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Housing and Food Production: Resident and Grower Perceptions of Peri-Urban Food-Production Landscapes

November 2023

Publication: Land
Author(s): Shannon Davis, Guanyu Chen and Naomi Darvill

The loss of productive soils and food-producing landscapes on the edges of cities is an increasing issue facing Aotearoa New Zealand. Like many countries globally, New Zealand’s largest cities are facing rapid expansion because of increasing urbanisation, with high levels of low-density residential sprawl into the productive peri-urban hinterlands and increasing rates of ‘reverse sensitivity’.

Food production, as a result, is being pushed further away, disconnected from the communities it serves, and often onto less productive soil. This paper explores the perceptions and attitudes of both peri-urban residents and food producers living and working within the peri-urban zone of Ōtautahi Christchurch.

Conducting two surveys, one with residents and another with producers, respondents’ perceptions of food growing within this peri-urban landscape are explored to better understand the enablers and barriers of growing food close to cities.

Overall, the results indicated that peri-urban residents appreciate food being produced close to where they live, with over 90% of residential respondents feeling either ‘mostly positive’ or ‘extremely positive’ towards food being grown close to their homes.

Of greatest concern for peri-urban residents were issues relating to negative impacts on the environment and human health, with particular concern for water quality. The lack of accessibility to locally produced food was also identified as an area of concern to residents.

Food producers felt less positive towards operating their food-production enterprises within the peri-urban zone, identifying a range of issues impacting their experience. The information rendered from these surveys provides a base for future land-use planning consideration within the peri-urban zone, where both food production and housing can co-exist.

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