Australia’s ABC Rural reports on Queensland’s urban food gardens
Interview with participants
By Bel Tromp
10 August 2012
Charles Hamilton, co-manager of the Gold Coast Permaculture Urban Farm and Community Garden; Dan Smith, one of the workers at the Gold Coast Permaculture Project; Kristine Marshall, Coordinator Design Services, Economic Development and Major Projects, Gold Coast City Council.
The Gold Coast Permaculture Project sits on a large suburban block, alongside the car dealerships and fast food outlets in the commercial heart of Southport.
It’s turning large volumes of waste matter from local businesses into high-grade organic compost, and growing vegetables to sell to locals.
It’s a not-for-profit, independent project that’s attracting attention from the Gold Coast City Council, as it considers whether to support more diversity in local food supply.
About 270 (Urban Farm) Gold Coast
Our home base is at 270 Ferry Road Southport, which we refer to warmly as ‘270’. 270 is a ¾ acre urban block in the heart of Southport, a major commercial area on the Gold Coast. It is a lush community garden which demonstrates regenerative urban agriculture, bio intensive gardening and bulk waste recycling and is a great space for our community events, workshops and training.
We are working at 270 with a number of local state and federal government agencies as well as many local community groups. In October 2011 we completed a number of community garden beds and now have the only privately funded community garden on the Gold Coast. The official opening took place in February 2012 with Cr. Susie Douglas opening the site and we now have over 20 happy community gardeners regularly taking home healthy fresh nutrient dense produce.
We have established a number of micro enterprises including honey production, vegetable production, plant and seedling sales, gardening products and education. Our honey production is currently being expanded.
One of the really exciting things about the garden is that it has provided a use for waste that was previously taken to landfill by the Gold Coast City Council. There is now around 150-200m2 of aquatic weed and wood chip currently diverted to 270 each year and this is used to make garden beds and compost. In the future, with the approval of the Council, we hope to expand this recycling enterprise so as to be able to compost all of the aquatic weed now being sent to landfill. This will save ratepayers around $40,000.00 in State Government waste levies as well as reduce transportation and other costs to the Council.