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Monash Community Farm

Nearly two years have passed since the hardworking team of Monash Permaculture Gardeners oversaw the establishment of a new permaculture site, of farm-sized proportions, at the rear of 700 Blackburn Road. Run in the spirit of community gardens, the farm is shared with the Notting Hill Community Association, providing a facility for Monash staff and students to learn and share skills in a special type of ecological gardening, known as permaculture , practise gardening as a pastime, or benefit from the ample produce generated by the farm. (For more information on the Australian invention of permaculture, visit: http://holmgren.com.au/ about-permaculture/).

The value of Monash University Community farm far surpasses that of a traditional community garden. With the strain of a growing population on land and food resources becoming more apparent, small-scale urban-farming is one of numerous options for decreasing this strain. Inner-city farming cuts out the resource-intensive demand that transportation from rural farms requires, and also brings consumers and producers together in the sale of locally produced food. Furthermore, small-holder farms can be more productive due to the ease of maintaining a smaller farm. Gardens upheld in accordance with the principals of permaculture – which is to say, adhering to seasonality, abstaining from the use of pesticides and recycling waste products on site- also benefit from long-term sustainability and higher productiveness in the long-term.

In keeping with its use as a learning platform, the Monash University Community farm is also giving staff and students an opportunity to conduct research and assignments. Teaming up with the Monash University Environmental Engineering Society, and any interested individuals, the next major project for the farm will be the construction of a recycled-bottle greenhouse.

With the land that has been allocated, the Monash University Community Farm has the potential to become the largest urban farm in Melbourne. With the collaboration of interested students, this achievement can become a reality.

Anyone interested in sharing the benefits of the farm are welcome to attend weekly working-bees at 3:30pm on Wednesdays. Every few weeks at this time, a trained permaculture specialist delivers exclusive workshops in different aspects of sustainable farming; with regular MUCsterchef cook-ups on Wednesday evenings following the gardening sessions. On Friday’s at 11am, friends of MUCfarm will also be welcomed to Wholefoods to attend survivalism workshops

So come and join us on Wednesdays, or for a teaser at the Monash Permaculture Garden (located outside the campus centre) at 2pm on Mondays.

For more information on the Monash University Community farm, or to find out how you can stake out a plot for your own group of gardeners, visit us on Facebook (search for ‘MUCfarm’ under groups), send the MUCfarm team an email (we.eat.monash@gmail.com) or visit the MUCfarm website: http://eatmonash.org.au/

Laura Aston

The author Laura Aston

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