Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Community orchards in Moreland are within reach. We only have until December 5th to help make it happen

click for a bigger pic
Hidden in the Merlynston Creek Park Draft Development Plan, (currently in the final stages of community consultation until December 5th - more on this below) is a tiny, beautiful glimmer of the future.

On their plan map they have three areas marked as "Opportunities for community food tree plantings"

According to the council's FAQ document, "There have been requests for some type of community gardening activity in this area. Given the narrowness of the open space and the number of private gardens in the area Council is suggesting that community orchards could be included in this space. They will be un-fenced and open to all the community. Council will only put in the orchards where the community in the general vicinity are interested in caring for the trees. Council will develop an agreement with a community group who are incorporated or who are auspiced by another organisation so that there is an ongoing commitment to provide this opportunity. Issues of pest management, fruit drop and pruning will need to be managed by the community."

Moreland Council are to be congratulated for this. It's a big step for them and an acknowledgment of the increasing demands of their constituents for opportunities to grow food in the community.

What can you do?
Show your support for this effort:
It's possible that the community was hoping for a more traditional community garden but if that can't be achieved this is a terrific alternative. 

Imagine strolling along this linear park grabbing an apple or a plum, harvesting olives, feasting on loquats. Consider the annual opportunity to teach about pruning fruit trees.

  • In nearby West Brunswick a community managed orchard (well this one's called a food forest) with around 30 mature trees has been growing for more than 15 years. It's a fantastic way for the community to get together, to provide free, fresh food for the community and to teach people how to care for productive trees. Dealing with the pests, fruit drop and pruning aren't a problem. One's just been started in Northcote.
  • In London the folks at the Urban Orchards Project "partner with local authorities, residents’ associations, Transition initiatives, park user groups, schools and other community groups to help design, plant and maintain community orchards in the nation's parks, housing estates, schools and universities." They're full of good ideas about how to do this.

More of these please!
The Merlynston Creek Park Draft Development Plan and Playspace Concept Plans are available for comment until 5 December 2014.

More info here
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