Permaculture & Community Gardens

Permaculture Has Always Promoted The Growing of Food in the Cities. For many people Community Gardens are the best option. WHY?
By growing food in the cities, transport costs are cut, people are encouraged to eat healthy food, and get exercise gardening.   Participants and even spectators can feel empowered and socialised in a productive, dynamic community project. But did you know?  Permaculture Can Design Pleasant and Efficient Community Gardens

The Ideal Built Environment:

  •         The choice of site is very important to the long term success of a community garden. Some gardens have been established for years and then, the council changes it’s mind and wants the land back. Other sites become a really useful part of their neighbourhood and this is the ideal.
  •         A good site is one that has good morning sun and good neighbourhood views into the site, where people can see what is going on.
  •         Most Community Gardens have allocated space for individuals to have their own gardens. These are called allotments. But they should also have productive shared spaces such as orchards, tool shed, paths, water features, windbreaks, and community activity areas.
  •         The allotments can be shaped to hold water (they can lie on the contour and be curved to capture water, like swales. They don’t have to be rectangular. And even if they are rectangular, they can run along the contour to minimise erosion and optimise water catchment.
  •         The allotments can also be positioned to optimise solar exposure.
  •         Windbreaks can be grown to reduce need to water and damage by wind to crops but allow flow through to reduce fungal spores.
  •         Small Water collection points can be made safe for children and yet a pleasant feature that encourages predators such as dragonflies and frogs. Such as interconnected baths or pools for ponds. Some old baths are interconnected to flow into one another as they fill, they also double as work tables by placing a board on top. Multi-function is a key permaculture principle.
  •         Some animals can be encouraged such as wildlife and chickens with safe housing.
  •         Recycling center for equipment and building materials. A Shared bike shed to encourage repairs. Abundant fruit grows in a shared orchard.
  •         Family/community meetings and picnics; community built structures such as scupltures; earth, twig and cob walls; BBQ’s; and cob ovens.
  •         Tool rental and access.
  •         Gleaning operations (See Below).
  •         Plant nursery.
  •         Seed, book, plant and general retail sales.
  •         Seminars, demonstration, training programmes, educational outreach.

Photos taken at CERES Melbourne by A. Sampson-Kelly

The Social Environment:
Markets are often encouraged to share the produce of each stall and collective areas such as orchards.
Money systems and sharing of tools and other necessary resources are encouraged.

community gardens in CERES.  Many successful community gardens operate around the world. If you can’t find a local community garden, make one! Local Community Gardens – An Action Plan

Organise or join a local community garden. Offer to work on other peoples gardens in return for a small plot of your own or some of the produce. Do some paid work, as a local gardener specialising in permaculture, stay local and generate interest in courtyard plantings. This may provide you with the means and contacts to lease some inner city land on a temporary basis or set up your nursery plants. If you are poorly paid in your employment, consider moving out of the city. If you are well paid, consider working flexible hours to allow you to live in a clean area with natural forest or parks. Pursue all possibilities of decentralising your workplace. Join your local L.E.T.S. to maximise use of your skills, locally. There are community gardens in many major cities.altmts wovenFence TinFish bikeR baths