Coogee

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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My first foray into Coogee Community Garden

On Sunday I did something that I’ve been thinking about doing for a loooong time, I finally went to a community garden gathering! For about two years now, I’ve walked past various community gardens around Sydney and daydreamed about harvesting my own fresh kale, spinach, broccoli..and the list goes on.

My closest community garden in the area is Coogee Community Garden (located on Dolphin Street), which is conveniently a five minute walk from my place! I moved to Coogee almost two years ago now and absolutely love it, it has such a little village atmosphere feel for a suburb so close to the city. I’d walked past the site where the community garden currently is and over the past two years watched it blossom from a vacant lot, to many healthy and happy vegetables growing in MANY plots!

It was great to finally connect with the Coogee Community Garden and its members. Everyone was so friendly and open, and it was a great first experience into gardening in an urban environment. I started off weeding and talking to various members, then moved on to getting the mulch around all the plots to prevent weeds from getting into them.

Overall the experience was really great, getting my hands dirty and meeting vibrant people from the surrounding community was a great thing to connect to on a relaxing Sunday.

So thank you Coogee Community Garden 🙂

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Welcome to the Connect To YOUR Community Garden blog!

This blog was launched through the realisation that in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney there are so many more people that reside here, than people who are involved with the community gardens that thrive within the area! 

I bet if you’re reading this, you’ve walked past a community garden or someone’s private garden and thought…”Hmmm, I wish I could have some of those tomatoes or some of that basil!” Then most of you have probably kept walking straight on over to some huge supermarket down the street.

HANG ON…there is a serious disconnect here with production, preparation and consumption of foods!! How did us humans go from growing our own foods, preparing them and then consuming them; to only the consumption part??

There is a nature-culture divide within urban living these days and this blog will be focusing on the benefits of growing your own food, specifically in community gardens within the Eastern Suburbs. 

The key factors that I believe attribute to this disconnect are: 

  1. Disconnect maintained by the urban living environment and lack of natural landscape surrounding Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs – not having a backyard or no where for a community garden
  2. Attitudes of society towards urban food production (people believing they can vandalise and take from community gardens)
  3. Finding the time to participate – we all know it’s hard to find time, especially when there is relatively cheap mass-produced fruit and veggies on offer down the road 

In order to help combat this nature-culture divide, this campaign will endeavour to help people living in the Eastern Suburb’s of Sydney to understand the benefits of community gardens and food production, and help people connect and have enthusiasm for urban agriculture within this beautiful area we live in! 

If you have any specific areas of interest you want the campaign to do a blog post about, please let me know! 

Visit us on Facebook and Twitter also to stay in the loop and connect with other curious future community gardeners!  

Enjoy!