Agriculture is one of the oldest forms of agriculture, and a huge part of our daily lives, but the term ‘agricola’ has never been used as an official term.
But that is changing, with a new Government Department proposing to change what the term means.
Agricultural science and urban agriculture are all at the heart of the proposal.
The idea is that ‘agri’ means the area in which people live, and ‘agro’ means food produced, not produced in the area.
Agricola could be expanded to include farming in rural areas and urban areas.
The term ‘urban agriculture’ could be applied to all agriculture that takes place in urban areas, and not just agricultural production.
One of the arguments made in favour of the new definition is that the term was created by a group of farmers who lived in urban locations, who could be seen as having a particular interest in agriculture.
In its official submission to the Government, the National Farmers Union of Australia (NFUA) said the term had been ‘generally used as a catch-all for the broad range of activities that rural people do on a daily basis.”
Agricolas can encompass more than just agriculture, they can also include the construction of homes, businesses, cultural events, social gatherings, recreation, and much more,” the submission said.
‘It would be more efficient for the Government to define the term as ‘urban’ and use that to describe a range of agriculture activities’ There are a number of different ways of defining ‘urban farming’, according to the submission.
For example, a farmer could define their urban farming as being for the benefit of the community rather than for profit.
This could include providing a small amount of cash to help cover the costs of building a new farmhouse, for example.
Similarly, the farming community could define a farming activity as being part of the wider community.
This would include providing services, education, health and childcare.
And there are other ways in which the definition could be used, including for the purpose of defining specific agricultural areas, such as: providing a safe and secure food supply to the community; supporting community farming; and providing a place for people to meet.
There has been much discussion around the definition of ‘urban’, with a variety of organisations advocating for a ‘neutral definition’ for the term, or a new definition of agricultural activity.
According to the National Agricultural Council, the term is not ‘a blanket term for all activities in rural Australia’.
The definition could then be applied more broadly, according to Mr McNeill.
“Agriculture is an area of Australian society that spans generations and involves a range, from children to senior citizens, from smallholders to large multinational corporations, and is increasingly recognised as a key component of a community’s economic and social well-being,” he said.”
The Government needs to recognise the fact that rural Australians are engaged in the construction, management and maintenance of the rural economy, and that the use of the term agriculture has different meanings across different generations.
“[This] should be addressed by a Government that works to understand the changing needs of rural Australia and how best to meet the needs of those who live in urban and regional areas.”