Educating a new approach to community garden development

The $500 grant by Permaculture Australia’s Permafund provided timely support to the 5th National Gathering of the Australian City Farms & Community Gardens Network: Eco-topia 2012 — growing food • transforming place • creating culture.
It is through community gardening — pursued for nutritional health, access to fresh food or as a community development strategy — that community gardeners trained in the permaculture design system express their permaculture. This makes even more pertinent the grant awarded to the 5th National Gathering of the Australian City Farms & Community Gardens Network by Permafund.

Eco-topia 2012—the 5th ACFCGN National Gathering

The 5th National Gathering, held in Sydney in 2012, continued the tradition of bringing together people active in community gardening, and in developing school kitchen gardens for education, to share their experience and to map a course into the future in which these initiatives play a leading role in making our towns and cities creative, good places to live.
The Gathering attracted members of community gardens, school gardens, health and community workers, local government and sustainable food advocates from Queensland, Northern Territory, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia.
The theme for this year’s conference, which took place at Randwick Sustainability Hub in Sydney, was: growing food • transforming place • creating culture • and celebrating community, one lettuce at a time.

Permafund’s grant

The $500 Permafund grant was used to support the appearance of a keynote workshop leader at the Gathering, David Engwicht of Creative Communities, Brisbane. The ACFCGN’s keynote speech and following workshop session was chosen to provide mentoring support and professional development for community leaders and the whole gathering supported the grant criteria of community development through education.

David introduced participants to a valuable new tool in community garden development — placemaking. This was one of the key outcomes of the Gathering and participants were inspired by the knowledge and skills passed on to them.
We feel that Permafund’s generosity will be repaid socially through the application of knowledge that people absorbed from David. We believe that the introduction of new skills and knowledge, such as the placemaking process, will benefit the design of community gardens and we believe that the grant reflects well on Permafund’s decision to award the grant to the community organisation, Australian City Farms & Community Gardens Network.

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