The Australian Food Network
Toggle User Menu Display

Community Gardens are Essential

Thank you for supporting community gardens and associated forms of urban agriculture – the immense capacity of these communities to feed, support, care and provide safe and healthy spaces is unstoppable if we work together.

By becoming a signatory, you are showing your support for community gardens and associated organisations as ‘essential services’ during COVID-19 and beyond. Furthermore, you are committing to the value of urban agriculture and its capacity for long-term change as stated in the Urban Agriculture Manifesto.

Join us today by registering below and sharing to your networks with our media kit available here.  You can also add your name to our Urban and Regional Food Declaration here.

If you already have an account, please sign in to sign up to this list.

New to Sustain? Support us by becoming a member, or sign up to this list below:

Are you signing for:

By clicking submit, you are granting permission to Sustain to publish the details of the above selected entities, and you agree that you are authorised to act on behalf of the above selected entities. Proceeding without authorisation is a violation of our terms of use.


To: The Hon David Littleproud MP, Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management

Cc:

The Hon Sussan Ley MP, Minister for the Environment
The Hon Daniel Andrews MP, Premier of Victoria
The Hon Annastacia Palaszczuk MP, Premier of Queensland
The Hon Gladys Berejiklian MP, Premier of New South Wales
The Hon Steven Marshall MP, Premier of South Australia
The Hon Mark McGowan MP, Premier of West Australia
The Hon Peter Gutwein MP, Premier of Tasmania
The Hon Michael Gunner MLA, Chief Minister of the Northern Territory
The Hon Andrew Barr MLA, Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory

All federal and state health ministers and the PM



10 April 2020

Dear Minister

RE Request that Community Food Gardens be declared as essential services

Community Gardens Australia (CGA) and the undersigned supporters request that community gardens, including school gardens, community orchards and other forms of urban agriculture (both commercial and non-commercial), be declared an ‘essential service’.

Community gardens and associated forms of urban agriculture provide an essential service as well as a health and wellbeing lifeline to at least 261,000 Australians, and our economy, every week. Community gardens and urban food production provide our communities with:

  • a source of fresh, healthy, affordable, safe, and accessible food
  • a place to exercise and stay physically fit
  • a source of relaxation and stress relief, helping to alleviate and address the growing burden of anxiety and related forms of mental health conditions that are devastating the lives of hundreds of thousands of Australians

Community gardens form an essential part of urban agriculture which can make an enormous contribution to addressing the multiple social and environmental crises that Australia is facing. These are detailed in the attached Manifesto, which we are calling on all Australian governments to endorse and implement as a matter of urgency.

We do not want to go backwards from the massive gains in health outcomes over the past 20 years from the rise in gardens around the country. If access is limited or cut off to these vital spaces we would see:

  • existing harvests of fresh food wasted
  • fresh food larder for spring 2020 not completed
  • an increase in mental health issues amongst many vulnerable groups
  • possible permanent loss of infrastructure
  • deterioration in physical health amongst our most vulnerable

Community gardens have already been very proactive with regards to implementing restrictions and safety protocols as per current government mandates. CGA has a network of State Representatives and partner organisations and an online directory of gardens across the country. We are currently putting together an information pack for members regarding COVID-19 and best practice to ensure public safety whilst still allowing people access to their local food supply and place of physical exercise during these difficult times.

CGA is proposing a highly targeted campaign to situate community gardens as a key factor in larger resilience and recovery efforts.

Coordinating the campaign with local, state, and national efforts requires capacity within the organisational networks and engaging with gardens requires facilitators. This could be an opportunity for home-based casual employment.

Accordingly, national and state funding is sought to develop and implement a community garden resilience and recovery campaign appropriate for each state and territory that would establish:

  • A line of communication to the organising groups for each community garden, enabling directed, specific advice to be efficiently distributed that will take into account the differing scale, structure and variety of gardens
  • A helpdesk service for these groups to clarify restrictions and deal with queries, thus relieving load from more critical information providers

Community Gardens Australia and our undersigned supporters recognise the immense risks that COVID-19 poses to the health of Australians. We take seriously our responsibility to identify, mitigate and minimise health risks and ensure public safety in these extreme times.

Community gardens can be operated safely and are essential to the community. It is vitally important that they remain recognised as an essential service during this time and continue to do so during any future restrictions as well as post-COVID-19. It would be immensely helpful for the community to have confirmation from the National Cabinet of the important role of community gardens in this crisis. We seek this assurance at the earliest possible opportunity.

Please contact me if you would like to discuss further. I look forward to hearing from you.

Naomi Lacey
President
Community Gardens Australia
president@communitygarden.org.au


Organisation Signatories

Airgarden

Food Fairness Illawarra

Community Gardens Australia

The Hills Food Frontier Inc

Young Farmers Connect

3000acres

Creative Space

Cultivating Community

Healthy Cities Illawarra

Hidden Harvest

Permaculture Education Institute

Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation

Sustain

Sustainable Gardening Australia

Individual Signatories

Sue Noy

Research fellow and academic, Deakin University

Nick Rose

Executive Director, Sustain

Reanna Willis

Master of Environment Student

Matt Cole

Jess Harrison

Packer, Melbourne Food Hub

Madeline Hogan

Food Specifications and Regulatory Officer, MSAC Solutions

William Leon Naufahu

Founder, youknowhow.works

Sydney MacLennan

Food systems professional

Karen Newman

La Vergne Lehmann

Michelle

Finance

Allan 'Big Al' Connolly

Founder/Managing Director, Kommuniti HQ

Amanda Fleming

Delia Forrest

Ms

Tanvier Fowler

Convener, PermacultureWest

Berbel Franse

Health Promotion Officer (Food Security & Sustainability) , Healthy Cities Illawarra / Food Fairness Illawarra

Jason Hilder

Researcher

Naomi Orsillo

Owner, Copper & Stone Cafe

Roslyn Pilbeam

Rob Rees

Lisa Savchuk

Artist, Creative Space

Judy Sykes

Kirra Watt

This initiative is led by Community Gardens Australia and Sustain: The Australian Food Network.