Apart from the different roles groups like CERES, Cultivating Community or the Friends of the Earth Real Food Campaign play, environmentally conscious gardening is being promoted to gardeners and the garden industry alike through Sustainable Gardening Australia (SGA). At the FGA forum, Helen Tuton described SGA as a “non-profit organisation that works to educate people to garden with the environment in mind.”

Paul Gibson Roy, involved in SGA since its origin, explained that SGA arose out of some local Melbourne nurseries which “realised that just because they grew plants, it didn’t mean their practices were necessarily environmentally friendly. If you are going to talk the talk you’d better walk the walk. Rather than just tell people how to do it they realised that had to do it themselves too.”

SGA accredits nurseries, and more recently garden landscapers and designers, with environmental certification. Meredith Plain from Bulleen Art and Garden Nursery, one of the founding nurseries of SGA, explained that under the guidelines: “There is a grading system depending on how bad it is. There is a grading of pesticides, and plants that are invasive weeds aren’t stocked, or they are labelled if there is a potential.”

SGA’s environmental certification of nurseries and landscapers is also innovative. Paul Gibson Roy commented that “SGA has now gone to SA; WA; and Tasmania, and this was our goal to expand it. We have also had enormous interest from overseas. People commented that you just needed a rating system, but we found that there was nothing specific to our industry.” However, in spite of this growth, SGA struggled with funding and did not receive funding from the ‘pot levee’ which was meant for initiatives like SGA.”





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