Keywords: urban ecosystems, local food production, home gardens, sustainable food future, residential development, sustainable development, sustainability, ecosystems maintenance, environmental impact, New Zealand, annual household savings, community behaviour, policy measures
Local food production in home gardens: measuring on-site sustainability potential of residential development
Local food production is an integrated pathway to achieving a sustainable food future, appropriate urban ecosystem maintenance and meaningful environmental impact reduction. Current urban food production policies have demonstrated the sustainability importance of growing food locally. This paper analyses local vegetable productivities associated with available productive land areas as home gardens in low, medium and high density residential urban forms using aerial photographs, spatial ArcGIS and mathematical methods. It compares the food production potential of a household in five different residential urban form case studies from the Auckland Region, New Zealand. Potential annual household savings are estimated as Land Area Equivalents (LEQs) in hectares using ecological footprint conversion methods. The case studies were compared to determine the most 'food efficient' urban form considering average and maximum production scenarios. Outcomes indicate that community behaviour change and appropriate policy measures are critical for the uptake of local food production in home gardens.