800 Registered gardens and 2400 Community Gardens Spearhead Positive Change Across Australia

First Nations horticulturist Brenden Moore is among speakers at the Urban Agriculture Forum. (Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS) Credit: AAP
First Nations horticulturist Brenden Moore is among speakers at the Urban Agriculture Forum. (Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS) Credit: AAP

800 Registered Gardens Cultivate Change Across Australia

Exploring the burgeoning trend of urban agriculture in Australia reveals a rich tapestry of initiatives where individuals like Brenden Moore, a proud Biripi man from the north coast of NSW, are nurturing connections between people and plants through his role at the Botanic Gardens of Sydney.

Moore’s journey encapsulates the essence of urban horticulture, where he not only tends to greenery but also cultivates a profound link to ancestral wisdom, imparting knowledge about Indigenous use of Australian native plants spanning millennia.

The Urban Agriculture Forum in Sydney and the Illawarra has become a melting pot of insights, with 65 speakers like Moore sharing their experiences. Moore’s dedication extends beyond mere cultivation; it touches lives through projects like a vibrant vegetable and herb garden in Darlington, Sydney.

The produce from this garden not only nourishes but also educates, finding its way into school canteens and engaging students in the process of growth, preparation, and consumption.

The attraction of urban gardening is that it is unrestricted by walls or other buildings, making it a blank canvas ready to be painted with variety.

Naomi Lacey from Community Gardens Australia envisions a landscape dotted with 2400 such gardens, embracing innovative techniques like vertical gardens and leveraging diverse spaces such as rooftops to propagate a greener, more sustainable future.

The essence of this movement transcends geographical borders. Drawing inspiration from international successes, the forum embraces insights from American cities like Dallas, Denver, and Detroit.

Denver, with its impressive community gardening network, stands out, boasting over 200 community gardens and 20 food forests.

Their success demonstrates the possible impact that can result from coordinating community-driven efforts with resource allocation and organized management. This success has been partially attributed to efficient funding models and administrative support.

However, in Australia, the trajectory of urban agriculture encounters obstacles. Despite enthusiasm and commitment, the lack of cohesive frameworks and governmental support impedes its growth.

Nick Rose from Sustain Food Network underscores this, highlighting the need for coordinated efforts across local, state, and federal levels to unleash the sector’s full potential.

As the forum delves into strategies for increasing food production within urban landscapes, the urgency becomes apparent.

A report by Foodbank Australia indicating rising food insecurity among households underscores the critical need to explore all avenues, including urban agriculture, to bolster agricultural supply.

The journey towards widespread urban agriculture in Australia is multifaceted, requiring not just enthusiasm but systemic support and structural frameworks.

It’s a convergence of ancestral wisdom, community engagement, and strategic planning, aiming to weave sustainability into the very fabric of urban life.



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