Pockets of joy

It was such a treat to see both familiar and new friendly faces at our June meet-ups! It had been a while since we last got to see our neighbours. So, the pure joy and lively conversations that were happening while gardening (keeping a respectable distance from one another, of course) was refreshing for everyone. We focused on garden maintenance, while we admired how well-maintained it has been during the restriction period, all thanks to two of our most passionate gardening volunteers in the group, Faye and Huguette. Due to their tireless work and their genuine enjoyment for gardening, all Southbankers could walk by and enjoy a beautiful pocket of green in our very concrete-heavy neighbourhood, and even pick some fresh organic vegies for a salad or dinner on their way home. We saw families spending time at the garden, showing their children how food and plants grow, young couples taking joy in harvesting food for their shared meal, and people of all different ages and ethnicities picking a variety of flavourful herbs. We even got an email from a couple who recently moved here, telling us how the community garden played a significant role in their decision to move to Southbank! How wonderful is that. It makes all our volunteers’ work feel even more worthwhile, when we get to hear and see how people are enjoying it beyond our expectations, how it brings a smile and a bit of joy in their day. While making it easier to live more sustainably by having locally grown food with a low footprint right at their doorstep. While our next two meet-ups are set for Saturdays July 11 and 25, 10am at Boyd as usual, they are tentative at the moment, while we keep an eye on how the second COVID-19 wave moves. We will still restrict the number of participants to 15, if not less, and we will require everyone to register their seat through Eventbrite so that we keep track of numbers. We recommend watching our Facebook page or emailing us to confirm that the meet-ups are going ahead as scheduled and to get the registration link. Both meetings will focus on gardening and tending to our new little guest worms … Yes, you read it right. We have our own two Hungry Bin worm farms, with thousands of worms to care for over the next month! The two bins are on loan from the City of Melbourne to help keep them healthy while council staff work from home. We were excited to welcome these worms and get our members more comfortable with composting in general and in how to interact with composting worms. This will be very useful for when the community composting hub we are working on delivering is up and running. These worms are only accessible to our members, to make sure they are fed correctly. If you’re interested in getting involved, we encourage you to join the group. It’s free and we only ask for an interest in sustainability and in meeting more people in your community. During July we’ll continue to work on delivering the education days we can move online, while leaving the ones that require physical participation for later in the year. As a reminder, these six education days are part of the Connected Community council grant we received. They’re all themed around sustainability solutions across different areas (e.g. “Conscious Consumerism and Fast Fashion”, “Apartment Gardening 101”, etc.). Watch our Facebook page or join the group for more details. Last but not least, we were very honoured to be nominated for the 2020 Sustainable Cities Awards! These awards are state-wide, organised by Keep Victoria Beautiful in partnership with the state government. Their aim is to recognise and celebrate positive actions taken by communities in urban areas to protect and enhance their local environments. Communities that work hard to make Victoria special, sustainable and liveable. Considering how much phenomenal work is done by so many awe-inspiring organisations and communities across the state, this is a huge honour for our group to even be considered, let alone nominated for these awards! The judging phase is starting soon and we should know if we are a finalist in the environment category in early October. We would love to bring a second prestigious award to our beloved Southbank. So, wish us luck!!! About the group: A solutions-focused group of Southbank residents working to bring positive change in sustainability practices and education to our neighbourhood, while building a wonderful community of like-minded people. 2019 Environment Melbourne Award winner •

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