A whole street of Verge Gardens!

Wilga Avenue in Sydney has moved their community out of their backyards and into their front yards. Squished between a busy road and a train line, it wouldn’t look very illustrious on a map, but once I got there I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face… a whole street of edible verge gardens! Yay!

And even better, it was a lived-in space. Outside one home, in the middle of a verdant verge garden, was a small wooden picnic table where a bunch of kids were busy having morning tea. Across the road, two guys were shoveling mulch from the back of a ute. This is city living done right…

Happily one of the folks out on the street that morning was Greg, one of the instigators of this Verge gardening project. He helpfully explained to me how many of the houses had re-routed their front downpipes to water their verge gardens, and how they took it one verge at a time.

It seems that the residents of Wilga Avenue chose the time-honored guerrilla gardening technique of asking for forgiveness rather than permission from their local council. Since they did such a great job, the council got behind the project, and now actively promotes verge gardening where possible.

The residents of Wilga Avenue also entered and won a statewide competition called ‘Sustainability Drive’ run by an energy company, for which they made this fantastic video as their entry:

Being the winners of this competition enabled them to access free solar panels for each home in the street, which most (but strangely, not all) residents took up.

But back to the actual gardens – they were all shapes and sizes and loaded with various types of produce. There were even some forest garden guild plantings beneath fruit trees. It was 100% gorgeous, and clearly gave the streets community a  point of focus that everyone could be part of.

The implications of this sort of project are quite huge, when you think about it – residents talking to each other and sharing resources and knowledge, kids talking and working together on each others gardens… it’s the basics for functional community – the vegetable version of having your cake and eating it too.

Many thanks to Greg and Leonie for chatting to me, and to everyone at Wilga Avenue for creating such inspiration for the rest of us!

We’ll be heading back to Wilga Avenue as part of the site tours for our Urban Permaculture Design Certificate in July, for which there are but 3 places left!

>> more urban permaculture awesomeness that we’ve seen, helped with, and admired…

13 Comments

  1. Posted May 31, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Inspiring! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all our streets were like that. You are right about the implications of this sort of project beingh huge. Community building at its best!

  2. Sheri
    Posted May 31, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Wonderful to see this happening and the children are so beautiful! I know so many people are in neighborhoods that prohibit them from doing this, I live in one and I’m breaking all the rules and no one has called the yard police on me! It has been a long learning process and I think the neighbors are just as curious as I am as to what is going to happen next in my yard.

  3. Mona Casselman
    Posted May 31, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Permalink | Reply

    This was a delightful read and the kids on the video were a treat! Thanks so much for sharing it!

  4. 1043mabovethesea
    Posted May 31, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Bloody awesome!

  5. Posted May 31, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

    This is fantastic! Thank you for sharing it.

  6. Posted May 31, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Permalink | Reply

    had same on green verge but leading light used his influence to order it removed when i spoke on Radio about the continual crowing from large fowl yards near us going night and day and they were removed out of town

  7. Posted May 31, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I feel compelled to add that Origin Energy, the energy company that ran the ‘Sustainability Drive’ program, is also the same energy company whose fracking has been linked to some very scary recent developments in the Condamine River, right now: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Di8cCrlyW6k

    Fortunately, Wilga Avenue got their verge on well before this competition, so I’m happy (as I’m sure are the residents of Wilga Avenue) to separate this project from the greenwashing of Origin Energy.

    If you’re interested in more info about fracking and CSG, start at http://lockthegate.org.au

  8. Posted May 31, 2012 at 11:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Fantastic! I love the variety and so much productivity.

  9. Posted June 5, 2012 at 9:47 am | Permalink | Reply

    Awesome! I’m paying these guys a visit. x

  10. Posted June 25, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hats off to you guys, you did wonderful job, keep it up. I have a small garden and I will pickup any one idea from this to decor it.

    Regards,
    Brenda.

  11. Posted September 23, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Way to go Wilga Avenue, what wonderful place you have created to live in. It is an inspiration. Thank you.

  12. Posted November 8, 2012 at 7:26 am | Permalink | Reply

    Reblogged this on latebloomershow and commented:
    This story and video from Sydney, Australia, totally justifies all that I have been trying to do in my front yard: grow edibles, create community, and use water on growing food, not a lawn. I hope you will check out what a group of neighbors in Australia, the front line of climate change, is doing to improve their neighborhood and world. And the kids are adorable! Thanks for reading! – Kaye

7 Trackbacks

  1. [...] A whole street of Verge Gardens! [...]

  2. By Can’t Stop Laughing | permaculturepeople on June 1, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    [...] http://milkwood.net/2012/05/31/a-whole-street-of-verge-gardens/ Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. June 1, 2012 by permaculturepeople Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment [...]

  3. [...] on from a whole street of verge gardens is another verge garden in Sydney that is using verge plantings as a great way of cultivating [...]

  4. [...] I mentioned in A Whole Street of Verge Gardens (looking at the amazing Wilga Avenue over in Dulwich Hill), the concept of creating community out [...]

  5. [...] big and small have been founded and continue to grow. There also, as described by Kirsten at Milkwood, a street in Dulwich Hill has gotten together and done a lot to communally take over the verge for [...]

  6. By Green Grows The Street! | Directions on June 6, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    […] If you would like to read more about this project, there’s an article with more info and some photos here http://milkwood.net/2012/05/31/a-whole-street-of-verge-gardens/ […]

  7. […] leaky drain technique above has been employed extensively along the amazing Wilga Avenue verge gardens, with great results in community food […]

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