Footscray Community Garden & Learning Place

The Footscray Community Garden & Learning Place is about building purposeful community connections and capacity. The Garden & Learning Place will focus on sharing and developing skills across intercultural communities, aimed at building food security and life skills, and connecting communities to social networks, services and pathways.

The Community Garden will be set-up as an urban farm, informed by a community development and educational perspective, and aimed at supporting and developing social connectivity and lifelong learning.

Food insecurity is a growing issue for many communities in the western suburbs, including more recently arrived migrants, individuals with mobility-based and other disabilities, and isolated senior citizens. Many in these communities rely on Footscray as a hub for services and cultural connections. The 2020 Victorian Population Health Survey, showed that over 8% of City of Maribyrnong were experiencing food insecurity, regularly running out of money to buy food. This is well above the state and western Melbourne rates of food insecurity of 5.9%. As Maribyrnong Council reports demonstrated (November 15, 2022), this food insecurity is higher amongst disadvantaged populations including women, First Nations people, culturally and linguistically diverse people, single-parent families and asylum seekers.

The garden will focus on developing co-operation between communities, building up the bank of community knowledge, and educating in sustainable and equitable practices that can improve household liveability.

In essence, the Community Garden & Learning Place is envisaged as a capacity building program, focused on food security but understanding this set of needs goes beyond small-scale food production, and requires developing the social and cultural capital of communities that are socially and economically disadvantaged, and advocating for policy changes.

The Community Garden will be located in Pickett Street Footscray and supported by two organisations, Borderlands and St Johns Church.