Australians have been blessed with an incredible history of suburban food production. Sometimes it feels like everywhere you look there are fruit trees and edible plants! Often it can feel like much of the best fruit is growing on someone else’s tree, in someone else’s yard … and worse still sometimes it feels like that fruit is often left to fall and rot, instead of picked, shared and enjoyed.
Well, with all of this in mind, and so much much more, Growing Abundance was established in 2010 as a bit of experiment to see what would happen if the fruit from backyards were picked, shared and enjoyed by the community. Inspired by the Abundance programs in the UK, Growing Abundance in Castlemaine applied for a grant to harvest 20 trees that first year. But of course, things don’t always go as planned. That year the drought also broke in central Victoria. People who never knew they had fruit trees, now had an abundance of fruit growing in their backyards. Lucy, the coordinator for Growing Abundance, still remembers the first phone call their received after sticking up posters all over town calling for fruit trees that need to harvested. The phone call was from someone with a small forgotten orchard, 40 trees needed to be harvested! And the program snow balled from there.
Although the harvests are still the cornerstone piece of the Growing Abundance project, the group also holds community preserving and jamming days, curated a local produce guide, more workshops than you can poke a stick at and a food for thought taking series. They have also set up a sister project called CAKE which runs a catering business, the school canteen and a weekly community lunch.
Pheww talk about quite the project. What I continually find inspiring about this project is that despite being largely run by volunteers and entirely depend on grants, it is a project dedicated to dreaming big for their community.
Despite all that is going on for Growing Abundance, this year will be their second year to support the Reclaim the Curb Competition. This year they will be offering a double pass to an upcoming workshop to the Victorian winners, plus donation of $400 that will be used as prize money.
Thankyou Growing Abundance, and Lucy for your continual support, I’m thrilled to have your support for another year!