2050 Community Agriculturalists
To transform the reliant existence of communities in 2020 into 2050 Sustainable Community Systems.
Lead Applicant Organization Name
Australian Agricultural Centre
Lead Applicant Organization Type
Small company (under 50 employees)
If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.
Enesys - Waste to Energy Company
Vertical Farm Systems - Bioponic Automated Growing System
University of Technology Sydney - Renewable Energy Design
GoTerra - Food Waste Management
Young Farmers Connect - Cultvates, networks, resources and community for young farmers
Narambulla Partnership - Agriculturalist
Website of Legally Registered Entity
How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?
Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?
Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?
Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?
Upper Lachlan Shire, New South Wales has a total area of 7100km2
What country is your selected Place located in?
Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.
For the last 10 years I lived on a property of 2500ac in a small village of 300 people. Our closest town is Crookwell. Crookwell has four seasons, great soil, and a diverse range of agricultural processes. It is also filled with people who are passionate about their industry, their children's future and their community. In our small village we solved our problem of connectivity by engaging a company to create our own network. I have spent many hours contributing to this community because I came in as an outsider and was given the chance to understand what a "sense of community" means. Crookwell has the energy and the passion to lead the way and provide a different picture for our future and how other communities can transform from the existing 2020 challenges to a 2050 Food/ Circular Economy System.
Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.
Upper Lachlan Shire is located on the Southern Tablelands 45 kilometres west of Goulburn, 60 kilometres north of Canberra, 130 kilometres south-east of Bathurst and 238km to Sydney. Crookwell is on the Great Dividing Range and has four seasons. The Upper Lachlan is an old agricultural area which is reflected in their diet of traditional meat and vegetable or salad meals. New and emerging crops are being introduced to the area and the diversity is being welcomed. The community love their rural regional life and invest a lot of themselves in the survival of the town, village, shire. It is an area that is known for its fine wool, prime lambs, beef production, potato production, history and picturesque countryside. 7, 794 people live in the Shire, 2, 507 people living in the major centre of Crookwell and the majority living in the smaller towns (Gunning, Collector and Taralga) and villages (Dalton, Binda, Bigga, Laggan, Jerrawa, Grabben Gullen, Breadalbane and Tuena) or on rural properties. The smaller towns and villages are strong in character and have a long history of working hard to keeping their villages alive. Despite its proximity to major centres, Upper Lachlan Shire is strongly rural in its character. Agricultural endeavours have been a feature of the economic and social fabric of the Shire.
There are health services, a hospital and a range of educational facilities from Pre-school to Year 12. The diversity of the shire's recreational facilities ensures residents and visitors have many opportunities to spend time enjoying outdoor activities including fishing, golf, boating, swimming, tennis and many other sports. We also have a number of resident artists and craftspeople so there is no shortage of cultural pursuits. The main angst for the residents is the career opportunities for their children and the need to leave to find a job. There is a growing trend for next generation to return to the family property bringing with them ideas and flexibility for a more promising future.
What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)
What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?
Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.
Countries around the world are trying to produce quantities and types of food that are not adaptive to their environment and climate. The world is realising the traditional forms of producing food need to change and everyone is scrambling for the answer.
We are used to having all types of food year round rather than eating seasonally. In Australia, we are lucky to have access to fresh produce year round to meet the multicultural needs of our population. Unfortunately, European traditional farming practices that began in the 1700's were not appropriate for the landscape and instead of taking note of the native Australians' systems for survival, we have created a landscape in great need of repair to be able to be part of the global future food requirements.
• Farming land is being divided and sold to small recreational land owners. All of our food cannot be grown in greenhouse environments we still have the need for broad acre farming which is being pushed further into non arable land. Crops are being developed to withstand less water, more pests, and shorter growing periods however the work and science involved in these processes are not being understood or appreciated.
• Agriculturalists are working harder for less return, while the price of food increases. The Urban population, the greatest contingent of consumer, needs a greater awareness for food and fibre production to extend greater return to the producer.
• The Rural Regional communities will still cook the traditional evening meal and love promoting their regional cuisine and traditionally made foods. Whilst urban communities look for "fast" easy meal options. Our "fast lives" that encourage "fast food" only create isolation, and a breakdown in family values, and mental and physical health. The introduction of boutique producers is bringing a focus back to regional cuisine and promotes "good food good company".
• There is slow uptake of the latest Technology and Innovation. Farmers are traditional and like the comfort of what they know and the result they can expect. It is now necessary to adapt and adopt change.
• Communities can benefit from creating micro-grids, not only for internet and power but for many centralised government and community services. Communities traditionally "caught up" on a Sunday at Church. We do not have the traditional place for gatherings, and even the local pub is losing its appeal in rural areas, with the lack of public transport and taxis. I see in our village of Bigga how there is still a need and purpose for connection.
If we don't solve the current challenges they will become the future challenges for the expectation of food production for the 2050 population. We have the capability to deliver the changes required. We unfortunately as a human race do not like change, and a Government term that is not conducive to long term planning but short term "bandaids" that tend to favour current politics and loud voices rather than future generation survival.
Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.
The Australian Agricultural Centre vision is to create a demonstration of future community (human or agricultural) interaction and prosperity. It will provide access to learning, demonstration and opportunity to see results of change and adaptation that is required to heal the environment, evolve from traditional practices, and entice the next generation into an industry that is the least appreciated but every one of us cannot live without. We will create an education system than produces an innovative movement in production and circular community existence.
The Australian Agricultural Centre will provide;
• Demonstrate regenerative farming vs traditional best practice farming, so producers are able to make an informed choice.
• Education for small acreage land owners on sustainable land practices, and opportunities for boutique industries, that involve land sharing and multiple stakeholders.
• Education and demonstration of food and fibre production will install greater appreciation by the consumer and give value back to the producer.
• A circular economy demonstration involving a vertical farm, a brewery, and a waste to energy set up will demonstrate opportunities and returns that can be obtained utilising a portion of the land and can be combined with traditional farming practices. Producers need to be able to increase their return and reduce their costs to be sustainable and continue to produce the food and fibre we need to meet the 2050 demand.
• A Paddock to Plate restaurant utilising local produce will promote the taste of good fresh sustainable produce. We will reduce the cost of production by creating micro-producing communities/economies so that more people can afford and appreciate fresh healthy produce.
• Greater accessibility to the innovation and technology to increase implementation and reduce the bottom line.
• An authentic rural/regional experience that provides a sense of community.
High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.
Breaking News 2050
According to the Australian Sustainability Office, the capital cities of all Australian states and territories have reached or exceeded the Sustainability Indicator SI 80.80.20 target set by the Federal Government in 2020. These densely populated cities now sustainably produce at least 80% of their energy and 80% of their food within 20km of their main commercial centres. Individual city SI data is published at w.aso.fed.au.
PEO Felix Batley quipped “This has been made possible by the relentless efforts of sustainable technology entrepreneurs, academia and industry groups who were able to disrupt strong traditional industrial and commercial barriers that were founded during the industrial revolution. This allowed resources and energy to freely flow between industries, particularly renewables, waste, energy and food sectors to close every conceivable cycle and create sustainable circular economies.”
A rising chorus of quipers are predicting that ASO may roll out SI incentives for regional cities and larger towns during 2051. SI incentives are funded by Australia’s strengthened world trading position which has surged ahead mostly in response to reduced cost of its own domestic support systems and increased global productivity.
Community wellbeing responses are also tipped to continue their steady climb as families are now learning, contributing and relaxing within their own communities and the national highways are being scaled back in response high speed rail links, near zero food and commodity kilometres and lower packaging and handling costs. Hundreds of distributed high density indoor farms (HDIF) surrounding and within capital cities are now completely climate resistant, x‘cide free and truly organic with the aid of renewable energy and WEG (waste to energy to growing) linking infrastructure. It’s hard to imagine how high kilometre food monopolies ever worked.
Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?
We have to start somewhere and this is where we start, at the Australian Agricultural Centre that includes a demonstrative circular economy with a Vertical Farm powered by Waste to Energy (WEG) technology. The water produced from the vertical farm and the WEG is used in the adjoined brewery and the CO2 from the Brewery is transferred into the vertical farm. The excess water is utilised to irrigate and grow broad acre crops which also reduce CO2 emissions, and the spent barley from the brewery is fed to the animals. The soil health is improved with regenerative processes and water retention is improved reversing the effects of centuries of inappropriate production methods and considerations. This circular sustainable economy is the beginning of the satellites/micro-grids that our communities will adopt around the world to reduce costs, increase agricultural prosperity and provide better access and resources.
If each community became self sustaining with its own;
• Digital network,
• Waste disposal through energy, and stock fodder creation, recycling enterprises
• Food production systems ie vertical/greenhouse farming, relative to growing conditions ie climate, land availability, population, and capacity. Trading with other communities only what it is they cannot produce or access locally, taking pressure off transport infrastructure, fuel, production costs, and climate variability.
• Renewable energy micro-grid, taking pressure of mass energy production and climate risk to production and distribution
A game changing locally driven system vision, not only for future food systems, government and infrastructure requirements, but a transformative future that has the potential to create a community of stakeholders united in delivering and maintaining local resources to produce a regenerative, sustainable and nourishing food future system for 2050.
How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?