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Why we're calling for a $500 million edible garden fund

Dr Nick Rose, Executive Director, Sustain

Following the January 2024 announcement by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese addressing the escalating cost of living and concerns over supermarket pricing, Churchill Fellow and Sustain Executive Director Dr Nick Rose is advocating for a comprehensive approach that includes increased support for community gardens and urban farms as a sustainable solution.

Nick has called for a major expansion of community gardens nationally as an investment in food security, but also as a preventative public health measure, calling for a $500 million Edible Gardening Fund.

Nick asserts that community gardens play a vital role in addressing not only the economic challenges faced by citizens but also the broader issues related to health, environment, and community empowerment.

"Community gardens are literally the grassroots solution to the challenges posed by market concentration and rising food prices. They empower individuals, strengthen local communities, and contribute to food security," Nick adds.

In recent conversations addressing these critical issues, Nick underscores the importance of community gardens and urban farms, particularly in the context of the ongoing review led by Craig Emerson.

Nick acknowledges the significance of the supermarket review, emphasizing the need for a multi-faceted approach to tackle the challenges faced by consumers. He suggests that community gardens, operating on a non-commercial, volunteer-led basis, can and do provide a sustainable alternative to traditional food supply chains.

Nick draws parallels between the review's focus on supermarket pricing and the impacts of market concentration on farmers. He points out that community gardens represent positive and democratic community-led responses to market failures and government inaction in various sectors.

As part of their strategy, Nick and his team at Sustain: the Australian Food Network call upon key decision makers and government figures to advocate for the funding and support of a nationally coordinated network of community gardens and urban farms. Nick also continues to engage with influential figures in the media to amplify his messages and raise awareness about the importance of community-led initiatives.

This report was created in partnership with the Churchill Fellowship. You can read Nick's Churchill Fellowship report here. 

For nearly 60 years, the Winston Churchill Trust has flown talented Australians around the globe to pursue their passion and bring their knowledge home. Churchill Fellows are people from all walks of life and all sectors; the arts, science, health, agriculture, and beyond. The breadth of topics for Churchill Fellowships are limitless. Thinking about applying for a Churchill Fellowship? Applications open again 1 March 2024. Read more about the trust: