Monday, October 31, 2011

Urban community agriculture: we could learn a few things from the UK (orchards & meanwhile leases)

Now, no-one is saying Melbourne needs 2012 new community gardens like London (although it would be a stunning achievement) but what a difference it would make if local, state and federal governments were to adopt clearly stated policy positions that:
  • Recognise the value of urban food production, giving active (even legislative?) support and encouragement,
  • Set specific, achievable, time-bound targets for establishing more community growing spaces in Moreland,
  • Establish clear criteria for the use of existing council-owned land zoned as open space for community supported urban agriculture projects,
Here are a couple of initiatives from the UK that could inspire action here in Moreland. As you read on, think about those vacant blocks you walk past on your way to somewhere else and what could be done with them given a little effort and imagination and a co-operative landlord.





This Daily Telegraph story explores what the UK Government is doing to encourage residents to plant and cultivate fruit trees.
Cider apple trees in blossom in the Vale of Evesham  Photo: ALAMY
"Orchards have been identified as a 'priority habitat' in the UK's Biodiversity Action Plan because of the insects, birds, bees and mammals they help to support."
From the Department of Communities and Local Government website:
"Whether your ambitions are to conserve a community orchard or to get together with neighbours to start and manage one, this 'how to' guide is designed to help you by making the most of the space in your local area for this purpose.
A compendium of case studies has been produced to illustrate the great work that is going on in communities around community orchards and provide you with some inspiration."
See also, Get the green space you want: How the Government can help.


Meanwhile Leases for Gardening
from Meanwhile Project

Supported by the UK government Department of Communities and Local Government as part of the Meanwhile Project, meanwhile leases provide a formal mechanism for limited-time community use of privately or publicly held land.
"The main aim is to support community groups who want to get access to land for purposes including community food growing schemes, community gardens or other green spaces. It could encourage those who own land that has been earmarked for development, but subsequently delayed, to lease that land on a temporary basis to community groups."


Interesting heh? Have you seen these spaces?


Wouldn't they make great community gardening spaces or orchards?
Do you know of any more? Add your comments below.
What should Moreland City Council's community-based urban agriculture policy look like?
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