This research makes clear the value of community interaction. Gardeners need community. As well as trends and influences, educational and accessibility issues were examined for opportunities in self sufficiency gardening. The sheer volume of gardener exchange was apparent throughout this research. Community members could receive a large amount of information and practical knowledge by being involved in the discussed activities
As community members, we all are able to access sufficient educational opportunities. There are also a lot of free opportunities available, and a strong response to this research can only highlight the approachability of garden educators. Gardens are always tied up with politics over land and funding, suppressing the growth of what this research found to be an increasing community will.
With further support and time given to it, there would be excellent opportunity to explore significant elements and demographics of self sufficiency gardens and their association to sustainable local food systems in Melbourne.
If Melbourne could be seen as a giant garden jigsaw puzzle, it is clear that the garden pieces are diverse, but could be pieced together in a mutual aid strategy. This research could only fit so many pieces of the puzzle together to help awareness on these matters.
Based on the research findings in this report, it would appear that some upward movement exists in Melbourne’s ability to garden for self sufficiency in a sustainable manner. Large environmental influences like drought and climate change are encouraging community will, but creating harsh environmental conditions to grow in. Likewise, waterwise, sustainable gardening behaviour has been forced on the willing and the more unwilling.
Sustainable waterwise gardens do not appear to be commonly defined as productive gardens, but based on some of the primary data found in this short research process, a reconsideration of this is needed. Due to food miles, growing your own is more waterwise than relying on larger agricultural systems. The Food Gardeners Alliance provides a community network for food gardeners to be encouraged and allowed ot grow their own food, under personal water allocations rather than unsustainable set time regimes.
This research has not assessed, but brings forward questions such as:
How does it feel to not have a garden? How does it feel to live in a flat and wait indefinitely for years for a plot? How does it feel to not have the internet, transport, and other resources that better enable educational opportunities? Is it good enough that children think food comes from the supermarket?
Answering these questions may lead to the need to prioritise community spaces for self sufficient gardens. A person growing their own has the ability to be more water efficient if taught how to do it a sustainable fashion.
Linda from Permaculture North-East Ranges, warily commented “that the daunting thing is our need to teach people in the community, and getting them together is a bit of a daunting responsibility. We need to cater for all the people that want to change, and want to grow food”
Peter Cundall states “We can survive, grow potatoes. Rip up your lawn and grow potatoes.” Community food security is necessary. We should look at the phenomenal growth potential of self sufficiency gardening offers at a communal level. The networks are developing and growing. It is up to all of us to advocate for more communal garden spaces, so we can grow our food, where we live, and have less impact on our surroundings.