A growing number of urban farming models in Australia are putting fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables on the table. Yet these farms want to do more than sell fresh veggies and increase vitamin intake of residents, they want to impact the lives of residents.
I n Pe r t h , G r e e n Wo rl d Revolution ( GWR) cultivates microgreens, edible leaves, edible flowers, baby vegetables and cut herbs on 400 square metres of land in the city. A combination of raised beds constructed from recycled and repurposed materials and outdoor hydroponics is used to grow the produce.
The chief executive, Toby Whittington, says the f arm currently supplies 35 restaurants around the city with f resh produce f our days a week. Deliveries are made by bicycle and the farm also has a number of private clients that buy directly from the site.
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As a social enterprise, the farm has created six ongoing jobs for for merly long- ter m unemployed people and employs six more on an as-needs basis for contract projects at other locations. “We currently have a contract project building indoor garden infrastructure for a restaurant and cafe,” Whittington says.
Fifty per cent of the farm’s income is generated from produce sales, while the balance comes from services including providing work- for- the- dole opportunities in conjunction with Communicare Inc.
“T h e wo rk - f o r- t h e - d o l e project is our conduit to be able to connect with unemployed people,” Whittington says. “With our model, we can address two issues, poverty and unemployment, and the environmental issues with food production.”
Whittington says that, previously, many of the farm’s customers were reliant on produce imported to Perth from Melbourne.
“Edible flowers for example might have been in transit for between 48 and 72 hours from New South Wales. Ours might have been picked an hour ago and be on the forks within a few minutes of arriving at the restaurant,” he says.
“We are providing high-quality fresh, local produce and we are providing social good. We are now finding a lot of chefs and businesses are choosing to be with us because of the social good.” Whittington says many unemployed people in the city do not have much access to fresh food, or knowledge of how food is produced. “We share the harvest and we educate people about how to produce their own food,” Whittington says. “If we provide people with food every week, that is something good too.”
GWR is currently building its second urban farm on disused vacant land behind the Art Gallery of Western Australia. Also a work-for-the-dole project, the garden will be used as a “foraging farm” for chefs and cooks from Perth restaurants.
A third farm is planned for later this year on a car park at the Australian College of Applied Education’s hospitalIN PERTH, GREEN WORLD REVOLUTION CULTIVATES LEAVES, VEGETABLES AND HERBS ON 400 SQ M OF LAND IN THE CITY ity, cooking and business school.
Melbour ne s ustainability not-for-profit centre Ceres operates both a one- acre certified organic urban farm at its Brunswick site and a twoand-a-half acre market garden on council land. It produces vegetables, f ruit, eggs and seedlings that are sold direct to consumers and through the organisation’s Fair Food online delivery business.
Melissa Lawson, Ceres’s farm and food group manager, says the food delivery business is selling tonnes of produce a week, sourced both from their farms and a network of local growers. About 5% is grown within the Melbour ne city area in suburban orchards and market gardens. They also run education programmes and host events such as weddings at the farm. Ceres also operates a formal incubator programme for start- ups, such as a program for young migrants who were developing and marketing a food product.
Lawson says people have become disconnected from the supply chain that provides their food. The flip side of the disconnection is a growing concern about where food comes from and who grows it, she says. Some newly formatted agreements to sale being readied by developers clearly state that the allottee shall have undivided proportionate share in the common areas and that the garage/ closed parking shall be treated as a single indivisible unit for all purposes.
Many of these agreements follow the agreement to sale template notified by ministry of housing and urban poverty alleviation for union territories. No state has so far notified the agreement to sale rules.
“The right of the allottee to use the common areas shall always be subject to the timely payment of maintenance charges and other charges as applicable. It is clarified that the promoter shall convey undivided proportionate title in the common areas to the association of allottees as pro- vided in the Act,” says an agreement to sale.
It also clarifies that the computation of the price of the apartment or plot includes recovery of the price of land, construction of (not only the apartment but also) the common areas, internal development charges, external development charges, taxes, cost of providing electric wiring, fire detection and firefighting equipment in the common areas etc and includes cost for providing all other facilities as provided within the project, it says.
It also clarifies that garage/ closed parking shall be treated as a single indivisible unit for all purposes.
This, say legal experts, is a positive move. Earlier the developers would sell an apartment based on the super area due to which common areas and parking areas were never specified separately in the sale deed. “The statute now demands that the builder sell the unit basis the carpet areas and therefore the need to specify the common areas and the parking areas separately,” says SK Pal, a Supreme Court lawyer.
The new agreements also spell out the rights a customer has as per the agreement and after possession of the apartment. Now a customer is entitled to specific performance by the builder as a buyer.
“If the promoter f ails to deliver or do something, then the purchaser can go in for spe- cific performance. What this means is that instead of claiming damages or compensation, the buyer has the right to make sure that the developer performs the obligations laid down in the contract,” says Akshat Pande, partner, Seth Dua & Associates.
As for the force majeure clause, these agreements specify that the developer has to hand over possession unless there is delay or failure due to war, flood, drought, fire, cyclone, earthquake or any other calamity caused by nature affecting the regular development of the real estate project.
“A promoter cannot terminate an agreement on account of increase in cement prices or lack of adequate labour. Force majeure clause is applicable to conditions that are beyond human control, something that impacts a developer’s capacity to perform the contract,” explains Pande.
Agriculture experts in Australia are encouraging residents to produce their own food through urban farms.
Parking space will now be treated as single indivisible unit.