xii. LOCAL COUNCILS
The management of community gardens on council owned land is an obvious contribution to community based, sustainable, self-sufficient gardening. Employees from Maribyrnong and Frankston City Council responded on behalf of community gardens investigated in this research. Booroondara Council explained the logistical support given to the new Markham Victory Reserve Community Garden under development.
However, community gardens not on council owned land are forced to look for alternative funding and support, in spite of fulfilling the same role in the community.
A repeatedly referred to council initiative was the Yarra Community Food System Project.
Karen Cameron from Yarra Council also explained that the “council can assist groups in establishing community gardens through the provision of funds, advice and materials.”
Cultivating Community manages many of the inner-city council land based community gardens and the Fruit and Veg for All Program also manage various municipality community gardens.
Councils are taking a strong sustainable gardening educational approach in the community, with self sufficient gardening perhaps placed within this. This is achieved in the community through various means. The Stonnington Spring into Gardening Festival was attended to witness another way sustainable, self sufficient gardening was being accessed by the community.
The festival’s main aim was to encourage sustainable garden practices. The Mayor of Stonnington explained that this aim was in direct response to drought and climate change. Of note again, was community interaction which included children’s gardening activities.
Event co-ordinator Marc Roper described the work achieved: “The Spring into Gardening highlights new sustainable initiatives that can be implemented in the garden. This event is complimented by a series of environmental information events and a sustainable living expo. All these events are designed to educate the community about the benefits of self sufficient/ sustainable gardening and living practices.”
Kate Patkins responded that Whitehorse Council “play a supportive role. If residents have enquiries, we can answer their questions and help where possible.” A large focus on sustainable gardening gives local residents incentives on compost bins and water tanks, as well as the educational Living For Our Future Program, all of which are generating large community interest
The Victorian Local Governance Association has also developed a Food Security Network for local councils. Darebin and Banyule Councils are partnered in the Good Food Alliance.