Community gardens and city farms are places where people come together to grow fresh food, to learn, relax and make new friends.
The Australian City Farms and Community Gardens Network connects city farms and community gardens around Australia. It is a community-based organisation linking people interested in city farming and community gardening across Australia.
The aims of the network include:
- facilitating the formation and management of community gardens and similar social enterprise by making available information and, where possible, advice
- promoting the benefits of community gardening and urban agriculture.
Within the limits of its capacity, the network will:
- advocate on behalf of community gardeners
- provide information on the website that is adequate and accurate
- provide presentations and advice to local government, other institutions and communities interested in establishing community gardens
- document the development of community gardening in Australia
- provide a list of contacts through which the public may contact community gardens.
- maintains this website as a source of information
- maintains an email distribution list for notification of events and information relevant to community gardeners
- has contacts in different states
- is a voluntary organisation providing an information service
- relies on members and participants to provide information and to organise activities
- may, in some regions, organise events.
The Australian Community Gardens Network was started by Dr Darren Phillips in 1996.
Darren's idea was to set up an Australia-wide network of people interested in community gardens, city farms, urban agriculture and community education centres.
He organised contact people in different states who could provide information on community gardens and notify enquirers where they could find the gardens. The website now fulfills some of those functions, however there remain contact people who may be able to provide other advice within the limits of time and cost availability.
Some successes of the Community Gardens Network:
- publication of the 1996 Australian City Farms, Community Gardens and Enterprise Centres Inventory
- organisation of a number of community garden open days in Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane to bring community gardeners together
- listing on the City Farmer website, Vancouver, Canada
- lobbying for the inclusion of White's Creek Community Garden in local government landuse planning
- liaison with Botany Council for the establishment of a community garden
- provision of horticultural training to South Sydney Council's Waterloo Estate community gardeners
- publication of several print newsletters
- advising on the establishment of a number of community gardens in Brisbane
- cooperation focused on nutritional health and gardening between the South Australian Department of Health and local community gardens
- presentations at the Blue Mountains Wild Aware environmental festival
- information provision in person and via website to researchers and tertiary students
- consultation with Gardens for Western Sydney group to establish community gardens in Sydney's west and south-west
- advice to community and local government workers in regional NSW
- establishment of partnership with Australian Community Foods and participation on their website
- advocated for a number of footpath gardens to remain
- has organised six national community garden gatherings.