Cr Jan Barham and Jerry Coleby-Williams unveiled the Food Production on Public Land plaque outside the Council Chambers in Mullumbimby last Saturday.
Cr Jan Barham and Jerry Coleby-Williams unveiled the Food Production on Public Land plaque outside the Council Chambers in Mullumbimby last Saturday.

Garden paves way for food production

IT will be a garden heavy with the fruit of tamarillo, feijoa, paw paw, pomegranate, cumquat, fig, lemon and grape, but unlike most gardens it will be one available for all to wander around, to pick, eat and enjoy.

Last Saturday morning ABC TV’s Gardening Australia presenter Jerry Coleby-Williams came to Mullumbimby to launch the shire’s first Food Production on Public Land initiative in the garden surrounding the Byron Council chambers.

“You are almost the first in Australia to legitimise guerrilla gardening,” he told the enthusiastic crowd of locals and their children who had turned up for the honour of planting the fruit trees and herbs in the garden.

He praised Byron Shire Council for its forward thinking.

“It’s perfect timing,” he explained, “because cheap supermarket food, something that most of us adults have taken for granted, is going to go.

“We need to pass on our gardening skills to our children, who face a future where oil will not be cheap.”

Mr Coleby-Williams was delighted with the presence of so many children in Mullumbimby keen to participate in the digging and planting, noting that their presence pointed to a dramatic shift over the last few years.

“School food gardens have exploded,” he said, “and this is contributing to a new generation of gardeners.”

And when the trees outside the council chambers are bearing, people are welcome to pick the fruit for their own consumption – ‘as long as they respect the space’.

Meanwhile, there will be monthly working bees for the community to get involved in, to keep the project alive.

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