Bike Friendly Barossa
South Australia | Regional
Through an innovative collaboration with town planners, lawyers, residential developers and web-based developers, the solution to the issue of urban food insecurity was not to provide food to people, but to instead unlock pockets of vacant land to enable people to grow food for themselves. Within the City of Melbourne there is a vast amount of underutilised space, ranging from tiny verges on street corners, to vacant car parks, to large scale empty lots awaiting development. By considering the principles of ‘food-sensitive planning and urban design’, 3000acres recognised the potential of the vacant concrete lot as an un-tapped opportunity for creating more vibrant public open space, with both equitable access to healthy fresh produce and environments that support active and engaged communities.
Central to the project is an open-source and interactive map of existing and potential places to grow food across the City of Melbourne. Through this platform, community members gain access to others who express interest in a potential site. From there they can access a practical toolkit of information and resources to initiate a project - from handling lease agreements, liaising with council, and public liability insurance, through to practical instructions such as building a wicking bed and establishing management plans.
3000acres helps people to navigate necessary bureaucracy, and further facilitate engaged and proactive neighbourhood dynamics. Since its beginning, 3000acres has built a strong network of landowners, councils, organisations, urban farmers and over 6 thousand community members, using urban food growing as a platform to achieve a common goal of a more supportive healthy food environment. 3000acres have managed the establishment of seven new urban food growing projects around Melbourne, and assisted in the establishment of many others including facilitating projects in rural communities such as Wangaratta and Mildura.
To better enable the community to grow food for themselves, 3000acres continue to advocate for changes in the Victorian Government's planning policy to address amendments that will reduce the regulatory burden impeding the establishment of more community gardens in urban environments. Furthermore, the organisation coordinates a range of events to equip the community with the knowledge and skills they need to engage in the projects offered. This ranges from practical skill sharing workshops and working bees, to facilitating seminars on community garden establishment and management, to a number of large scale community festivals that promote local and sustainable food growing.