Springtime in Sydney is the season when gardens bloom with new growth. It’s also the season when community gardeners will come together at the 5th National Gathering of the Australian City Farms & Community Gardens Network in Randwick, in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, to share their stories about how the practice of community gardening is blooming with new growth at a rate never seen before.
People have been community gardening in Australia for 35 years. Ever since the first community garden made its pioneering, tentative start in Nunawading, Melbourne, the number of community gardens and of people growing some of the food their families eat has expanded significantly. That growth continues to such an extent that councils Australia-wide are adopting policies to support it. Community gardens, of course, are not just family-friendly places to grow food. They are places to make new friends and to learn.
To be welcomed by ABC Gardening Australia’s Costa Georgiadis, the Gathering offers a practical treats for people wishing to acquire new skills in engaging communities in the creative reuse of public land for do-it-yourself food production and to help communities develop new skills and knowledge.
David Engwicht, Australia’s most innovative exponent of the art of placemaking, will lead a workshop at which he will pass on some of the skills of turning dull, uninteresting public spaces into creative, vital places where people like to spend time.
International speakers and educators, Jude and Michel Fanton from Australia’s Seed Savers’ Network, will bring news of a new, global strategy to ensure gardeners and farmers retain the right to collect for replanting the seeds of the plants they grow. Present, too, will be noted Sydney Local Seed Network educator, Jane Mowbray, who will lead a practical workshop on seed saving. After that, the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance will present their People’s Food Plan which supports the interests of small farmers, small business and communities, an answer to the federal government’s agribusiness-dominated proposal for a food plan.
As well as a focus on our food security and on community gardening as a community-building strategy, the 5th National Gathering offers a strong thread on the use of curriculum-linked food gardens in schools as an educational tool. This will include a session with Carolyn Nuttall, who popularised the idea and who has authored a number of books on the topic. Leonie Shanahan, who leads school food garden programs in South East Queensland and who has written an authoritative book on the topic, will also offer a workshop for those engaged or interested in entering this fascinating, new area of work.
That’s just a few of the outstanding offerings of the 5th National Gathering of the Network. You can find more on the event’s website: events.communitygarden.org.au
The 5th National Gathering of the Australian City Farms & Community Gardens Network will take place at the Randwick Community Centre, 27 Munda Street, Randwick. The event is supported by Randwick City Council.
Russ Grayson T: 0414 065 203 E:firstname.lastname@example.org