La Perouse Chinese Market Gardens part of Sydney's sustainable agricultural future

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

NSW Greens NSW upper MP joins with local Randwick Council election candidate to highlight threat to one Sydney's local urban food sources

A petition has been tabled in the NSW Parliament calling on the Government to ensure the La Perouse Market Gardens are protected for ongoing local food supply.

The petition was lodged in the Legislative Council by Greens NSW agriculture spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham.

Mr Buckingham said, "The agricultural productivity from market gardens is almost 40 times higher than large scale agriculture. It not only makes sense economically, but it is more socially and environmentally responsible. These gardens should be protected for urban agriculture.

"Food security and sustainable employment are big issues for the future and local market gardens provide quality local jobs, reduce food miles and are an important social focal point for local communities. It is win, win, win."

Greens NSW upper house MLC Jeremy Buckingham and Randwick South Ward candidate James MacDonald inspect a Chinese market garden crop.">

Greens NSW upper house MLC Jeremy Buckingham (left) and Randwick South Ward candidate James MacDonald (right) inspect a La Perouse Chinese market garden crop.

Greens South Ward candidate in the upcoming council elections James MacDonald has said the future of the Chinese Market Gardens is the state Government's hands.

Mr MacDonald said, "Randwick City Council is proposing to rezone the site to protect its Chinese agricultural history but the Department of Planning and Infrastructure will make the final decision. I call upon the O'Farrell Government to make a visionary commitment to protecting this valued local urban food source.

"The Market Gardens are an ongoing contribution to both maintaining our Chinese agricultural heritage and a local food industry. Their destruction would be a terrible loss for the culture and sustainability of La Perouse.

"I will be using the council election to keep this issue in the minds of our state MP and the Planning Minister and working with the community to ensure it is protected as a food growing area.

Mr MacDonald questioned whether the low-lying flood prone site was suitable for use by the adjoining cemetery. He said, "The low-lying market site is flood prone making it unsuitable for burials but ideal for food production."

A spokesperson for the Sydney Food Fairness Alliance, Jocelyn Howden said that the loss of prime agricultural land in the Sydney city region would mean Sydney-siders would be importing their food from further away. Currently 100% of leafy greens (including Asian vegetables) are still grown in the Sydney Basin.

"We need to encourage the government to protect all existing farming land from development of any kind.

"Growing vegetables locally and on-selling directly to local retailers is a good way to keep fresh food prices low, an important aspect of food security," Ms Howden said.