Report: The Resilience of Melbourne's Food System

This report outlines the findings of an investigation into the resilience of Melbourne’s food system to climate and pandemic shocks and stresses.

The findings of this research include:

  • Melbourne’s food system will face more frequent and severe shocks in future related to climate change, including fire, flood and drought
  • Melbourne’s food system faces a range of other shocks and stresses including pandemic, energy shocks and ecological stresses
  • The 2019-2020 bushfires in south-east Australia and the COVID-19 pandemic had impacts throughout the food system from production to consumption
  • Vulnerabilities in Melbourne’s food system include geographic and corporate concentration, long ‘just in time’ supply chains, insecure employment in food and farming and high levels of food loss and waste
  • The resilience of Melbourne’s food system is undermined by ongoing food insecurity in the region, which is exacerbated by shocks and stresses
  • Rising food insecurity during shocks and stresses is mainly addressed through emergency food relief, which is the responsibility of the charitable sector
  • Diversity is a key feature of resilient food systems – in the geographic locations that food is sourced from, the scale of food and farming enterprises, the types of enterprises that supply food and the types of food that are grown
  • Other features of resilient food systems include adaptation and innovation, decentralisation, and collaboration and networks
  • There is a need for long term planning for the resilience of food supplies that draws on the lessons learned from recent shocks to the food system, such as the 2019-2020 bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic
  • As the frequency and severity of shocks and stresses increases, there is a need for government leadership in food resilience planning at all levels of government, with a focus on the food security of those who are most vulnerable to the impacts of shocks and stresses

Sign up for the Foodprint Melbourne newsletter for project updates