To help make Kensington a more sustainable suburb, we connected with the community to create the first composting hub in our municipality at the Kensington Town Hall, and a new communal food growing space at the Newmarket Saleyards.
The Kensington community is passionate about diverting food waste. Tapping into that enthusiasm was key to the success of this project. The communal garden is a response to requests from local families wanting to grow food closer to where they live. The project will test a new model of community food waste diversion and communal food growing for City of Melbourne.
In 2018 the Kensington Compost Hub and Stockyard Food Garden officially launched with over 150 people attending. Both sites are now up and running with the spaces activated and being well-utilised by the local community.
The Stockyard Food Garden is an open and accessible space for the community with 26 garden beds. To date they’ve produced over 85kg of fresh fruit, vegetables, flowers and herbs and recorded over 650 visits.
The Stockyard Food Garden, located at the corner of Bluestone and Serong Streets, is a welcoming and safe place for people of all ages and backgrounds to connect. With many plots under shared management, the Garden is open and accessible to the wider community. Using permaculture principles, the Garden aims to grow an abundance of fruit, vegetables, flowers and herbs and to increase local biodiversity, while providing a vibrant meeting place for the people of Kensington.
The Kensington Compost Hub, located at the Kensington Town Hall 30-34 Bellair Street, is a community-run place where locals can drop off their food waste and see it turned into lovely compost for gardens. The Compost Hub Committee regularly hold short induction sessions to help people understand the composting process and how they can get involved. The group also hold working-bees which are a great way to learn about composting and meet people.
- When households across Melbourne dispose of their food waste in their garbage bin it ends up in landfill.
- As food waste breaks down in a landfill, it produces greenhouse gases, such as methane.
- An estimated 250,000 tonnes of avoidable food waste sent to landfill each year from Victorian households has the potential to generate up to 400,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (C02e) per year (Sustainability Victoria 2014).
- Wasting food also has a significant impact on precious, finite resources used to grow our food (water, soils and energy) along with the energy to process, package and transport food.
- Reducing food waste sent to landfill will reduce the impact on the environment, public health and amenity.
- By growing some of their own food, individuals and families have access to fresh, nutritious food and the mixed meals that support nutritional health.
- Because it involves physical activity, communal gardening promotes physical fitness and health.
- Gardens are used for community education such as waste minimisation and the recycling of wastes through composting and mulching.
- Learning to grow plants is mentally stimulating and adds to an individual's knowledge and expertise.
- Communal gardening is a social activity involving shared decision making, problem solving and negotiation, increasing these skills among gardeners.
- Food gardens re-green vacant spaces and bring biodiversity to public open space and other areas, making them a useful tool for urban improvement.