The Australian City Farms and Community Gardens Network was set up in 1996. The Network was started by Dr Darren Phillips as an informal, Australia-wide network of people interested in community gardens, city farms, urban agriculture and community education centres. The network was originally an informal volunteer organisation with no officeholders but is now an incorporated association with a formally elected committee and state representatives.
While community gardening was common in the past during food shortages owing to war and depression, its resurgence in more recent times began with Melbourne’s Nunawading in 1977, followed some time later with community gardening at Callan Park in Rozelle, Sydney, in 1985.
As a result of his PhD research Dr Phillips found that many community-based garden projects throughout Australia had no form of communication or network to provide a support base to each other. The aims and objectives of the Network he subsequently founded include the following:
- to advocate on behalf of community gardeners and city farms
- to provide education and information on their website and social media
- to provide a mapping service to document community food systems around Australia
- to provide email discussion lists nationally and in some states
- to advise local government, institutions and communities interested in establishing community gardens
- to document the development of community gardening in Australia
- to be available to the media.
Among the initiatives of the Network is the publication of an “Edible Cities” map showing the location of community, school and footpath gardens, city farms, community-supported agriculture ventures, food co-operatives and other community food systems.