We’ve been using office resources and our grants budget to support a range of local community projects as a response to climate change, the pandemic shutdown, and other crises that undermine secure access to nutritious food.
We were inspired by the spontaneous upsurge in residents wanting to grow their own food as the COVID crisis emerged. For some months food seedlings and seeds were even hard to find due to the massive increase in people growing their own food. This is an instinctive response to crisis. The realization that corporate supermarkets do not provide real food security. That food resilience comes from locally available food and the ability to grow your own healthy food in times of scarcity.
Local residents contacted us during this time with various ideas to empower the community to grow healthy sustainable food. These ideas aligned with our own and gave birth to this project to create 'Food Resilient Neighbourhoods'.
We supported 3 seedling hubs around the Gabba Ward where residents can swap locally-germinated seedlings and seeds without having to go through big commercial plant suppliers. These seedling hubs have been set up by residents in West End and Highgate Hill.
- Community seedling hubs are spaces where residents can source and swap seedlings, seeds & cuttings.
- Germinate and swap heirloom plant varieties helps preserve genetic diversity and prevents the homogenisation and monopolisation of seed stock by big companies that patent seed species for profit.
- In times of crisis, it's important to network with other people who live nearby and also foster a connection to plants and growing our own food.
We have three Hubs so far:
- Corner of Crowther & Victoria St, West End
- 15 Gertrude St, Highgate Hill
- 14 Rosebery St, Highgate Hill
Seedling hubs are spaces for sharing and connecting. Seedlings are free, but everyone is encouraged to bring their excess to share with those around them!
Label any plants you bring along and please return pots and labels so we can minimise costs and keep putting plants out!
Everyone's welcome to participate! (Facebook page available at this link: Community Seedling Hubs - Brisbane)
Crowther St Hub
Gertrude St Hub
Rosebery St Hub
We have sponsored three rounds of verge planting days where residents plant out there verges. Brisbane City Council encourage residents to plant out their verges and take care of this public space. As long as you garden with care for your neighbors and don't block pedestrian flows or parked cars, our office is supporting a more creative use of this public space including the planting of fruit trees.
Crowther St Planting Sat 14th March 2020
Our first round centered on Crowther Street, as many residents from this street expressed interest in planting their verges when we did a call out. One of our visions was for this street to act as an inspiration to other local streets on how verge planting can transform the streetscape.
It was a great community building day with 8 households planting over 120 seedlings in their verges. Participants were 10, 11, 15, 17, 22, 27 & 29 Crowther and 20 Victoria (cnr of Crowther and Victoria).
Here is a great little video of the day, produced by Christine Schindler (on a voluntary basis). You can see more of her work here https://www.christineschindler.com/
Gabba Ward wide - 30th May 2020
30 households in the Gabba Ward planted out their verges on a sunny Saturday. We partnered with Jane St Community Garden who helped design and coordinate the project as well as using the gardens as the pickup zone. We planted approximately 60 free fruit trees 240 under-story perennial greens and herbs along local streets in West End, Highgate Hill, Dutton Park, Sth Brisbane, Woolloongabba and Kangaroo Point. Our office supplied Verge Garden Starter packs to each household of 2 fruit trees, 8 under-story seedlings, approx 150 litres of mulch and 200-300 litres of high grade organic soil.
Jane Street Garden Coordinator Melissa Smrecnik, Gardening activist Morgyn Quin and the Gabba Ward Coordinators created a template verge garden of that could be easily adapted to any verge. The simple design was two focal fruit trees with 4 easy growing perennial greens and herbs around each of the trees.
Here is an instructional video we produced for our verge planters.
And some photos from the verge plantings
New urban farming projects have been established on Boundary St (southern end) and the Dutton Park hilltop (near the basketball court). If you'd like to volunteer with either of these projects but you're having trouble tracking down the organisers, send my office an email and we'll put you in touch!
West End organisation boosting food security in the pandemic
A West End organisation is working to boost food security during the pandemic. Ruby Thorburn and Alice Wicks are planting vegetables on unused state government land to give to those in need. Find out more: https://7news.link/3c3ddC0 www.7NEWS.com.au #7NEWSPosted by 7NEWS Brisbane on Saturday, May 2, 2020
We’re supporting residents to set up new communal compost hubs to divert more waste from landfill. We’re also lobbying council to introduce a citywide rebate scheme for compost bins and worm farms.
We already have about 16 households in the Gabba Ward open to receiving food scraps. We have just surveyed them all and they are really happy with the ShareWaste system, but they need more people delivering their food scraps. So get on the website and register.
Our office is now supporting more households willing to have a compost listed on the Sharewaste website. Your food scraps collector should be easily accessible in a front yard so neighbours can easily drop off their scraps whenever they want.
To set up a compost hub, we can support you with vouchers for free compost bins. Simply email our office on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once your compost system is set up, you can register with ShareWaste. Your address is only given out by you individually to neighbours who message you directly through the site - so you can control how many people are delivering food scraps.
If you don't have space to compost at home but you have food waste that you don't want to sent to landfill, just go to the Sharewaste website to register and send a message to your closest composter. They'll give you their address and info.
BCC are also providing free kitchen compost tubs to collect your food scraps at home. We have them available in The Gabba Ward office now. Just jump online and register for one via this link. (The council registration system is only set up for larger composting hubs, but we only have one in our Ward - West End - Jane St Community Garden - so when you register via the website, just indicate that Jane St is where you will be dropping off your scraps. You'll be right to use it as part of the ShareWaste program at any of the other small compost hubs.)