Growing food at home
One way to make sure you always have food is to produce some of it at home. This is great for the environment, and great for your wallet! Growing fruit and vegetables at, or close to, home is a key part of sustainable gardening. It helps to reduce any travel or transport related to food production, and chemical and water use typically associated with commercially grown and packaged food.
It’s also really good for your physical and mental well-being and can be a valuable and fun learning activity for young children.
Check out the Home Harvest booklet (PDF 4Mb) for some information on the basics on getting your home veggie patch up and growing.
Community gardens bring community members together and are environmentally friendly! In Merri-bek, there are a number of different community gardens. These gardens aren’t all the same — so it’s important to know how the specific garden works that you want to use. Some of them are a collection of separate garden beds and some of them are one shared space for the community. The food grown at a community garden is mainly for the gardeners of that particular garden.
Find out more about community gardens in Merri-bek:
Established in 2011, Moreland Community Gardening Inc (MCG inc) is a volunteer-based non-profit organisation that supports a vibrant and sustainable network of community gardens in Merri-bek.
The group is made up of local people united in the shared purpose of connecting the community through the growing of healthy food in the urban environment. MCG inc manage three community gardens in Merri-bek: West Brunswick Community Garden, Dunston Reserve Food Forest and Pentridge Community Garden.
Located in Dunstan Reserve, behind 49 Everett Street, Brunswick West, the West Brunswick Community Garden is a friendly, welcoming place with both communal beds and personal plots.
Learn more about the West Brunswick Community Garden
Established in the mid-1990s, Dunstan Reserve Food Forest is a collection of over 30 mature fruit trees and other edible plants. Located next to the West Brunswick Community Garden in the reserve, the Food Forest is open and accessible to everyone.
Learn more about the Dunston Reserve Food Forest
The Pentridge Community Garden site has been set aside by Shayher Group within the grounds of the historic Pentridge Prison, Moonering Drive, Coburg.
The focus is on communal gardening, where the garden is planted, maintained and harvested by locals together.
Find out more about the Pentridge Community Garden.
The garden is connected to, and shares the space with, Milparinka disability day service at 331 Albert Street, Brunswick. SEEDs is a fully communal garden, where members grow and share organic food together, develop networks, skills, friendships and community.
Find out more about the SEEDs Community Garden on Facebook.
Located at 194 Donald Street, Brunswick East, this community garden has around 40 individual plots used by local residents who do not have access to a lot of growing space at home.
For more information email email@example.com
Located at 120 Glenroy Road, Glenroy, this garden is connected to and shares a space with Glenroy College.
It is a fully communal gardening space with a range of membership options. The aim is to increase community connection by bringing people together to share organic gardening skills and provide access to food that is healthy and sustainable.
Find out more on the Mulberry Community Garden website.
Located on a disused bowling green at the corner of Lorne and Creedon Streets Fawkner, Fawkner Food Bowls is a hyper-local, community-led urban farm that supports food security and community resilience in the north of Merri-bek.
Find out more on the Fawkner Food Bowls webpage.
Volunteers are planting food and indigenous gardens along the Upfield shared path from Jewell to Merlynston Railway stations. The aim is to create cool, shady, beautiful spaces that encourage bike use and walking as well as store water, carbon and increase food security.
Find out more on the Upfield Urban Forest website.
Located behind the Brunswick Neighbourhood House, 43A De Carle Street, Brunswick, the community garden is a membership-based community garden comprising raised and wicking beds. All are welcome during Neighbourhood House opening hours.
Next to the Neighbourhood House in Warr Park, the Food Forest is a community space for everyone to enjoy. Includes a variety of fruit trees and other food pants, children’s natural play area and three large wicking beds where seasonal leafy greens and herbs are grown on regular rotation.
Find out more on the Brunswick Neighbourhood House website.
Located in Robinson Reserve, next to Reynard Street Neighbourhood House, 104B Reynard Street, Coburg, the garden is an education space managed by Neighbourhood House staff which is open to the community. Join volunteer gardeners for a weekly working bee followed by lunch using garden produce.
Find out more on the Reynard Street Community Garden website.
Located on a private block at 43 Luscombe Street, Brunswick, this community garden has a mixture of individual and communal plots that are maintained through monthly working bees. There are membership options catering to a range of abilities, interests and capacities.
Find out more on the Luscombe Street Community Garden Facebook page.
Located within the CERES site at the corner of Roberts and Stewart Streets, Brunswick East, this individual allotment garden has been established for 40 years. Recently redeveloped, it is an open, beautiful and friendly space for community gardeners and visitors to gather, learn and garden.
Find out more on the CERES Community Garden website.
Located on the grounds of the Coburg Uniting Church (enter from Louisa St opposite the Coburg library). This is a communally operated, membership-based garden which is open to the public Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 am to 1 pm
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
A welcoming space linking the Newlands Neighbourhood House with F Cox reserve. This fully communal space is managed by the Neighbourhood House for the benefit of the whole community
For more information email email@example.com
Located in Bulleke-bek Park, at the corner of Breese and West Street, Brunswick, this garden comprises six wicking beds and a food forest. The garden is a communal space for the many local people who live in apartments to cultivate a little bit of green. Anyone can participate and harvest the produce. Residents meet monthly for group gardening sessions
The Fawkner Neighbourhood House community garden emerged from the idea that we can all learn to grow food and benefit from the physical and mental health that this brings. A small group of volunteers established the thriving garden beds around the Neighbourhood House and are looking to welcome more! The garden is a place where community can connect for ongoing learning, and for delicious food to be grown.
Find out more on the Fawkner Neighbourhood House website
Do you want to set up a new community garden?
Do you want to set up a new community garden? Check out our Community Food Growing Assessment Guidelines and Community Garden Site Assessment Checklist to find out how:
- The Merri-bek Community Grants Program supports groups, organisations and individuals with projects that help the Merri-bek community. You may be able to get funding to set up a new, or support an existing, community garden.
- The Community Grants Hub awards community-based grants on behalf of Australian Government departments, agencies and organisations.
- Grants Hub is a grants search website covering a wide range of funding providers.
- Moreland Community Gardening Inc is a volunteer run, not-for-profit organisation that manages community gardens and can provide support and advice.
- 3000acres provides advice and resources to help start a community garden, including tips for unlocking private undeveloped land for community gardening.
- Sustainable Gardening Australia has a manual on community gardening which is a great resource as it gives advice and templates to help you plan, design, build and run a community garden
- Melbourne Water has created the ‘Our Space Your Place’ program to which helps with finding land and asking to use it for community benefit.
Sustainable gardening with My Smart Garden
My Smart Garden is a free program offering resources for sustainable and climate resilient gardening. Workshops, events and garden tours will show you how to grow and preserve food, shelter and cool your home, create habitat for wildlife, use water wisely and reduce your waste.
To find out more about the program and upcoming events, visit the My Smart Garden website.
Growing indigenous plants
Growing indigenous plants is one way to connect with the natural environment and the history of our land.
Indigenous plants are a great option to grow as they suit local soils and our climate. They also have a low impact on our natural environment. Indigenous plants also tend to use less water and attract native birds and wildlife.
You can use our tree finder tool to choose an indigenous species that is suitable to the space you want to grow a tree. You can filter the species shown in the results by opening the 'Advanced' search section and selecting 'Indigenous to Merri-bek'.
We have provided a general selection of tree species below. We recommend these species if you are looking to grow indigenous trees in Merri-bek.
- Common everlasting: A small sprawling herb that grows small groups of golden daisies in summer.
- Basalt daisy: A small slender herb with upright stems. This plant grows small white daisies in spring and summer.
- Pale flax lily: A grass species with sword-shaped leaves with pale blue flowers in spring.
- Kangaroo grass: A grass species with leaves that change colour with the seasons. This grass grows tall flowers in spring.
- Tufted bluebell: A bright green herb with small narrow leaves.
- Kangaroo apple: A large and very fast growing shrub with dense, dark green, glossy leaves.
- Woolly tea-tree: A large sprawling shrub with silvery blue leaves. This shrub grows white flowers in winter and woolly coated fruit in spring.
- Turkey bush: A robust small to medium sized rounded shrub with many glossy green leaves.
- River bottlebrush: A small to medium sized shrub with light green, narrow leaves. This shrub grows cream bottle brush flowers in summer.
- Sweet Bursaria: A small to medium sized straight-standing shrub with small green leaves. This shrub grows tiny, sweetly-scented white flowers in summer.
These resources have designs, tips, and detailed species information for growing indigenous plants.
- Gardening with Indigenous Plants booklet (PDF 973Kb)
- Sustainable Gardening in Merri-bek booklet (PDF 3Mb)
The Sustainable Gardening Australia website has fact sheets and information on sustainable and produce gardening. Their site also has a forum for gardeners to discuss their garden.