On Saturday, I spent the day at the Community Gardens Australia National Gathering in Melbourne. It is the first time they have met in a number of years, due to you-know-what, and the focus was on Big Communities, a local and international perspective on community gardens.
It was good to be able to catch up with the CGA team face to face for a change and to see some of the people from Gardening Australia there also – everyone is keen to do whatever they can to increase the number of people gardening and the ease by which they can participate in it.
There was a very interesting presentation from the head of Incredible Edible, a UK organisation that started in 2008, going into unloved, empty places and reclaiming them for gardening. And so was born the approach of small teams taking small actions to change the world.
What was clear, and I think most frustrating, is just how many obstacles, at all levels of government there are that inhibit these kind of actions being taken and just how much you have to fight to see rational and reasonable decisions taken.
Listening to the presenters that followed, it sounds like the issues are very similar here, and everywhere! It reminded me of a conversation I had with a customer living in a retirement village, that spends much of the day growing vegetables on the site, but unfortunately, due to regulations, the produce freshly grown there, can’t be used or eaten by anyone in the village, and needs to be brought in from afar!
That is the world and the obstacles that we need to battle against and it was good to see so many able and willing to take on that fight and push for more areas and opportunities for people to be able to undertake this healthy and rewarding pursuit.
It was fantastic to be part of all that.