Growing food locally – a food strategy for Unley

by Peter Croft, member of Unley-Parkside SCSA Community Group

In late November 2011, Unley Council approved its first Food Security Strategy. The intent of the Strategy is to encourage the growing of food locally. The three key strategies are:

  • Growing more food in public spaces. This includes actions like building more community gardens, identifying other types of public spaces where food can be grown (roadside verges and pocket parks), and working with schools in the council area to have school food gardens.
  • Growing more food in backyards. This includes actions such as running training courses in topics like effective pruning, composting and permaculture, linking community members needing space to grow food with those who have unused backyards, advertising local businesses which support the growing of food, and supporting disadvantaged households to grow their own food
  • Supporting local food distribution and reuse. This includes support for food markets, sharing of surplus food and supporting agencies that recycle food.

Actions on these fronts are commencing and the Council has an initial two-year action plan. Some early steps will be for a new community garden (in addition to the existing Fern Avenue Garden), replacing ornamental tress in some streets by fruit and nut trees, planting fruit and nut trees in an existing council park and training workshops.

The Food Strategy was developed by the Council’s Community Sustainability Advisory Group (CSAG) whose main role is to advise Council on the community’s view on its Environment Sustainability Plan. In addition to two enthusiastic councilors, the group contains community representatives from across the Council area, including Ashley Campbell and I who are both members of Sustainable Communities SA. You know that it’s a different group when the chair (an elected councillor) regularly brings along produce from his garden to share – various types of olives, garlic bulbs for planting etc!

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