Autumn highlights Southbank’s community and nature


Rahul Sujan & Seema Misra Thakur

The Boyd Community Hub gardens have lit up with the warm golden glow of autumn and early winter, a heart-warming sight to capture.

Passers-by have been left awestruck by the beauty of nature at the busy City Rd and Kings Way junction. Our Southbank Sustainability Group (SSG) volunteers have worked hard to keep the garden beds free of fallen leaves.

Keeping the arrival of winter in mind, our volunteers planted winter-specific vegetables and flowering plants. In the first fortnight of May, garden beds were prepared with edible winter vegetables such as spinach, kale, peas, silver beet, and broad beans, which are growing well.

We also took requests for new herbs to make them more accessible to the community. For example, mint was moved to a bed in an open space.

We are happy to accommodate your requests and grow these seasonal herbs for you. Please note that with weather changes and growing conditions, these herbs may be in short supply.

A Young Joeys Scouts Group recently reached out to SSG for some of our discarded flower petals to paint scarves for their mums on Mother’s Day. It was great to hear this activity was a success, making some mums proud to receive such beautiful handmade scarves. The Young Joeys learnt about recycling, sustainability, and natural dye usage in this one activity.

At SSG, community connection and reaching out to Southbankers has always been joyful. It is our joy when you walk up to us on a Saturday morning and say hello. Just as our plants grow and flourish, at every fortnightly gardening session, we have a few new members join in and express interest in being part of the SSG community.

There is always plenty to do beyond helping at the fortnightly Saturday gardening sessions; help is often needed on weekdays too. The watering roster always has places for volunteers: we welcome new volunteers for this activity, and senior members will provide training and help to get you started.

The events team has been busy in May with two major activities hosted by SSG. First, SSG participated in the successful inaugural Festival @ Boyd, where volunteers led a “traffic signal” rock painting event for kids and parents.

These rocks (red, yellow, green) indicate the readiness of our garden produce. This activity helped young community members learn about garden critters, pollinators, and connect to the environment. Our senior volunteers, Faye, Cheryl, and Lynn guided the young participants in painting and expressing their creativity on stones. Look out for these new “traffic signal” rock art creations in our garden beds.

SSG members also supported the Active Southbank Community Association (ASCA) broadly throughout the Festival @ Boyd, highlighting the importance of inter-organisational collaboration in the City of Melbourne.

As we move into the final few days of autumn, we hosted a workshop on Food Sustainability and Food Insecurity.

Presenters included Bonnie, a public health nutritionist with a PhD in lifestyle management and behaviour change, and Adeline from Empower Australia, a food relief charity in Southbank.

Bonnie and Adeline discussed small, meaningful changes to improve health and reduce environmental impact. They shared practical tips on shopping, food preparation, and overall wellbeing. In the spirit of this event, here are some tips on eating well with sustainability in mind throughout the winter months:

  • Winter produce picks: choose local winter vegetables, squashes, leafy greens, and citrus fruits.
  • Hearty winter stews: Make soups and stews with local winter produce.
  • Local market love: Support local farmers and buy fresh, seasonal produce.
  • Waste-free winter: Plan meals, use leftovers, and minimise food waste.
  • Warm hydration: Drink water and local herbal teas for hydration.
  • Efficient cooking: Use slow cookers or pressure cookers for hearty meals.
  • Reusable storage: Store food in reusable containers to reduce plastic waste.
  • Winter composting: Compost kitchen scraps with an indoor bin or worm farm.

Upcoming events in June

Our next event will focus on the recycling and upcycling of clothes at Boyd Community Hub on June 22. Keep an eye on the Facebook page for further details on signing up to attend.

About the group

SSG is a solution-focused community group of Southbank residents, working to bring positive change in sustainability practices. •

For more information: [email protected]

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