As some of you know I work at a school for disengaged teens in Logan. I am quite active in more than the school because the issue at hand is really poverty and that needs to be 'solved' in a community approach rather than a school based one.
In my travels I have bumped into a group that is young and wanting to promote community gardens. CG's in the broad perspective as in more than growing vegies, a meeting place, better health, breaking isolation, solving fights and much more. The Logan council does not have a policy, has no gardens and is most concerned about the potential vandalism that may occur.
This group has been asked to come forward with a comparing of various gardens and policy models in the hope that there are a few that would suit Logan and convince councillors. Although an Internet search delivers much, if any of you have any pointed examples on these issues: please contact me.
This morning I visited one of the most deprived streets in Marsden. A fellow named Warren has started a community garden in his backyard. He has absolutely no money at all and is doing it as therapy to get over his grief (lost twin daughters). You should see it: it is very well thought through, all materials obviously scrounged from everywhere, beds are flourishing and he is literally concerned how to afford the next seed packet. 7 others in the street have joined in, some in their own yards, others with labour or rocks, and one other has chickens and is helping that way.
If this isn't grass roots, what is? He actually doesn't know that much about policies etc but he grows good crops which he gives away. Charity doesn't work in this: empowering him with knowledge and seeds would. I gave him some lettuces that were not working where I had planted them, see if he can restore them. I'll share seeds with him etc, but I am actually not really a gardener: what else will he need that can be scrounged?
And by the way, the fighting in the street has greatly diminished and some kids have tasted their first strawberries: never had them before. If you have $ 100 pw to feed your kids, you don't buy strawberries ever. 10% of Australia lives under the poverty line: Woodridge, Kingston and Marsden have a lot of single parents who were better of but have had to make do. Whenever I am amongst middle class, I wonder about what we take for granted. We always have spare change. We always have a full enough fridge. If we don't do charity, It is much better for people's resilience if they solve thing under their own steam: but still how can we help?
This area is going to be very hard hit when the 'shit storm' hits. The group I am a part of is trying to create robustness. If you have any ideas on what that is, please tell me, I only know bits.