Cultivating Community

Cultivating Community has been a member with Sustain since 2018.

They celebrated their 20th anniversary of operation in 2018, a long history of bringing communities, gardening, farming and food to the people of Melbourne.

Their areas of focus include food systems advocacy and support, public housing community gardens, urban agriculture, community food projects, school food gardens, food waste management and environmental education.

There is a shared vision with Sustain of a fair food system which supports the health and diversity of our communities and our environment.

The Cultivating Community’s mission is:

To work with diverse and low-income communities to create fair, secure and resilient food systems by improving access to healthy, affordable, culturally appropriate food.

Major achievements for the organisation in 2018 included:
Continued to strengthen their relationship with the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services in the delivery of the Public Housing Community Garden program, now in its 16th year. Their team of six staff, supported almost 800 individuals and families to grow their own food as well as keeping the gardens safe & in good condition. Cultivating Community provided submissions to each renewal proposal as well as presenting at the public hearing for the Flemington Estate. They also provided criteria and guidelines to be considered for community gardens on the redeveloped estates that were included in the tender documents for potential developers.

School Food Garden Project
Garden Educators worked to grow the minds of almost 1,500 students across the seven schools who partnered with them during 2017/18. With ongoing funds from the LMCF Thrive grant they continued work on reviewing the long term sustainability of School Food Garden program and commenced the planning to offer more cost effective and flexible program for schools.

Food Systems and partnerships
The Fitzroy Community Food Centre continues to thrive with over 2000 community meals shared. This year they commenced working with a wonderful local bread baking enthusiast to run regular sourdough making sessions using the wood fire oven located in the community garden. The weekly After School Cooking program remains popular with kids on the Atherton Housing Estate. They also continued to work with staff at Co Health and the Fitzroy Learning Network to hold a weekly communal lunch supported with funds from a City of Yarra grant.

 

“I like cooking and coming to lunch – it makes me feel good and also I feel more confident. I like the recipes and people” -Vlad, Fitzroy – Fitzroy Meet and Eat community Lunch

 

Looking ahead, Cultivating Community have put into action a three year strategic plan that focuses on integrating their programs and building on their strengths to better support the work they do in creating an equitable food system.

We are looking forward to working with Cultivating Community in 2019 and supporting the work they do in building a resilient and fairer food system for all Australians.

Read more about their productive year here in their annual report.