NSW inquiry into food production and supply
Submission by Community Gardens Australia Inc, February 2022
Community Gardens Australia (CGA) is a not-for-profit, volunteer-run organisation that exists to support, provide resources to, network and advocate for community gardening activities. Established in 1996, we currently have over 700 gardens listed in our online directory with approximately one third of these being in NSW.
The most recent survey of community gardens conducted by CGA in 2020 shows that an average of 20,425 Australians a week visit and participate in their local community garden, contributing an average of 15,718 hours of volunteer time per week. These numbers are not small and show that community gardening is very important to many people with 83% of survey respondents stating that they had experienced an increase in their health and wellbeing since they became involved in their garden.
Our goals in supporting community gardens include:
- Running gatherings to enable gardens to connect and share with each other
- Providing a group insurance policy to ensure quality and affordable insurance specific to the needs of community gardens
- Creating a whole suite of up to date and current resources to be made available online
- Providing regular educational workshops to all gardens
- Building relationships with all levels of government in order to advocate for community gardens
The Management Committee’s vision for CGA is to build the organisation into one that supports the growth and needs of community gardens around Australia, providing them with education, support, resources and sustenance to continue their work and therefore their positive impact on the communities and environments they reside in.
We know that the number of community gardens in NSW has grown significantly in the past 10 years, offering an expansion of local food systems and as a result have become a popular representation of local food culture whilst demonstrating and promoting sustainable food systems. There are numerous examples where community gardens are offering or could offer best practice food production with additional resources as outlined below.