Randwick

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: Randwick City Council area

Are you interested in finding your green thumb? Are you wanting to grow your own food but have no backyard? Have you walked past community gardens and wanted to join but didn’t know how?

This post is for YOU! This post is the first of three posts which will be dedicated to identifying all of the thriving community gardens specifically within the three local councils of Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs: Randwick City Council, Waverley Council and Woollahra Municipal Council.

The post has been created in order to make it easy for people to see all of the community gardens that exist within the Eastern Suburbs, and to have a look at their group pages and websites.

Randwick City Council – Community gardens

Randwick Community Organic Garden

Location
The Northern end of Paine Reserve on the corner of Rainbow and Botany Streets, Randwick (187-203 Botany Street)

General Information about the garden from the RCOG website
RCOG is a community of gardeners interested in working towards a sustainable future by growing fresh organic produce and plants, learning about organic gardening and permaculture techniques, sharing skills and knowledge with the local community and cultivating the health of soil, plants, wildlife, people and community. We don’t use pesticides or herbicides, we create our own composts and collect our own rainwater. We share the fruits and vegetables of the communal gardens and tend our own plots.
Our present motto is: ‘He who plants a garden, plants happiness’.

How to get involved?
The garden holds its monthly working bee every third Sunday of the month (10 am in winter and 9 am in the daylight saving months) Everyone is welcome to come and lend a hand!
Free Monthly educational workshops are also available for members, and non-members are also welcome for a small donation!

Membership
2014 annual membership fees are $55 for an individual ($30 pensioner/student) $80 for a household membership ($60 pensioner/student). For all membership information click here.

Links to find out more about RCOG:
Email: randwickcommunityorganicgarden@gmail.com
Website: http://www.rcog.org.au/
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/128944703851767/

Coogee Community Garden

Location
Behind the scout hall on Dolphin Street

General Information about the garden from the Randwick Council website
A group of people living in Coogee who love the smell of home grown tomatoes. We want to establish a garden in Coogee so we can grow vegetables and nurture community. Over the past few years, a small but dedicated crew have maintained the enthusiasm and the dream of a community garden. And, now it is a reality!

How to get involved?
Gatherings are held on the first Saturday and third Sunday of every month

Membership
Membership of Coogee Community Garden (CCG) is open to adults of 18 years and above, although children and young adults can attend the garden with their parents and guardians.

There are two kinds of active members at the CCG.
** Garden Lovers — those who participate in activities of the garden, such as using the community garden areas, but do not have a plot
**Garden Growers (Plot members) — those who have been allocated plots.
(For more information on membership, click here.

Links to find out more about CCG:
Email: coogeecommunitygarden@gmail.com
Website: http://coogeegarden.wordpress.com/ (no recent posts though)
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/290920733307/

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!