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Cultivating Community

Cultivating Community has been a member with Sustain since 2018.

Cultivating Community have been pioneers of Melbourne’s urban agriculture community for over 20 years, with a vision for joyful, connected communities who care for each other and our earth.

Their areas of focus include food systems advocacy and support, public housing community gardens, urban agriculture, community food projects, school food gardens, food waste management and environmental education.

There is a shared vision with Sustain of a fair food system which supports the health and diversity of our communities and our environment.

Cultivating Community’s mission is:

To work with diverse and low-income communities to create fair, secure and resilient food systems by improving access to healthy, affordable, culturally appropriate food.

Major achievements for the organisation in 2019 included:

In 2019 they worked in over 50 communities across Melbourne to create and support spaces of connection and healing. Over 3,000 people had access to healthy, affordable food, built deeper connections by sharing with their community and felt nourished through learning new skills and building confidence.The team partnered and collaborated with over 30 agencies to deliver programs and workshops.

Public Housing Community Gardens

Public Housing Community Gardens give public housing tenants a space to grow healthy, culturally appropriate food and feel connected to each other and nature.

In 2019, they connoted to support 20 Public Housing Community Gardens across Melbourne, providing over 720 public housing tenants the opportunity to grow food for their families. The team commenced work on drafting and refining our gardener surveys to better understand the garden’s impact and the ways we can improve the program.

School Food Garden Project

The School Food Garden program teaches students how to grow their own food, reduce food waste and act sustainably. In 2019, they worked with 23 kindergartens, early learning centres, & schools, curating nourishing garden spaces for education and wellbeing, with over 2,000 students developing gardening skills & growing their confidence.

They expanded their Food Waste Recycling incursions to deliver 20 incursions across 10 early learning centres and primary schools in the City of Whitehorse, teaching 117 preschoolers and 850 primary students about compost and worm farms. This included delivering a teacher professional development session to 39 teachers through this process.

Food Systems and partnerships

Community Food Centre and Food System activities provide people with opportunities to improve their food literacy and connect to people in their local community. The successful after School Cooking expanded to 3 new public housing sites. The Food System’s team launched High Rise Community Baking Group Fitzroy. Utilising the wood fired oven at Fitzroy Community Food Centre, the group shared diverse baking techniques over 4 workshops, and baked over 70 loaves of bread for the Community Grocer market.

Read more about their productive year here in their annual report.

It makes me happy to see the corn, sweet potato & pumpkin from my country. It reminds me of my mum and grandmother who grew this food.
Highett St. Community Gardener