In 2012, the City of Melbourne became the first local government in Australia to develop and adopt a Food Policy: Food City.
The City of Melbourne Food City Policy recognises that we need to work together to address the challenges facing our food system and to ensure we have sufficient access to good food for all, now and into the future.
The aim of the policy is to improve community health and wellbeing by promoting a food system that is secure, healthy, fair, sustainable, thriving and socially inclusive.
The refreshed Food City Policy has been informed by engagement with food system stakeholders including food social enterprises, academics, food relief organisations, local and state government, and a review of leading practice around the world.
We are asking for your feedback on the themes of our refreshed policy and your vision of Melbourne as a city that provides good food for all, now and into the future. Hearing from our community is a vital part in ensuring our refreshed Food City Policy is reflective of our community’s vision and values.
Read the Food City Policy summary
The Food City Policy summary will be presented to the Future Melbourne Committee on Tuesday 5 December 2023 for endorsement. A final version of the refreshed Food City Policy will be provided following endorsement from the Future Melbourne Committee.
There are eight themes in the Food City Policy summary.
Promoting a food system that acknowledges and respects First Nations custodianship and culture, and includes weaving Aboriginal food heritage and culture into the urban fabric of the City of Melbourne. This includes developing meaningful partnerships with Aboriginal health agencies, services and social enterprises, embedding a strengths-based and justice-oriented approach into municipal health and wellbeing planning and acknowledging connection to Country as central to Aboriginal health, belonging and self-determination.
Strong partnerships and collaborative governance contribute to working towards a shared agenda and demonstrating accountability in the implementation of the Food City policy. This includes engaging and encouraging community and business participation in decisions and activities to shape Melbourne’s food system.
Access to nutritious, safe and culturally appropriate food for all people at all times is a human right and the cornerstone of a just food system.
Food security can be strengthened when communities are empowered by supportive local government programs to shape their local and regional food system. A coordinated approach to emergency food relief is needed to increase access to nutritious, safe and culturally appropriate food for all people in the City of Melbourne, with a focus on those who are most vulnerable
Food environments (which include the built, retail and digital environments) shape people’s food purchasing decisions and accordingly their diet and health. City of Melbourne can work with the community and partners to improve the availability and accessibility of nutritious food within the city, and promote its consumption. This includes increasing the amount of healthy food and drink options available in City of Melbourne owned and managed facilities, catering and events.
The City of Melbourne is connected to the highly productive farmland areas surrounding outer Melbourne. By strengthening the linkages between the City of Melbourne and the surrounding regions that feed our city, we can reduce the negative environmental impacts of Melbourne’s food system, support our local and regional farmers and food businesses, and contribute to a more resilient food future.
The City of Melbourne recognises the importance of supporting and promoting urban agriculture to enhance the health and wellbeing of local communities and contribute to action on climate change. Rooftop farms, edible balconies and backyards, and street and community gardens provide access to locally grown food and spaces to connect and share our cultural and culinary diversity. These spaces cool the city, capture stormwater runoff, increase biodiversity and encourage composting and seed saving practices.
Melbourne’s food and hospitality sector provides a variety of employment opportunities, strengthening our local economy and liveability. Increasing and promoting opportunities to buy fresh, seasonal foods from Victorian producers supports our regional economy and enhances the quality and character of the food and hospitality sector within Melbourne. Part of this includes acknowledging the role of fresh food markets and greengrocers in contributing to the health and wellbeing of residents and the cultural diversity of local communities.
Melbourne is a city that loves to celebrate food through its markets and restaurants, lively cafe culture and festivals large and small. Sharing meals and eating together is an important part of everyday life and connects us with each other. Supporting and promoting celebrations of food can bring people together, connect us to country/land, strengthen social cohesion and build connected communities.
Who we are working with
City of Melbourne are a participating city in Partnership for Healthy Cities, a prestigious global network of cities committed to saving lives by preventing noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and injuries. Supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies in partnership with the World Health Organization and Vital Strategies, this initiative enables cities around the world to deliver a high-impact policy or programmatic intervention to reduce NCDs and injuries in their communities (Partnership for Healthy Cities, 2023).
- Food City – Food Policy 2012
- Community Food Relief – Planning for a food secure city 2021-2025
- Community Food Guide and online food map
- Council Plan 2021-2025
The development of this policy is supported by the Partnership for Healthy Cities – an initiative of Bloomberg Philanthropies, the World Health Organization and Vital Strategies.