Whether you are an experienced or new gardener, you are welcome to volunteer with us at your leisure to enrich the community with your own skills and knowledge.
Perhaps you are in a job transition or a solo parent and need to comply with Centrelink’s mutual obligation task.
You might be a mature person transitioning to retirement and you need to comply with Centrelink’s mutual obligation activity by serving the community as a volunteer.
Our volunteers meet every Tuesday and Thursday morning and work until noon. You are welcome to come to the gardens for an induction and to explore how you can participate with us.
Your lifelong learned skills will always be appreciated.
After two years of responding to the COVID-19 induced local food crisis, EdibleScapes Gardens have demonstrated the efficiency of their “biointensive growing” method by increasing food production tenfold over an average urban edible garden’s production.
Nonetheless, in 2022 Ediblescapes will refocus its efforts on the demonstrative and experiential learning functions of their public project. In a strategy to become a Food & Ecology Interpretive Centre by 2026, EdibleScapes Gardens will now transition into an Ecological Interpretive Garden. Ecological Interpretive Gardens offer community education opportunities that promote pro-conservation views and an understanding of human dependence on the ecological systems that provide our food, materials, climate control, and other benefits. Visitors can engage with ecological relationships in the garden to learn about the interactions between living organisms, including soil nutrients, pollinating insects and birds, native and cosmopolitan edible plants, even humans.
Learning can be activated by visual and audio signage, storytelling, interactive elements, workshops and other modes of communication.
At EdibleScapes, interpretation is now possible because the fruits trees planted three years ago are now fruiting.
The vegetable beds now give turn to perennial plants under the tree canopy and a recognisable edible food forest is taking shape.
Like any other public park, the first immediate tasks are to display flora labels to inform visitors about the species in the garden. Each sign will link to an online listing, via a QR code, to provide more information to mobile users. This approach will reduce limitations and costs associated with printed signage.
(see work in progress in construction page Sun Garden)
After flora identification labels, with the help of volunteers and student internship placements, we will aim to develop creative content for integrated media to entertain and educate a diverse range of visitors from different age groups, cultural backgrounds and interests.
As you can see, the interpretive task will become a recurring activity for gardener volunteers, and it will extend beyond these concepts. We aim to provide garden tours and host celebrations and cultural activations. We want to host community education programs like workshops on propagation, wild herbs and natural pest control, composting, plant adaptations, and more.
The common denominator with all of this effort is volunteers! Without the contribution of volunteers, there will be no accomplishment.
We have completed the initial stages of EdibleScape Gardens by cultivating the test gardens and developing organic fertilisers. Now Ediblescapes Inc. are ready to establish Edible Garden Promoters.
Ediblescapes Inc. like to share big picture thinking. In 2030 we would like to see the Gold Coast burgeoning with ‘edible gardens’ in most residential homes and as well as in public spaces, from institutional sites to common sites controlled by local and state Governments. This solution guarantees healthy, nutritive food security for all Gold Coast residents.
It is not enough to rely on not-for-profit organisations like OzHarvest and Foodbank to deliver rescued food to those in need. Their work is in providing food to over 60 charities, churches, community centres and schools across the Gold Coast to ensure that who experience food insecurity are supported. But if we are to experience crises like the one we begin to experience with the hysteria around COVID-19, leading to supermarket shelves emptied of basic necessities like toilet paper, sanitary products and respiratory masks, this indicates greater scarcity of basic human consumables and potentially food.
It is time to urgently initiate now urban food solutions in the form of edible gardens and people to transition us to this new reality.
We need local food sovereignty solutions to respond to food price increases and food scarcity that are likely to result from a) the impacts of environmental events leading up to and beyond 2020 - long droughts, bush fires, torrential rain floods, what next?- and b) world pandemics such as the onset of COVID-19 that deepen the global socio-economic crisis.
Ediblescapes Inc. proposes a collaborative learning program facilitated by edible gardens “Promoters”. Each Promoter is empowered to establish an edible garden in their home garden space and help their neighbours to grow edible gardens too.
The objective of edible gardens is to provide residents self-sufficiency in the form of fresh, nutritious food, as well as many other integral benefits of cultivating soil to grow food, such as sequestering carbon into the ground, cooling the environment, reducing food transport and associated pollution, creating family bonding experiences, and emancipation from screens and digital devices.
Initially, we invite those over 55 to volunteer to became a neighbourhood Edible Gardens Promoter. After six months undertaking a learning program within EdibleScapes Gardens, the participant will be able to grow food at EdibleScapes Gardens as well as at their own home, and apply diverse organic agroecology methods to do so. Food produce in this program will be donated to local social food programs to support those that don’t have the financial means to acquire all their food needs from the supermarket.
Additionally, excess produce can be designed into a co-operative sales model that allows participants to sell their home grown produce at a local farmers market.
By 2030, in ten years’ time, we for see EdibleScapes Gardens leading the direction of local collaborative food economic models, developing human centred ecological solutions and developing viable social economic alternatives using urban agroecology practice.
This is ‘Big Picture’ thinking. Can we make it a reality on the Gold Coast?
Why agroecology ?
Edible gardens were popular in Australia during the Second World War - they were known as Victory Gardens and were neighbourhood gardens that helped with food shortages.
The concept of agroecology demonstration sites is common in countries around the world, particularly in Latin American. Volunteer promoters for edible gardens have existed in Argentina for 20 years, with 20,000 volunteer promoters and 750 paid technicians. The Argentina national program ‘Pro Huerta” (Pro Garden) supports 600,000 family gardens, 7500 school gardens and 4000 community gardens.
Argentina created the Pro Huerta program in response to their deep economic crisis 20 years ago. However, Gold Coast is not immune to poverty, with 35,000 people living below Australia’s poverty line and 20,000 unemployed.
From the time of Victory Gardens to now, the world has changed immensely. City cement covers yesterday’s farms, the agro-industry has poisoned and destroyed natural environments, and people have migrated from regional areas to urban centres and lost their agricultural knowledge.
The Ediblescapes Inc. vision offers a realistic and practical response to the question of how to give our communities access to healthy, nutritious food in both present uncertain times and in a future full of instability.
Now we need people power - a network of stakeholders, local and state governments, institutions and community groups to help to make this possible.