Opinion on connecting communities to local farmers

By Kim Thomas, an architectual student at University of Technology Sydney

Sydney is characterised by relatively high population density, ever increasing house prices, constant urban growth and renewal, new infrastructure projects and over-reliance on external food sources making for a stressful and generally unhealthy lifestyle.

A secured food source such as a 'community garden' within a suburb provides a way of reducing the daily stress of the busy Sydney lifestyle.

A community garden close to home is a local fresh food source where the organic foods are produced at low cost and are full of nutrition, providing a sustainable fresh food source.

Producing the food close to the point of consumption reduces the carbon foot print and creates an active social link in society.

The shared community activity generates a sense of belonging for people in the neighbourhood, which studies have shown improves mental and physical health.

The community garden can be located in any number of public places, provided they have council approval.

It could be a divided block of land in a public park, school yard, nature strip or an un-made road service.

The idea is to encourage and foster community participation in a healthy activity that has both tangible and intangible benefits for all.

Social sustainability creates a richer and more cohesive community and it needs a starting point, which a community garden provides.

Enhancing environmental sustainability and reducing stress can be achieved by creating a link to local farmers.

With an appreciation of the busy lifestyle of Sydney people, local farmers have committed to producing only organic, chemical free and fresh products, and delivering it directly at a communal venue.

Providing high quality, wholesome and reasonably priced food to the local community can be challenging for producers.

This is particularly so in the current environment where an increasing number of consumers seek organically grown and chemical free products.

Local farmers and the Food Connection team are passionate about delivering and supplying grown food in a healthy and sustainable manner to city residents.

They have banded together to produce a variety of seasonal fruits and high quality vegetables providing value for money for the local consumers.

Building and maintaining a strong connection between the local farmers and the community also contributes to an improvement in the quality of the busy urban lifestyle.

The community gardens and connection with local farmers are good sustainable options for Sydney city residents because secure food sources must be embraced.

There should be no need to import millions of tonnes of food from overseas when Australia has the land and the resources to grow it locally.

The city itself can survive by uniting its communities and relying on its own resources.

It is just a matter of working with councils, listening to the Sydney residents and co-operating with the local farmers.

A sustainable society can be built providing healthy foods and creating a meaningful change in Australian agriculture.

Hopefully, every suburb will have its own community garden providing fresh, organic foods, and encouraging the connection to local farmers supporting them to continue developing ecological farming practices sustaining local jobs.

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