Led by A/Prof Vaughan Higgins
The information on these pages is accurate to the end of 2016 when reporting for SRA was completed for the 2015-16 Biennial Report. All reporting for our projects is now found in relevant areas under the four research themes.
The aim of this SRA was to improve understanding of food system vulnerability in rural and regional Australia by, evaluating the adequacy of existing policy and planning responses to vulnerability and conducting research which contributes to the development of more sustainable and resilient food systems.
Food security is an issue of growing academic and political significance in Australia. However, there is little systematic analysis of Australian domestic food security in relation to rural and regional areas in Australia. This SRA is addressing this gap, enabling the Institute to develop a comparative advantage in this rapidly growing area. It is doing so by developing research activities that investigate the economic, political, cultural, and equity dimensions of food security in rural and regional areas.
SRA members worked together in the development of two projects:
Some members of this SRA were also engaged in food security research overseas (Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Zimbabwe) where the work fits within the scope of this SRA.
The SRA had eight members made up of ILWS members, adjuncts and a practitioner/entrepreneur active in promoting local food in Wagga Wagga with capacity in a range of disciplines including sociology, agricultural science, nutrition and dietetics, environmental science and business.
These researchers have expertise in:
SRA activities and research projects were expected to influence future food security related policies, from how food is produced, and where, to issues associated with access to healthy and culturally appropriate food.
In 2016, the SRA planned to develop a research project for possible ARC Linkage funding focusing on why, and in what ways, food retailers are seeking to develop short food supply chains; and contribute to the development of a larger-scale multi-Centre initiative focus on Food Futures: Intensification and Sustainability.
Two cross-centre projects (with the Graham Centre) funded by the Department of Agriculture on farm biosecurity practices and the management of emergency animal disease (EAD), and on engaging landholders to adopt profitable and sustainable carbon cropping practices have has been completed, as has an ARC Discovery project which looked at the use of Market Instruments for improved land management in Australia, and a RIRDC project on new immigrants and improving productivity in Australia agriculture.
Current projects include:
Completed projects include:
Regional and rural Australia is facing serious and growing food security challenges as a result of climate change, declining farm incomes, foreign ownership of farmland, conflicts over the use of land and water, rising fuel costs and diet-related health problems. These challenges threaten the well-being of Basin industries, communities and people as well as Australia's position as a net exporter of food.
For example, Australia's increasing dependence on imported fossil fuels means that at best there is 14 days worth of fuel in reserve. Should this vulnerable system be affected by geo-political disturbances for any longer than a week, domestic food production would be affected and many Australians, especially in rural and regional areas would not have the usual supplies of food they are used to, via the dominant retail food supermarket system.
This SRA sought to develop an improved understanding of the social, economic and environmental impact of these challenges on rural and regional residents, to critically assess the adequacy of the existing food system and policies in dealing with such challenges, and to map out alternatives that are capable of reducing vulnerability and promoting more sustainable and resilient food systems and rural and regional communities.
|A/Prof Vaughan Higgins||Social research on agri-food governance, sustainable land management, biosecurity, landholder adoption of new farming practices|
|Professor Allan Curtis||Social dimensions of regional natural resource management;rural landholder adoption of conservation practices; role of local organisations in rural development; evaluation of natural resource management programs.|
|A/Prof Branka Krivokapic-Skoko||Ethnic entrepreneurship in rural areas, social capital in non-metropolitan areas|
|Dr Joanne Millar||Social research on rural livelihoods, sustainable agriculture and aquaculture systems, natural resource management and rural development|
|Janice Sangster (Adjunct)||Public health nutrition|
|A/Prof Andrew Rawson (Adjunct)||Land management adaptation to climate change, soil carbon sequestration, management of soil organic matter|
|Pennie Scott (Adjunct)|
Local food economies / regenerative farming / retail farming
Enabling prosperous farmers
|Jackie Priestly (Adjunct)||Community dietetics|
Some key research outcomes and impacts include:
Expected outcomes from current projects:
Farm Power and Conservation Agriculture for Sustainable Intensification, Finlayson, M., Blackwell, J. & Krivokapic-Skoko, B. (2013-17) ACIAR, via CIMMY (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre), $544,000 Project details
Access and affordability of healthy food and diets in Western New South Wales, 2014. Priestly, J., Antees, P. (2016) NSW Ministry of Health, $66,000 Project details
New Immigrants Improving Productivity in Australian Agriculture. Krivokapic-Skoko, B., Collins. J. (2012-2015) Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation. Total value $436,932. Led by UTS, ILWS subcontract $61,634. Project details
Engaging Landholders to Adopt Profitable and Sustainable Carbon Cropping Practices. Action on the Ground Project. Higgins, V. and Graham Centre members. (2012-15) Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. Project details
Farm Biosecurity Practices and the Management of Emergency Animal Disease, Hernandez-Jover, M., Higgins, V., Bryant, M. (20013-2014) Cross-centre project with the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Project details
Social factors influencing technology adoption in the rice industry, Higgins, V. & Bryant, M. (2014- 2016) In partnership with Swinburne University, RIRDC, $129,000 Project details
Sustainable Farming in Australia: Market Instruments for Improved Land Management, Higgins,V, Cocklin, C. (James Cook University) and Potter,C. (Imperial College London). (2010-2013) ARC Discovery Project. Project details
Landholder adaptation to climate variability. Curtis,A., Thwaites, R., Mazur, N., Race, D., (2007-08) Natural Heritage Trust.
Culas, R. J & Tek, K. (2016): Food Security in Cambodia: Trends and Policy Objectives, International Journal of Development Issues, 15(3): 306-327 http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1108/IJDI-06-2016-0033
Hernández-Jover, M., Higgins, V., Bryant, M., Rast, L. & McShane, C. (2016) Farm biosecurity practices and the management of emergency animal disease among commercial beef producers in Australia, Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 134: 92-102.
Richards, C. & Higgins, V. (2016) Trade liberalisation and Australian biosecurity: opportunities and challenges under the 'Shared Responsibility' approach, Farm Policy Journal, 13(3): 1-9.
Higgins, V., Bryant, M., Hernández-Jover, M., McShane, C. & Rast, L. (2016) Harmonising devolved responsibility for biosecurity governance: the challenge of competing institutional logics, Environment and Planning A, 48(6): 133-1151.
Conference Presentations and Proceedings
Bryant, M. & Higgins, V. (2016) Constructing change readiness: the positioning of change recipients in an agricultural context. Proceedings of the 2016 British Academy of Management Conference, 6-8 September, Newcastle.
Higgins, V., Herbert, K., Bowden, P., Wu, H. & Behrendt, K. (2016) Social factors influencing landholder management of silverleaf nightshade, Proceedings of the 20th Australian Weeds Conference, 11-15 September, Perth.
Herbert, K., Wu, H., Bowden, P., Behrendt, K. & Higgins, V. (2016) A national program to improve awareness and best management adoption for silverleaf nightshade control, Proceedings of the 20th Australian Weeds Conference, 11-15 September, Perth.
Higgins, V., Bryant, M., Howell, A. & Battersby, J. (2016) Ordering precision agriculture: The socio-material shaping of technology adoption and farming practices, Paper presented at the XIV World Congress of Rural Sociology, August 10-14, Toronto, Canada,.
Sinclair, K., Curtis, A., Mendham, E., & Mitchell, M. (2015). Assessing the efficacy of transition theory to identify industry transformation: a case study examining deregulation of Australia's dairy industry. Australian Geographer, 46(1), 113–129. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00049182.2014.986790
Higgins, V., Dibden, J. and Cocklin, C. (2015) Private agri-food governance and greenhouse gas abatement: Constructing a corporate carbon economy, Geoforum, 66: 75-84
Mendham, E., Curtis, A. (2014). What lies beneath?: rural landholder interpretation of the risks of aquifer exploitation. Journal of Hydrology 511: 180-189.
Sinclair, K., Curtis, A., Mendham, E., Mitchell, M. (2014) Can resilience thinking provide useful insights for those examining efforts to transform contemporary agriculture. Agriculture and Human Values. DOI 10.1007/s10460-014-9488-4.
Higgins, V., Dibden, J., Potter, C., Moon, K. and Cocklin, C. (2014) Payments for ecosystem services, neoliberalisation, and the hybrid governance of land management in Australia, Journal of Rural Studies, 36: 463-474.
Higgins, V., Potter, C., Dibden, J. and Cocklin, C. (2014) Neoliberalising rural environments, Journal of Rural Studies, 36: 386-390.
King, D., Bird, D., Haynes, K., Boon, H., Cottrell, A., Millar, J., Okada, O., Box, P., Keogh, D., and Thomas, M. (2014) Voluntary relocation as an adaptation strategy to extreme weather events. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction DOI : 10.1016/j.ijdrr.2014.02.006
Mazur, N., Curtis, A., Rogers, M. (2013) Do you see what I see? Rural landholders' belief in climate change. Society and Natural Resources 26(1): 75-85
Race, D.H., Curtis, A. (2013) Reflections on the effectiveness of market-based instruments to secure long-term environmental gains in South East Australia. Society and Natural Resources. 26(9): 1050-1065.
Lennox, G., Curtis, A. (2013) Trends in absentee ownership of rural land since European occupation of south east Australia. Australian Geographer 44(4): 419-433.
Rawluk, A., Curtis, A., Sharp, E., Kelly, B., Jakeman, T., Ross, A., Arshad, M., Brodie, R., Pollino, C., Sinclair, D., Croke, B., Querishi, E. (2013) Managed Aquifer Recharge in farming landscapes using large floods: an opportunity to improve outcomes for the MDB? Australasian Journal of Environmental Management 20(1): 34-49.
Mendham, E., Curtis, A. Millar, J. (2012) The natural resource management implications of rural property turnover. Ecology and Society, 17(4): 5 July 2014
Maye, D., Dibden, J., Higgins, V. Potter, C. (2012). Governing biosecurity in a neoliberal world: Comparative perspectives from Australia and the United Kingdom. Environment and Planning A, 44: 150-168.
Millar, J. Roots, J. (2012) Changes in Australian agriculture and land use: implications for future food security. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, 10 (1): 25-39.
Douglas, E.M., Finlayson, C.M., Revenga, C., & Frankic, A. (2014) Chapter 7.. Coastal Systems and Access to Safe and Potable Water in Bowen, R.E., Depledge, M.H. Carlarne, C.P. & Fleming, L.E. (Eds) Oceans and Human Health: Implications for Society and Well-Being, Wiley Blackwell pp 177-200
Farmar-Bowers, Q., Higgins, V., Millar, J. (eds) (2012) Food Security in Australia: Challenges and Future Prospects, New York: Springer.
Food Access and Affordability 2014 – New England portion of Hunter New England LHD and Primary Care Network.
Food Access and Affordability 2014 – Far West NSW Local Health District and Western NSW Primary Care Network.Tackling Food Insecurity; getting healthy food on the table.
A Public Debate on "How we can best secure Australia's future food security?" was held at the CSU Albury-Wodonga Campus in August, 2013, in the lead-up to the Federal election and was attended by more than 130 people.
"Food Security in Australia: Challenges and Prospects for the Future" forum, attended by
over 50 people was held in October 2012. The day-long forum included the launch of a book (with the same name) of which Dr Joanne Millar and A/Prof Vaughan Higgins are co-editors.