V.E.I.L. the Victoria Ecological Innovation Lab – What Does It Do?


We did that, and what we found was that it was quite significant. When you look at what actually comes from this food bowl, we realised that there was a really big story here, and that a lot more work needed to be done. That, in some ways, acted as a pilot project for what came next, which is the Foodprint Melbourne that I work on now. That project has run for the last about two and half years. It’s funded by the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation. The project partners do include the city of Cardinia, and the periurban Councils, and the inter faiths councils, and a number of other councils because they can really understand that this is an evidence base that’s needed to help guide policy in this area and to help guide what we do with how we plan for food.

The aim of the Foodprint Melbourne Project has been to generate that evidence base around Melbourne’s food supply, and the challenges that it faces in the context of a growing city and climate change. The three main parts, we looked at Melbourne’s Food bowl, so what goes on the city fringe, what capacity of that is to meet Melbourne’s food needs, and how that changes as we reach seven million people by 2050. It’s already, I guess, indicative that we started this research in 2015 and when seven million people at 2050 was the number, I think the latest that I’ve heard is nine. It’s a real challenge for Melbourne. We have sort of the opposite problem from Detroit in terms of land.

We then looked at Melbourne’s Foodprint, so what the environmental impact of feeding Melbourne is. Then, looked at Melbourne’s food future, so looking at how these kind of strains come together and what types of policy and strategic framework’s needed to support a really vibrant regional food economy, access to healthy food, and food security, not in a kind of closed off fortress like way, but understanding the role, the really important role of our city fringe farmland. I’ve released reports at each stage. You can check some of those out, but I’ll just go through some of the findings that we’ve come up with along the way. Then, sort of look at how the rights to planning and planning for equity, so how do we use this information to plan for more equitable food system in the future and to ensure that we’re not failing to plan, which is I think probably what’s happening at the moment.


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