HT Estates - - FRONT PAGE - Van­dana Ram­nani

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.

Geo­ther­mal cool­ing, cy­cle paths and jobs: what does it take to get six green stars?

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.

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