THE State Government’s Sydney metropolitan strategy allows 400,000 new homes to be built on prime agricultural land, failing to take into account the impact of climate change and the increased likelihood of inland droughts, a leading landscape architect says.Adrian McGregor, who with his colleague Philip Coxall is proposing a new way of planning called ”biocity”, says that the $1 billion worth of vegetables the Sydney basin produces annually is critical to NSW as a food and economic source.The metropolitan strategy threatens the city’s food security and would lead to an increase in vegetable prices, he said.”The most progressive and forward-thinking cities, like London, are doing work on food security because people realise that with the effects of climate change on rainfall and agricultural production on an increasing population, feeding cities … is going to be one of our biggest global challenges,” he said.His comments follow a NSW Department of Industry and Investment report that predicted more than half of the city’s remaining 1050 vegetable farms would be lost when the north-west and south-west growth areas became suburbs over the next two decades.”Everyone thinks the west of the state has the most valuable agricultural land. It is the reverse. The city does,” Mr McGregor said.Research from 2006 showed that the return from agricultural production in the Sydney basin was $5433 per hectare, dramatically higher than the $136 per hectare for the entire state, he said.The federal Agriculture Minister, Tony Burke, said last week that the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation had warned that global farm production needs to rise by 70 per cent in 40 years to feed an extra 2.4 billion people.Mr McGregor said he and colleagues had set up an interactive website, biocitystudio南京夜网, to publicise the concept that metropolises should be planned with a ”total system” in mind, including food as one of 12 components that must be in balance with others, such as transport.”We know we are running out of oil,” he said. ”We rely on it for cultivating agricultural land, for fertilising, for pesticides, for production and transport. So in that entire chain when fuel costs begin to rise, we are going to see food become less affordable to people in our cities. If we have built upon our productive agricultural areas, we have forever lost the ability to produce cheaper food close to where we live.”
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