asked staff to report
on the cost of taking a greater role in co-ordinating work in
In a report from the forum, chairwoman Cr Jinty MacTavish
said there was an increasing focus on food in council
strategies, particularly the spatial plan, which set out a
vision of a Dunedin where ''productive lands have been
protected and are providing for local food markets, as well
as contributing to the city's economy''.
Underpinning that was the rationale that having land
available for food production in close proximity to an urban
area reduced the length and cost of supply chains and created
local markets for produce, she said.
The plan also included a policy to encourage local food
processing, distribution and markets, with listed actions
such as investigating methods to encourage that;
investigating the future infrastructure requirements
necessary to secure food supply in the face of potential
climate change effects; and investigating rates relief for
growers who were producing for direct sale to local markets.
Dunedin's productive hinterland was also identified in the
economic development strategy as a key asset to leverage in
driving the city's economic development, she said.
The forum identified a long list of food-related issues and
opportunities for Dunedin, including the protection of arable
land around the city, regulatory requirements for the food
industry, the centralisation of supermarket distribution
systems, the lack of local processing plants for some food
industries (for example meat), the relationship between
access to quality food and other positive outcomes such as
better education results, increased productivity and health,
food as a city marketing tool and supporting and increasing
food rescue operations and community and household
Councillors had a lengthy debate at the latest meeting
over whether to support the forum's recommendations. Some
councillors, including Crs Andrew Whiley and Hilary Calvert,
were concerned about supporting the recommendations without
having more information about the costs, how much resources any
work would require and what other work would have to be dropped
to accommodate it.
Cr Whiley was particularly concerned the council did not step
in and do work already being done well by community groups.
Cr Neville Peat said it was important to bring the issue to
the council's attention. While he saw the council's role as
an enabler and encourager, staff would have to be taken off
other work to do that and he needed more information about
that. Mayor Dave Cull reminded councillors the report was
really only seeking endorsement in principle and any
budgetary requirements would have to come to the council for
Cr Kate Wilson said the empty bread shelves after the
Christchurch earthquakes had shown Dunedin was at risk in its
supply lines, and there was a need for some co-ordination of
the ''wonderful'' work being done. Cr MacTavish said everyone
working on food-related matters was operating in silos, even
council departments, and a consistent approach would be
Staff are to report back in time for annual plan discussions.