WITH a State Government slating great chunks of north-west and south-west Sydney for urban development, we are in trouble. How do we feed ourselves when the farmland is gone? There is an assumption upon which such development relies that there will always be food available from somewhere, even from abroad. Many are beginning to question the wisdom of basing our future food security on imported foods, however action may not come quickly enough to achieve any meaningful response.
Local governments in western Sydney are concerned about urban development across local farmland but State and Federal governments have been rather slower to acknowledge the problem. A spread of articles on the issue, published by the Sun Herald in 2010, includes an interactive map that demonstrates clearly the importance of the Sydney basin to various crops.
Many of Granny Smith Natural Food Market’s favourite suppliers feel pressure from such land development. Where will our beautiful tomatoes come from if they need to be brought in from more than 1000 kilometres away? Could they possibly be as fresh or taste as good as Alf and Lee Sorbello’s from just up the road? What about Michael Champion’s magnificent salad greens? Peter Clinch’s chickens? With more and more housing covering the Sydney basin and ever greater urban run-off, how long can we expect clean local oysters and fish to hold out?
Please take a few minutes to email Senator the Honourable Joe Ludwig, Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry, about your concerns.
To bring the matter to wider public attention, you can email the letters editor of The Sydney Morning Herald and email the letters editors of the Sun Herald.
Alternatively, please cut and paste the following if you prefer to not write your own email:
I write to you to express my concern about the disappearance of farmland around Sydney. Many of the products that are now grown locally, such as fresh fruits and vegetables and chicken, appear on my dinner table regularly. Where will they come from if farming in the Sydney Basin disappears?
We already have water issues in other parts of the country and transport costs are rising. I do not wish to have fresh vegetables grown overseas as my only option and with dietary-related health issues costing more each year, how does this protect our long-term health and food security?
I look to you to take action to protect Sydney’s remaining urban farmland in perpetuity. We cannot afford to lose this vital source of food to urban sprawl.
Please keep me appraised of the action you are taking.