City of Sydney adopts Community Gardens Policy
Community gardens are expected to flourish in the City of Sydney after Council adopted a Community Gardens Policy.
The policy also covers other community-based urban agriculture projects – including verge gardens, school gardens and rooftop gardens. Managed by members of the community the gardens will be used primarily for the production of food.
The new community gardens policy is part of the City's Sustainable Sydney 2030 plan to showcase simple ways of living green.
During consultation for Sustainable Sydney 2030, residents said they want greater access to ethically and locally produced food. In response, Council employed a dedicated garden officer and committed to increasing the number of community gardens.
"Community gardens can contribute to the sustainability of our City and provide environmental, educational and social benefits for gardeners and the wider community," Lord Mayor Clover Moore MP said.
"They teach the community about sustainability, about growing our own food near to home and avoiding wasteful transport costs. It teaches us about working together to green our City and look after our environment."
The City's policy details the many benefits of community gardens. It also outlines:
- services and support the City provides to community gardens
- rights and responsibilities of gardeners
- the process required to establish new gardens.
The Draft Community Gardens Policy was placed on public exhibition from 24 November 2009 until 25 January 2010. Submissions were received from local residents, community gardeners and partnering organisations such as the Australian City Farms and Community Gardens Network and The Royal Botanic Gardens Community Greening Program. A number of suggestions from submissions were incorporated into the final policy.
The City currently has 13 community gardens in Alexandria, Newtown, Waterloo, Glebe, Redfern, Pyrmont, Annandale and Woolloomooloo. Visit the City of Sydney website for more information and to download the Community Gardens Policy.
The site also features a guide to Starting a Community Garden.
Community Greening Partnership
Innovative outreach programs to help promote communal gardens and support urban greening initiatives are also available through a partnership program known as Community Greening.
The 'Community Greening' Program, formed through a partnership between Botanic Gardens Trust and Housing NSW, has within its ten year history helped establish over 260 communal garden projects across New South Wales.
Rosebery Community Garden
Through the provision of sustainability education and horticultural advice, 'Community Greening' education horticulturists work closely with the Housing New South Wales community, Tenant Participant Programs Unit and regional coordinators to assist in the establishment and support of community gardens within social housing areas. Gardens have also been successfully developed within local Council land and the grounds of churches, schools and hospitals.
Through participation in the program, 180 communities have increased their knowledge of plants and gardening, and gained an awareness of sustainable gardening practices such as composting and worm farming. In addition, over 88 school garden projects and school garden clubs have been established inspiring NSW youth to connect with their natural environment and gain first-hand knowledge of sustainable gardening.
Recognising the need and opportunity to engage disadvantaged youth in community greening activities, the Royal Botanic Gardens Foundation helped establish 'Youth Community Greening', a youth program to engage children (0-14 year olds) and young people (15-24 year olds) from rural and urban areas in greening initiatives. Visit the Botanic Gardens Trust website to find out more about the Youth Community Greening Program and how you can get involved.
In addition to promoting community gardening, Housing NSW, being the largest landholder in the state, has also established a $30 million "Green Street" Program to green the urban environment around many social housing communities through initiatives like advanced three-metre street tree plantings and upgrading parks and community gardens. Tree plantings within the Bidwill area are nearing completion and plantings in Cranebrook, Rosemeadow, Toongabbie, Bomaderry and Kempsey are also underway.