First published on 20 Dec 2010. Updated on 20 Apr 2011.
"Fifty years ago," says sustainable living coach Michael Mobbs, "Australians grew half their food." In Chippendale, Mobbs and his neighbours have planted streets full of fruit and veggies, available to anyone who wants to eat it for free. Yes, you read that right. Fat raspberries grow off brackets just off the footpath and zucchini flowers, strawberries and mint all coexist in a patch by the side of the road. In his own backyard, meanwhile, Mobbs, who has been living sustainably for the past 15 years, has vertical gardens and chooks. He also keeps stingless native bees that feed on the two thousand fruit trees planted in both his backyard and in the local area. And you can do it too, even if you've got black thumbs ("a dead plant is a beaut plant - you can use it to make compost," Mobbs laughs). His regular gardening workshops at CarriageWorks teach Sydneysiders to start their own gardens from scratch. He also gardens with his neighbours for a few hours every Friday arvo. Mobbs' advice to getting started? "Garden in front of your house, and some of your neighbours will copy you, and others will understand what happens when you do it. You'll strike up conversations you never expected and you'll grow confidence in your own heart." And you'll save money on produce into the bargain.
Like this? Try these:
The Kitchen Garden Foundation
Take it out of your own backyard and into the wider community by getting involved in a Stephanie Alexander kitchen garden. Bondi Public, Vaucluse Public and Halinda School for Specific Purposes are all involve and all need volunteers to get their hands dirty.
Australian City Farms and Community Gardens Network
Want to join a community garden but don't know where to start? Log onto this handy website, which lists every community garden in Sydney and read regular blog posts on everything from keeping and killing chooks to what to plant when.
Carriageworks Kitchen Garden Project
Learn how to grow your own fruit and veggies, save money and have fun at the same time. Stage three dates are yet to be announced. 245 Wilson St, Eveleigh 2015.
Do it yourself and save!