FoodPrint Melbourne

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Understanding Melbourne's food growing capacity

Understanding Melbourne's food growing capacity

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Funded by the Foundation, FoodPrint Melbourne is a research project being undertaken by the Victorian Eco Innovation Lab at the University of Melbourne.

The FoodPrint Melbourne research project is analysing Melbourne’s food consumption and cataloguing what food is being grown in the city’s foodbowl.

FoodPrint is also exploring vulnerabilities in Melbourne’s food supply and how we can address these issues to ensure that we can continue to supply locally grown food to our rapidly expanding population.
The project found that in 2015, our city-fringe farmland grows enough food to meet 41 per cent of the Greater Melbourne population’s overall food needs. As Melbourne grows to a predicted seven million people, we will need 60 per cent more food to feed the population. But at the same time, we will be losing farmland due to urban sprawl. If Melbourne continues it current land use trajectory, we will only be able to meet 18 per cent of our overall food needs.
FoodPrint has also uncovered some alarming facts concerning the water usage required to feed Melbourne’s population. Approximately 758 gigalitres of water is needed to grow enough food to feed Greater Melbourne for a year. This is around double the amount of water used in
our homes, which is approximately 376 gigalitres per year.
The report also reveals that we could be using our water more efficiently. Melbourne has two water treatment plants, both of which produce recycled water, but 84 per cent of that recycled water is discharged to the ocean. If just 10 per cent of that recycled water were used for agriculture, it would be enough water to grow half of the vegetables eaten by the population of Melbourne.

Teaching FoodPrint Melbourne

With funding from Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, curriculum resources are being developed to assist teachers in using FoodPrint Melbourne findings in the classroom. 

The FoodPrint Melbourne research team will work with the Geography Teachers Association of Victoria (GTAV) to develop the materials that can be used for the Year 9 geography unit, ‘Biomes and Food Security’, from the Australian Curriculum.

It addresses key themes of the FoodPrint Melbourne project, including the risks to food production from population growth, urban sprawl and pressures of climate change.

The materials will be available from The University of Melbourne website in early 2018.


Changing Melbourne for Good