Alternative food economies and urban agriculture in Australian cities

Program Code: 

Dr Alec Thornton (


A key aim of this study is to understand local attitudes and perceptions towards various forms of urban agriculture (e.g. community, market and backyard gardens) as a contributor to alternative local food networks. The urgent research problem that this project will address is identifying pathways for cities to improve local food security in an era of rapid urbanisation, escalating food costs and global warming. Expected outcomes of this study are to (a) determine the relevance of local alternative food networks to communities and city councillors and (b) constraints and opportunities for civic engagement in urban food production.

Description of Work: 

This project will involve qualitative and quantitative research methods, in the form of interviews and questionnaire surveys of those engaged in urban agriculture. Participant observation and action research are also considered.

Dr Thornton has a number of openings for PhD projects. These projects include: 

  1. Alternative food economies, urban green infrastructure and urban agriculture
  2. Resource governance for sustainable rural development, food security and economic growth in Africa