iii. ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION PARKS

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Site visits to Ceres and the Collingwood Children’s Farm (CCF) were undertaken to see these significant and experienced educators on sustainable living in action. Both are highly visible to the broader community, and a constant stream of advice is requested from these inner- suburban environmental parks. The two also offer community garden plots, which were observed during the visits.  Horticulture co-ordinator, Toni Phillips, sees the role of CCF “as a bit of a respite. We give a farm and rural experience and allow people to getaway from the city… We teach the interconnection we have with animals, and nature.  A lot of people also experience the gardens and there is a lot of interest in our food gardens.” CCF are a magnet for self sufficiency gardening advice from across Victoria. An increased number of calls were from community members wanting to start a food garden. “Either school or community gardens, a lot of people come here for advice because they haven’t heard of Cultivating Community.”  CCF also has accessible raised bed gardens for disabled access and offers training opportunities for tertiary students, intellectually disabled clients, as well as hobby farmers who volunteer to learn farming skills.

CERES also offer a range of sustainable, self sufficient gardening activities. Interviewed at the CCF Farmers Market, the CERES Food Farm illustrated its components including the brother/sister food and mushroom (Om) growing social enterprise projects, the community gardens and propagating areas.    “CERES is a model, you see things in action which is inspiring in itself.” There are other examples further out in the suburbs, such as Bundoora Urban Park, Edendale Farm in Eltham and the Blackburn Lake Environmental Education Park. They have sustainable, self sufficient gardens to teach the community, with more notable examples on Melbourne’s peri urban fringe.

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community gardens @ collingwood children’s farm (above) and CERES (below)

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