viii. COMMUNAL HOME GARDEN PROGRAMS

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Communal home garden programs are developing innovative communal gardening networks amongst home gardeners.

Lizzie Bickmore, co-ordinator of the Grow and Share Program for Moreland Community Health described it as “a backyard food garden project where groups of households each set up basic food gardens. To make it more manageable, each household only grows 3 crops, but choose different crops so they still get a diverse harvest to share with each other. The gardens apply organic gardening and water saving techniques.  We had hoped interested households would have been in closer walking distance to one another to further increase physical activity and reduce food miles, however this hasn’t always been possible”. This project also allows for crop rotation amongst yards and has strengthened community interaction.

Permablitz organise reciprocal community events, establishing people’s home gardens to run on permacultural principles. Adam summarised that “A permablitz is defined as a day on which two or more people come together to install or maintain edible food gardens (usually where someone lives), run free skillsharing workshops, build community, and have fun.

There is always consulting before the blitz and the input of permaculture designers into the design of the garden, the rational of which we explain to participants on the day.  Permablitz is a voluntary, reciprocity based organisation.  If people turn up to three or so permablitzes we can help organise one at their house.  So far we have had 54 permablitzes in Melbourne since 2006”

The Fruit Peddlers was conducted by Environment Victoria to map the feasibility of developing fruit tree maps in Moreland and sharing the fruit on unutilised trees through community and neighbourhood houses. This map took a bioregional approach to a small area, combining street trees with ones hidden in backyards.

Sustainability Street is the active mobilization of neighbours getting together themselves and becoming more sustainable. One of these methods is to grow food in their yards and share it amongst participating neighbours. Like the Grow and Share Program, it allows for greater crop rotation and better soil management. Harvest sharing amongst home gardeners is also occurring through various community programs, such as the Yarra Food Swap.

Australia’s Open Garden Scheme plays a role as well in this equation, opening up backyards for the community to view and share ideas in. Victorian co-ordinator Cassie Johnstone foreclosed that “in recent years with the ongoing drought and concerns about climate change, the Scheme has successfully travelled in new directions, welcoming the challenges that this situation presents, with the result that even after many years of drought in much of Australia the Scheme continues to flourish. But more than this, the Scheme is more than ever seen at the forefront of gardener education by showcasing the ingenuity and skill of gardeners across Australia.”

Garden networks in general allow the home gardener to get out of the house and have connection with the wider community and share skills and knowledge, as well as seeds, plants and produce. Garden clubs have traditionally fulfilled this home-community link, but there is a perception that older people garden, perhaps reducing younger members.

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Garden networks in general allow the home gardener to get out of the house and have connection with the wider community and share skills and knowledge, as well as seeds, plants and produce. Garden clubs have traditionally fulfilled this home-community link, but there is a perception that older people garden, perhaps reducing younger members.

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Participants in the Moreland Community Health Grow and Share Program


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