Urban Reforestation @ Melbourne Docklands

“Our garden is a place to learn our neighbours names and stories”

Emily Ballantyne-Brodie / photo by Jazmine Thom

    URBAN REFORESTATION is a creative global campaign aiming to inspire urban farming for sustainability and food security, starting in metropolitan Melbourne. They wish to create culture change towards balanced and sustainable lifestyles through empowering creative everyday choices, engaging communities and connecting minds. Urban agriculture is a catalyst to begin this process Urban Reforestation has a vision to be a global sustainable design project. The Garden, Eco-shop and Educational centre is based in Victoria Harbour, Docklands, Melbourne. Our food garden and community hub has been created in collaboration with architects, landscape architects, eco-designers, permacultiralists and last but not least people from the Docklands community !   People in the Docklands community are currently looking after the garden and hope to further develop a community hub, educational space, farmer’s market and allotment garden.  

Fri June 4, 2010 12 pm to 2 pm

Come and celebrate World Environment Day with Docklands first Eco-Market “Tempt Taste Take”. Learn to grow your very own food source local plants and products prepare good food and share and taste the whole food experience. The Innovators behind this Project Emily Ballantyne-Brodie is the director and founder of Urban Reforestation. She has an academic background in sustainability, history and commerce at Monash University. She has a professional background in sustainable design consulting and strategy for businesses, government and community organistions such as AMMI, Australian Pensioners Insurance Agency, Jemena (known as Alinta), Melbourne City Council, Environment Victoria, Sustainability Victoria, XL Colour Printing and Finsbury Green Printers. Emily is strongly focused on using her specific Sustainable Design and Community Design expertise to inspire and enable individuals and communities to achieve sustainability through social innovation. She has carried out research around the world in urban agriculture, creative communities and sustainable design. Her research is now being translated through innovative design on the Urban Reforestation project in the Docklands. Ellie Schroeder is a Visual Communications and Branding Designer. Backed by 10 years of understanding how design works and how companies use it persuade purchases and brand loyalty. Ellie is a designer and a visual communicator, who has the ability to connect the emotional to the practical. The right visual language and tone, aimed at beahviour change, ensures that design can enable the emotional underpinnings of sustainability to products or businesses. Having completed a BA Graphic Design Hons she has put her skills to use for such clients as Adidas, Australia Post, Tru Engery, University of Ballarat, AMP and many other big Australian Brands. Ellie has been working very closely with Emily to develop innovative communications solutions for Urban Reforestation. Aim To develop an urban farm and community precinct that has a strong focus on community interaction, place-making, sustainable lifestyles education and eco-products. Our flourishing programs and funky eco-products will help us to create a successful social enterprise. All of the development we embark on will consider social, cultural, ecological and economic sustainability. Or sustainable lifestyles education will focus on growing, sourcing, preparing and sharing locally grown food. Our project will be a catalyst to inspire and enable people to engage in all aspects of sustainable lifestyles such as food, travel, wellbeing, home and fashion. Vision To inspire people to engage in sustainable lifestyles through food. To make urban agriculture and sustainability; fun, accessible and engaging for everyone! To raise awareness that food accounts for 28.3% of greenhouse gas emissions of each average Australian and 45.9% of water usage for each Australian on average. (Dey, C., C. Berger, et al. (2007). Urban Reforestation will encourage our community to grow it’s own food locally which is a catalyst to reduce energy, water and waste and encourage healthy lifestyles. Sustainable Everyday Design Initially our design will consider the current site in Victoria Harbour as well as identifying areas for ‘Urban Reforestation’ beyond the site boundary both within Docklands and at other sites. The purpose of the Urban Reforestation project is to provide integrated place combined with educational experience on everyday sustainable practices in a manner that’s accessible to everyone. Urban Reforestation Article How can the increasing number of people choosing high density living make their housing sustainable? Once they’ve switched off the air conditioner, the lights, and bought energy efficient fittings and appliances, what can they do? While people with their own land could install a rainwater tank or solar panels, this may not be so easy in a 30 storey apartment block. For those who choose high density living, such as in the Docklands, the next step could be to take part in a project like Urban Reforestation. Established in October 2009, Urban Reforestation is a not-for- profit food hub and community garden in Victoria Harbour, Docklands. The Docklands area to the West of the Melbourne city grid has this interesting project spreading its roots, plant by plant by the establishment of a community meeting place and garden on the Victoria Harbour waterfront. This colourful patch of garden brings life, plants and people together to explore the ways in which nature and sustainable living can coexist in a newly established urban environment. As well as providing a vegetable garden for residents, the group runs sustainable lifestyle courses focused on growing and preparing local food, as well as advice on topics such as how to set up an organic balcony garden or how to make composting work in a small apartment. Urban Reforestation was set up by Emily Ballantyne-Brodie and a small team after almost two years spent researching, applying for grants, and securing a space. She is the director or Urban Reforestation and co-founder of the sustainability think tank Future Canvas. She has nearly completed a Masters in Environment and Sustainability at Monash university and is exploring in detail the area of Sustainable Design. She has travelled extensively overseas to explore urban agricultural models from community gardens in New York to Israeli kibbutzes and creative and sustainable communities included attending ‘Changing the Change’ a sustainable design conference in Turin in July 2008 and subsequent meetings with Anna Meroni and Ezio Manzini, Professor of Industrial Design at the Milan Polytechnic (www.sustainable-everyday.net). This catalysed an ongoing relationship exploring the interwoven themes of sustainable design and the eco-city. As Melbourne and Milan are sister cities, plans are still afoot to create a ‘sister community garden’ in Milan, which would encompass the delights and manifesto of the Slow Food Movement, Italy’s revolutionary gastronomic, environmental and cultural gift to the world. The aim of the Urban Reforestation project is to inspire sustainable living and community cohesion through the container of a ‘food hub’, community garden, and a celebration of place, food and culture. A grant of $80,000 was funded through the EPA’s ‘Inspiring Environmental Solutions’ grants scheme to establish the garden. In conjunction with VicUrban and Lend Lease, a site close to residents and Docklands employees was chosen on the southern side of Victoria Harbour. Many more members of the Docklands community have since gotten involved in caring for and enjoying the garden, ranging in age from 18 months old to over 70 years of age. It is a place where workers and residents can meet and converse, relax, children can play. The process has affirmed her belief that sustainability is about far more than just the environment, Ms Ballantyne- Brodie says. “You need social sustainability to achieve ecological sustainability,” she says. “Neighbours getting to know each other goes some way to achieving social sustainability. ‘‘They can do that at Urban Reforestation by getting involved in maintaining the garden, helping neighbours with their balcony garden, participating in our workshops or volunteering. ‘‘There are huge numbers of people moving to the Docklands, but there aren’t yet very many true community initiatives. As well as feeling part of the community, getting involved in the garden can be an environmental starting point for people who haven’t necessarily thought about sustainability before.” After eight months or so, the garden is now at a stage where the community is taking ownership of it, and Urban Reforestation is looking to establish a Sustainable Living Community Hub where people can meet to explore other ways to create sustainable lifestyles in the Docklands. Urban Reforestation has recently opened a shop, which has been sponsored by Lend Lease. This space is used to host workshops on a variety of gardening and food themes including home brewing, bread making, food preserving composting and worms, balcony and rooftop gardens, green home makeovers, and water-wise and organic gardening. The new shop was host to a beautiful neighbourhood dinner for over 40 local residents, which turned to be a true community feast. An incredibly diverse range of people have already stepped up to be part of the community. One lady, Corinne Civaller, comes down with her two-year-old son and says she loves being in the green space. CERES (a sustainable community in East Brunswick) is getting ready to launch an organic box delivery scheme called Food Connect, and through being involved in Urban Reforestation, Corinne has volunteered to coordinate the delivery of the boxes in the Docklands. “The community is beginning to expand the project into new areas, so we’re achieving both social and environmental sustainability,” Ms Ballantyne- Brodie says. One of Urban Reforestation’s next projects is an Eco-Market on Friday 4 June, to mark World Environment Day the following day. Targeting the local business community, the market is sponsored by Lend Lease and run in conjunction with the William Angliss Institute. To find out more, or to get involved in Urban Reforestation, visit www.urbanreforestation.com www.futurecanvas.org www.urbanreforestation.com

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