Media Alert: Experts to explore Sydney's hunger for both food and land

Date: 14/09/2009

Food may be essential to life but the journey from paddock to plate can be a challenge, especially in large cities like Sydney. A conference to be convened at the University of Western Sydney's Hawkesbury campus on 24 September will focus on how to feed growing cities when agricultural land, water and resources are in short supply.

Speakers from the farming, food distribution and retail industries will join experts in sustainable agriculture for a close examination of the Sydney agricultural landscape.

Guest speakers will include:
* Professor Bill Bellotti, Vincent Fairfax Chair in Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development at UWS
* Professor Phillip O'Neill, Director of the UWS Urban Research Centre
* Tristan Harris, Harris Farm Markets
* Chris Davis, Commissioner of the National Water Commission
* John Webster, Chief Executive Officer, Foodbank Australia

Professor Phillip O'Neill, from the UWS Urban Research Centre, says Sydney will provide an excellent case study for the conference.

"Cities, such as Sydney, need to have sustainable and profitable farms close by to provide fresh, cheap and reliable food for their citizens. However, as the population grows so does the pressure on governments and landholders to re-develop prime agricultural land into housing estates," says Professor O'Neill.

"There's an urgent need to balance the demands new land releases for housing with the need to maintain a permanent supply of suitable land for food production," he says.

Professor Bill Bellotti, from the UWS School of Natural Sciences says feeding Sydney, indeed the world, in the 21st century will demand a rethink on how and where food is produced.

"We need to reassess how we feed our cities in the face of the twin challenges of climate change and population growth. It will require a collaborative approach which draws together agricultural and environmental science, economics, urban planning and political will," he says.

"Feeding Sydney" will be the inaugural event for the annual Hawkesbury Conference which is convened by the UWS Hawkesbury Foundation in association with the University of Western Sydney.

WHAT: "Feeding Sydney" conference
WHEN: Thursday 24 September 2009
WHERE: UWS Hawkesbury campus, Richmond, NSW
INFO: Registrations and conference details or



Senior Media Officer

Paul Grocott
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