There are a lot of exciting things happening in the Canberra community at the moment around sustainability and local food. And, with the new guidelines announced for productive nature strip gardening, there’s no excuse not to get out there to grow, harvest and buy local healthy food.
So I’ve taken a break from harvesting tomatoes to gather this exhaustive list of organisations and projects that are springing up, that we can all get involved in, to help build a thriving sustainable city and a healthy community.
The Canberra Environment Centre
This not-for-profit has been around for ages and has something for everyone. They run an endless list of short courses involving all things sustainable. But that's not all, they also run a community garden, an eco library, a bike co-op, an annual night market and a Harvest festival. You can find these hard working people at www.ecoaction.com.au
Corner of Lawson Crescent and Lennox Crossing, Acton Peninsula, ACT. Telephone: 02 6248 0885.
This group of keen Permaculturalists have monthly social gatherings and organise blitzes. The one day blitzes are done to members' properties to turn their unused, tired suburban lawns and backyards into edible gardens filled with vegetables, fruit trees, nuts and berries, as well as native vegetation and habitat.
The Commons is a community run public food forest garden in Lyneham. It is open to all who live in the Canberra region. You can get involved as much or as little as you like. They run monthly working bees that are great fun with lots of like minded people to meet.
"We are committed to providing a growing space for the local community to grow our own food by employing sustainable organic principles. Our goal is regenerate our public land, improve our food security, provide educational opportunities, reduce our agricultural impact and grow food for the benefit of all species."
Canberra City Farm
The Canberra City Farm now has two locations, one in Turner and now also at Dairy Road in Fyshwick. Their mission is to share knowledge and experience of socially, economically and environmentally responsible food production and sustainable living. They provide a great opportunity to get hands on learning experience and are even looking for expressions of interest from interested people to setup enterprises at their Fyshwick farm. Get involved here.
Canberra has two very popular and thriving farmer's markets. The Northside market is held Saturday mornings 7:30 to 11:30am at EPIC and the Southside market is Sundays 8.00 to 11.30am at Woden CIT. The markets are well curated with a wide range of fresh produce from the region. The Northside market now has a home delivery program running to selected suburbs.
Nature strip gardening
Imagine If everyone in Canberra had a small productive garden on their nature strip, there would literally be food everywhere, I’d like to see that!
Checkout the new guidelines the ACT Government have drawn up to make it easier to do, and have your say.
Canberra’s Sustainable House
This business shares info on sustainable living, saving water, energy and how to renovate or build your own sustainable house. ww.canberrassustainablehouse.com.au
This website deserves a mention. It's a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It's all about re-use and keeping good stuff out of landfills. The site is worldwide and the Canberra group is thriving!
The Green Shed
Speaking of landfills you can also get lots of good recycled stuff from The Green Shed. They're located in Mugga Lane, Mitchel and now also in Civic. www.thegreenshed.net.au
If you don't have any space of your own, or just don't fancy gardening, you can still harvest local food from Canberra's many public fruit trees. Apparently Canberra used to plant fruit trees as street trees (I'd like to see this in future suburb plans) and they are easy to find with the Canberra Urban Foraging Map. We also have an abundance of edible weeds free to harvest around town, here's a handy list, they go great in your green smoothies! For foraging tips and recipes, my good friend Susan has a fantastic blog and holds the occasional guided walk.
There's no such thing as waste, only things in the wrong place. The urban environment has an abundance of resources for the adventurous. If you're game join the 205 members of the facebook group.
Canberra Organic Growers
These guys know their stuff! They have heaps of info on growing organically (the only way to grow) in Canberra. They also operate 12 community gardens all around Canberra.
Grow it Local
At growitlocal.com.au they celebrates backyard, balcony, community and windowsill food farming in urban areas. It’s about supporting local food producers, sharing growing know-how and bringing people together. With 1407 registered gardeners and 5,000m2 under cultivation, why not register your own.
And last but not least…
The Revival & Community Garden
A set of self watering garden beds made from recycled materials have just been installed by volunteers, organised by GrowSPACE to supply fresh healthy veggies, herbs and bush tucker to the Aboriginal Tent Embassy. Get down and have a look at this great initiative.
So there it is, did I miss anything? Let me know what else is happening in the comments.