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2015/16 committee

2015/16 committee

The core team

President — Jane Mowbray

Jane Mowbray has been a community gardener at Glovers Garden and a seed saver for about 15 years.

She worked in state education for 32 years teaching primary students, writing curricuum material and being a maths consultant. Now gloriously retired Jane enjoys part time work in sustainability education, gardening and leading seed saving workshops.

She is a member of the Inner West Seed Savers and helps to maintain their seed library at the Bower In Marrickville. Jane has been on the executive of ACFCGN since our Melbourne conference in 2007.

Vice President — Sarah Ladyman

I’m  an accountant who keeps chickens. The liking for these friendly, feathered animals comes from having a keen interest in food, both how to produce it and how to distribute it. Community gardens are one way to do this, and linking community gardeners so that we can learn from and help each other is a good idea, I think. As for the food distribution side of things, that led me to become a co-founder of the University of Sydney Community Garden and treasurer of the University’s Food Co-op.

Secretary — John McBain

John has experimented with methods of producing food from urban waste for over a decade, and in 2013 incorporated the urban food project Sustainable Urban Nutrition (SUN).

He is admin for the WA Community Gardens FaceBook page.

John’s three favourite community gardens in Perth are: Perth City FarmFremantle Environmental Resource Network and Murdoch Community Garden.

Treasurer — SaJohn Brisbin

He was befriended by Jude and Michel Fanton in 1997 and became enchanted with Australia’s blossoming community food systems. Determined to contribute, he founded Australian Community Foods in 1998 and met Russ and Fiona along the way.

In 2002 he earned a Masters in Social Ecology for his research into local food systems and an entropy-grounded theory of ethics, and became more involved with ACFCGN in 2007.

Currently John and wife Caroline are opening up the heavy shale/clay soils and fascinating district of Mount Molloy with an eye toward patterning a tropical pharmacy community garden.

Media Officer — Russ Grayson

NSPIRED by the idea that we can make our cities places of opportunity, my interests are in developing a resilient urbanism to which end I work with communities on initiatives that make our neighbourhoods safe, sustainable and convivial places to live. My focus has been on community food systems and the social capital that develops when communities collaborate in creating them, but it extends beyond this. My approach is guided by the philosophy of: work with those who want to learn; work where it counts. I:

Currently — thanks to a background in journalism — I am media liaison for the Australian City Farms & Community Gardens Network.

ORDINARY MEMBERS  — state representatives


Emma Daniell

Emma is a horticulturist and landscaped designer, an early member of the Randwick Community Organic Garden and one of the team that restarted the garden on its present site.

Emma mentors community gardeners at the Waverley and Rose Bay Community Gardens in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs; leads PermaBees at the Randwick’s Permaculture Interpretive Garden. She also works on Marrickville Council’s compost program.

Northern Territory

Naomi Lacey

Naomi is a permaculturalist who is passionate about promoting healthy food systems, sustainable lifestyles and cultivating community. She helped to establish the first community garden in the satellite city of Palmerston in Darwin and is currently the chairperson for the garden.

Naomi believes that community gardens are a wonderful way of promoting her passions and that they are the ideal place for people to come together and share in so many ways.

South Australia



Nel Smit

Nel believes every child should experience the magic of growing, harvesting and then eating food from the garden. Nel works for Greening Australia at the Sustainability Learning Centre in Hobart. She works with teachers supporting food gardens in schools and early learning centres.

  • committee member, Taroona Neighbourhood Garden
  • established the Food Alliance of Tasmania which has been active in food security issues
  • coordinated Eat Well Grow Well in Tasmania, convened State Growing Communities Conference in 2010 and developed a data base of over 100 school and community gardens around Tasmania.
  • part of dream team for Food 4 Thought, National Conference, 2014


Peta Christensen

Peta Christensen has worked with Cultivating Community, an urban agriculture and community food systems agency working across Melbourne, since 2000.  Peta has worked on a multitude of projects in that time including school gardens, community gardens, community markets, food policy development, food waste avoidance and other community food projects.  In the early 2000s Peta was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to explore urban agriculture and food security projects in Brazil, Canada, USA, Cuba and Denmark.

Peta has been on the executive of ACFCGN since 2013.

Western Australia

Charles Otway

Charles is the treasurer of PermacultureWest and remains active in state umbrella and local permaculture, community garden and transition groups.

With his wife Jolene and daughters Indi and Alex they run Terra Perma Design in Perth.

While he works on designs for clients, his preference is always for the ‘client’ to be trained to become the designer, creating and shaping their own ecosystems.  As the old saying goes,

“Give someone a fish and they eat for a day, teach them to fish & they are fed for life.”

Teaching systems thinking, ecological concepts and seeing the pennies drop in a room as people experience new ideas is the best part of his job.

He teaches permaculture because it is time well spent and work worth doing!

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