Exploring food economies in Otago

We explored local food economies in Otago, working with Otago Polytechnic, and created a toolkit for communities.

Local Food Economies (LFE) is the economic and social system for growing, processing, distributing and consuming food within an area. This builds social capital and increasing resilience in farming communities by increasing activity within the local economy.

Through collaborative processes, an LFE can build community cohesion and greater consumer understanding of food and farming systems, which further breaks down social barriers between New Zealand’s rural and urban communities.

The Otago Food Economy (OFE) project has created a better understanding of the capacity for the Otago region to supply its own food needs with the purpose to promote more resilient food economies that have a stronger focus on localisation.

We developed a Food Economy Toolkit to help other communities or local councils explore the capacity for their town/city/region to supply its own food needs in a sustainable way.

The toolkit provides the background research, case studies and step-by-step exercises to gather the information needed, as well as provide some processes and suggestions about how to then use human assets in communities to explore the opportunities for potential change within existing food economies.

The primary funder for this work was the Ministry for Primary Industries Sustainable Farming Fund. We thank them for both the grant funding and staff support. We also thank Dunedin Rural Development Inc and Otago Polytechnic for their financial support.

Get in touch to access the Food Economy Toolkit and learn more about the project.