BondiJunction

Being green in the Eastern Suburbs with Jess Cheah

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Eastern Suburbs resident and inspiring sustainable sister, Jess Cheah, runs the social campaign The Green Flat which endeavours to provide healthy, easy alternatives to nasties without it being difficult or expensive. 

Jess and I have many interests in common in regard to being green and sustainable, so I thought I’d take the time out to interview her and give you all a little insight into the mind of an Eastern Suburbs resident and her thoughts on community gardens in the area.

What inspired you to start up ‘The Green Flat’?

I have always been interested in cooking, making my home feel like a home and beauty products… interests that have been with me for life. But when I moved out of home this year I started to notice just how many additives were in not only the food I was eating, but the products I put on my face and body, and the products I use to clean my home. Once I started to notice, it was really hard to stop. We are exposed to so many toxins without realizing, but the alternatives out there are fantastic and accessible.

Why do you believe that being green and sustainable is important?

We’ve only got one earth… If you ask me, it’s a pretty good one. I’d like to make sure we look after it so that we can keep enjoying it, because we’re the ones with the power to make a change- even if that change is switching to a different laundry powder. Every little bit from every person counts.

Do you grow much produce at home? If not, what are your reasons why.

Moving into an apartment from a University college, we are constrained on outside space. I don’t have access to a personal garden like I’d like, however we do have lots of potted herbs around the flat, which are functional as well as calming.

Are you aware of the community gardens in your area? And have you ever thought about joining your closest one?

We’ve got the Coogee Community Garden and the Randwick Community Organic Garden just down the street- both look fantastic. Brushing up on my gardening skills is definitely needed; I love the idea of growing your own fresh vegetables and while I don’t have much experience, I am definitely keen to get involved.

How does this statement make you feel…”There is a divide in the lack of understanding surrounding community gardens, their processes and food production, as well as a lack of enthusiasm and connection from urban dwellers within the Eastern Suburbs”?

I think that this is true, it is so easy to get caught up with work, social lives, and trying to balance everything that people forget to think about where such a basic necessity comes from and how important it is.
I also think that if kids aren’t involved from a young age, a lot of the emphasis on the importance of natural food production and the community is lost. It’s not all pessimism though, there is a real surge of people reconnecting with growing their own food, it’s much more fulfilling, and you know exactly what was used on it.

Do you think more initiative should be taken by the local councils in the Eastern Suburbs to encourage people to join their community gardens?

Definitely. People move home all the time and might not even realize there is a garden close to them or how to join. It’s a wonderful activity that makes us healthier people in body and mind, uniting communities and making sure we pay attention to what we are consuming.

If you were given a brief by the local council endeavoring to encourage more people to connect with their community garden, how would you go about doing this?

I think it would be a great activity for parents to involve their kids with, providing kids with a better knowledge of food processing, fostering community spirit and supplementing family diets. Talking to the local school communities would help to get families involved, also perhaps having seasonal guides or tips on the best way to garden or suggesting people sign up with friends- really getting information out to people via social media would increase the uplift.

 

To witness more of Jess’ wisdom, visit her social campaign blog at http://thegreenflat.wordpress.com/ or via Twitter @thegreenflat . Maybe you even want to follow her on all accounts (p.s. the campaign has a Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest also!) Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thegreenflat / Instagram: @thegreenflat / Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/thegreenflat/

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COMMUNITY GARDENS IN THE EASTERN SUBURBS: WAVERLEY COUNCIL AREA

Part Two of our “getting to know your garden” blog posts is all about the community gardens located within Waverley Council area.

There are currently three community gardens within the Waverley Council area:
– Waverley Community Garden
– Waverley Park Communal Garden
– 241 Bondi Road Community Garden

WAVERLEY COMMUNITY GARDEN

Location
Behind Clementson Park, corner Ebley Street and Newland St, Bondi Junction

General Info about the garden from the Waverley Council website

Established in 1999, the Garden was renewed by Council in 2007.
The Garden includes 26 ‘kitchen garden’ plots licensed out to individual gardeners, 2 double plots licensed out to community organisations and 2 plots in a children’s learning area.

The Garden also features an ‘edible native border’, composting facilities, a rain water tank, a pond, storage sheds and a shaded meeting space for public activities such as environmental education.

A licence to garden a plot will allow the individual or group to plant, tend and harvest annual (food) crops using organic gardening methods, access to a share of water, compost and mulch, and use of some shared gardening tools.

How to get involved?
The garden hosts a number of environmental workshops such as organic gardening, composting and worm farming and bush tucker.

Membership
Membership is open to Waverley residents over the age of 18.
The current annual fee is $55 and you can apply at any time.
Email Colleen at civicpride@waverley.nsw.gov.au to lease a garden plot or become a shared garden member.

Links for Waverley Community Garden
Website: http://www.waverley.nsw.gov.au/services/environment/parks_playgrounds_gardens/community_garden/waverley_community_garden
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/WaverleyCommunityGarden/

WAVERLEY PARK COMMUNAL GARDEN

Location
St Mary’s Avenue, Waverley Park – view map

General Info about Waverley Park Communal Garden (Info from the WPCG Blog)
Bondi Junction’s local Sustainability Street Group in association with Waverley Council and Transition Bondi created the garden. The garden is a 20x2m strip for a verge garden, along the fence line of the Youth Centre in Waverley Park, behind the netball courts on the Birrell St side of the Park. It is a chemical-free garden.

How to get involved?
Join us for a garden catch up on the third Sunday of the month between 10:00 am and 12:00.

Following the working bee we split the harvest between the workers then usually have a cup of tea and small picnic under the paperbark trees nearby, so if you drop by please feel free to bring something to share.

Membership
Join the group Facebook for more membership information

Links to find out more about WPCG:
Wordpress: waverleyparkcommunalgarden.org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/210214755666812/

241 BONDI ROAD COMMUNITY GARDEN

Location
241 Bondi Road, Bondi (near Boonara Ave)

General Info (Obtained from Transition Bondi website)
The garden was set up as an initiative of the Transition Bondi Group . The group have community gardens at the front and the rear of this block of units.

At Transition Bondi, we enjoy growing food for everyone to share. Our Community Gardens network consists of our Community Garden at 241 Bondi Road (Community Garden HQ) and the many Verge Gardens we have created in Bondi to date.

’241 Bondi Road Community Garden’ serves as our educational gardening head quarters. Features of the garden are an Aquaponics system, a honey bee hive, a native bee hive, worm farms, worm hotels, wicking beds, raised garden beds and a herb spiral. We also like to turn previously abandoned fence posts into garden beds where we grow our organic fruit, herbs & veggies.

How to get involved?
They have Digs and Workshops. “Digs” every second Sunday of the month (except Dec 2013 and Jan 2014) – 10-12 noon. Workshops can be viewed here.

Membership
For information on membership and lending a hand, email: info@transitionbondi.org

Links to find out more about 241 Bondi Road and Transition Bondi:
Transition Bondi Community Garden page: http://transitionbondi.org/bondi-farm/
Transition Bondi Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TransitionBondi

Next week will be Part Three of the community garden information and will feature Woollahra Council’s community gardens.