70% of the Mornington Peninsula is designated in the planning scheme as Green Wedge and this land supports a rich and varied Agriculture industry with perennial horticulture, annual horticulture, grazing, poultry, cropping and artisan food products all significant contributors to the $1.3B sector.
Council’s Green Wedge Management Plan sets out a vision for the Green Wedge that it is “a place where the critical role of sustainable agriculture is recognised, protected and supported as a key land use and the productive capacity of land is conserved and enhanced for the future”.
On 20th December 2022 Council adopted a 6-year Food Economy and Agroecology Strategy which sets out a range of industry lead priority actions under five ambitious pillars to support a thriving and resilient farming, food and beverage economy which actively regenerates the soils and resources on which our community depends.
Food Economy and Agroecology Strategy
The Food Economy and Agroecology Strategy was commissioned to drive sustainable growth in the agriculture, food and beverage sector whilst preserving and enhancing the regions ecology and biodiversity through agroecological approaches to farming and production. It strongly aligns with Council’s Climate Emergency Response and positions the Mornington Peninsula as an exemplar of future food economies underpinned by sustainable production and resilience to future climate or supply shocks. It also aligns with Council’s Green Wedge Management Plan which provides much of the planning framework for land use planning in the Green Wedge (Mornington Peninsula Green Wedge Management Plan, 2019).
The strategy recommends a number of key initiatives including:
- Establish a Taskforce to help Council drive transformation of agricultural production and a new food economy.
- Reinvigorate and expand the Mornington Peninsula Produce brand to become the driving promotional mechanism for sustainable food production on the Peninsula.
- Engage primary and secondary producers to ensure skills and capacity to participate in the new food economy. The Strategy establishes the Mornington Peninsula's Food Economy as an exemplar region for economic, environmental and social sustainability through collaboration, coordination and cooperation.
This Strategy will position the Mornington Peninsula at the forefront of change by transforming the way food is produced. It is informed by scientific research, Council’s own policies and engagement with producers, industry stakeholders and the community.
The Strategy recognises the huge importance of the food economy on the Peninsula but also recognises the immense opportunity for Mornington Peninsula to develop a reputation for verifiable clean, green production systems that guarantee product quality, ensure food safety and build natural capital on farms.
The targets and actions provided though the five pillars of the strategy aim to provide mechanisms and pathways to shift the Mornington Peninsula’s food economy to one that is environmentally, economically and socially sustainable.
Food Economy and Agroecology Strategy 2022-2028
The Mornington Peninsula Landcare Network has developed a brochure for landholders on rural land called the “Small Rural Property Guide” - A resource for common land management issues on small rural properties - see downloads on the right-hand side.
Sustainable Food Economy and Regenerative Agriculture Taskforce
The Sustainable Food Economy and Regenerative Agriculture Taskforce has been appointed to work with Council on the implementation of the Council’s Food Economy and Agroecology Strategy.
An EOI process was conducted with a high calibre of applications from a range of local industry experts and stakeholders.
The Taskforce members are:
- Sam Turner (chair)
- Olivia Barrie, MP Wine
- Steve Marshall, Peninsula Avocados
- Nikki Hale, Peninsula Health
- Lisa Remato, Uncommon Folk
- Nathan Wainwright, Regenerating Farms
- Karen Thomas, Melbourne Water
- Angela Byatt, FMPLLEN
- David Gibb, VFF
- Alexander Burte, independent farming consultant
- Vanessa Clarkson, Foodways Consulting/Melbourne University
At their inaugural meeting on Tuesday 8 August the group appointed Sam Turner Chair of the Taskforce.
The establishment of the Taskforce delivers on a key objective of the Food Economy and Agroecology Strategy to drive sector wide collaboration and purpose-driven investment.
We are excited to harness the breadth and depth of knowledge and experience in the group to drive transformation change across our agriculture, food and beverage economy.
Farmer Discussion Groups
The Mornington Peninsula farmer discussion network meet regularly throughout the year to discuss common farming challenges, learn from industry experts, and network with like-minded farmers. Discussion days are typically on farm and free. To be added to the email distribution list and hear about upcoming activities, please email us.
Future Farmers - A panel discussion about getting young farmers on land.
In June 2023, we held an interactive webinar with a range of industry leaders to discuss career pathways into farming and the range of obstacles and opportunities in the industry.
Whether you are thinking about a future career pathway, looking for ideas to start your own business, trying to find an opportunity to be on the land for yourself or with others, or you already have a venture started and want to learn more from these mentors, this webinar covers important tips and hints for success from people who have made farming or growing food a success.
The Food Economy and Agroecology Strategy identifies the transition of farming and land management to more regenerative practices as a key pillar. Application of agroecological/regenerative principles on the Mornington Peninsula focuses on resource use efficiency (fertilisers, energy inputs, waste management), system resilience (biodiversity, responding to climate change, carbon sequestration), and social equity (access to quality food, skill development and land). These principles have a strong focus on soil management but recognise the importance of biodiversity and the need for integration of all parts of the production system.
Mornington Peninsula Shire, in collaboration with the Westernport Catchment Landcare Network, Bass Coast Landcare and South Gippsland Landcare produced a short video series on the key principles of Regenerative Agriculture.
Regular training and learning opportunities are available to landholders in the region. Email us for more information.
Resources and links
If you have a business or are thinking of purchasing a property to run a business, here’s some links that will help you in the process: