The Future of Food: Degree of Fit between Experts and a World-class Model

By Angela Wardell-Johnson, Nazrul Islam, Tanmoy Nath and Stephanie Bizjak.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The high rainfall landscapes of southwest Western Australia dominate Western Australia’s production and processing of a wide variety of fresh foods, contributing nearly $6 billion to the State’s economy ABS (2006-07). These climatically favourable and culturally diverse multifunctional landscapes account for only a small percentage of the WA landmass, but they are home to a large proportion of the State’s 2.4 million people. These places also contain Australia’s only internationally recognised terrestrial biodiversity hot spot (Myers, Mittermeier et al 2000). With a substantial projected population increase likely to result in both socio-demographic change as well as socio-cultural change, an understanding of how to sustain this diverse ecological landscape and the continuation of good decision making about food production is of critical importance. A current review of rural planning legislation (WA Department of Planning 2009) indicates that the future of the region will be shaped by the ability to manage landscape resilience with a government under pressure to convert land from food production to denser settlement potentially compromising biodiversity and landscape aesthetics. This reality signals the need for a coordinated approach to planning that supports best practice and partnerships that comprise a food system rather than a community of producers. This research draws on an analysis of some seventy expert contributions across a triple bottom line and across a range of industry and governance scales as to the future of sustainable landscapes in the region. These perceptions are compared with an aspirational model of world-class food systems operating to showcase triple bottom line values of food system sustainability. By linking expert insights into opportunities with an aspirational model we provide a vision of possibility for sustainable and resilient socio-ecological food landscapes.

Keywords: Food-systems, Socio-agricultural Landscapes, Multi-functional Landscapes, Socio-cultural Values, Biodiversity Hotspot

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 7, Issue 6, pp.235-250. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 3.183MB).

Dr. Angela Wardell-Johnson

Research Fellow, Faculty of Humanities, Curtin Institute for Biodiversity and Climate, Curtin University, Perth, WA, Australia

Angela is an environmental sociologist currently leading the theme of Integration for the Curtin Institute for Biodiversity and Climate at Curtin University, Western Australia. Angela’s key research interests comprise a program of research into the dynamics and resilient characteristics of complex adaptive social systems in agri-ecological landscapes. Angela’s research involves people working in agriculture, biodiversity conservation and social planning.

Prof. Nazrul Islam

Researcher, Department of Food and Agriculture, Perth, WA, Australia

Dr. Tanmoy Nath

Research Fellow, Department of Agriculture and Food, Perth, WA, Australia


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