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/