HomeWho We Are?Contact Us

Slow Movement News

Turkish fast food: Real food fast

The definition of ‘fast food’ according to the Wikipedia is food cooked in build and in advance, kept warm or re-heated to order....

Slow Fish a great success

Slow Food in collaboration with the region of Liguria, has just finished celebr4ating the event Slow Fish 2007. It was a great success with 42,000 visitors, a much higher number than expected. ...

National Sea Change Task Force urges more flood studies

ABC Wed Jul 11 07 The Mayor of Maroochy Shire on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, Joe Natoli, says it could be another 12 months before the CSIRO is able to undertake a flood modelling study in the Sunshine Coast region because the research body is under-funded. ...

Treechangers change country culture

An influx of treechangers into a rural community can keep population levels steady but it can change the needs and expectations within the community. ...

More News...

Connecting to food, people, and community

Community gardens are much more than a food source for the community.  They provide spaces for community interactions, decision making, learning, creativity and celebration.  They are essentially places for connection to food, life, people and community.

Community gardens are an extremely valuable resource in urban areas where units and apartments predominate, and in areas with high poverty rates.  Community gardens provide an opportunity for school children, unemployed and disadvantaged groups to engage in work that not only connects them to the community and food but also builds self-esteem and confidence. 

Having a working food garden in the community provides wonderful learning opportunities for people of all ages and from all walks of life.  People can learn about food production, develop job skills, initiate food related business enterprises, and create links to nearby restaurants and food kitchens.

 We tend to think community gardens are something new, something we have created to deal with heavily urbanised populations that are dislocated from food sources.  But this is far from the truth, they have been around a long time and are now experiencing a revival in the West.  Approximately 700 million people are fed from urban farms/city farms/community gardens.  These farms are managed/worked by 100-200 million urban dwellers.  In some Latin American and African cities city farms run by people in the urban population supply up to a third of the demand for vegetables.  In other cities the proportions are greater: in Hong Kong and Karachi almost half of the vegetable demand is met; and in Shanghai over 80 percent is met by city farms.

The increase in community gardens in the West can be seen in the examples of the UK where there are 300,000 allotments on 12,150 hectares that yield 215,000 tonnes of fresh produce each year.  There are several hundred city farms or community farms in the UK.  In Australia, in Sydney alone, there are eleven community gardens.  The numbers are constantly growing.

What are community gardens?

Community gardens are what their name implies.  They are gardens that are community-managed with people in the community working with plants and animals, often solely for food production, but sometimes for other purposes.  Their form is various – from small wildlife gardens to fruit and vegetable beds on housing estates, and from greenhouses to large city farms.

The usual trigger for starting a community garden is a lack of access to green space or open space.  People within the community may have a desire to encourage strong community relationships and an awareness of food production and gardening.

Community gardens can be initiated by members of the local community and managed and run by community members on a voluntary basis.  Or, they may be larger community farms that employ workers and have a management committee to oversee the project.  Some have external funding sources and can be run in partnership with local council authorities.