Teaching our youngest Southbankers about sustainability


By Maria Tarrant & Sarah Horner

The community gardens at the Boyd Community Hub attract quite a few children each day as they walk to school or are on their way to play in the park behind the Boyd Community Hub.

As we are caring for the vegetable and herbs in the garden beds, we often get a number of questions from the children wanting to know what is going on.

Many are surprised when we explain we are growing food and that they are welcome to come and harvest with their parents when the plants are ready. More than once a child has expressed delight when they are offered a freshly growing strawberry to eat. They have been confused as they thought strawberries came from the local shop.

It is not surprising that children in Southbank have a limited appreciation of where their food comes from. After all, we are quite a distance from farms and orchards and many of us are in high-rise buildings without gardens.



Some of the local early learning centres and schools have programs and activities in place where students learn about planting and growing food and flowers.

Recently, volunteers from Southbank Sustainability Group (SSG) worked with the three-year-old kindergarten children and their teachers at OAC South Melbourne to turn over and replenish their old vegetable garden beds.

The volunteers, children, and educators worked together to layer the garden beds with shredded paper, compost, worm castings from the SSG worm farms, straw, and coffee grounds from local café Trillium South Melbourne.

While they worked together, the children learned all about soil and its components as well as developing sustainable perspectives on waste management. You are never too young to learn about sustainable practices. The children are now letting the beds rest for winter and are very excited to plant a new crop in early spring.

We are excited to announce a series of events are planned for the rest of the year. The first event is a workshop about propagating and caring for your indoor plants. It will be held at the Boyd Community Hub on Saturday, June 17.

Future events include a workshop on zero waste living in July; planting for small spaces such as balconies in August; and sustainable clothing in October. Details will be included on our Facebook page closer to the date for each event.

The community garden continues to benefit from the efforts of many locals, and it has been great to meet new Southbank residents at the garden over the past month.

Anyone is welcome to drop by and join in the discussions and gardening. We have fortnightly Saturday meetups at 10.00am in the garden. Dates for June are the 10th and 24th.



About the group

SSG is a solutions-focussed community group of Southbank residents working to bring positive change in sustainability practices. Reach us at [email protected] or

If you are interested in getting involved with Southbank Sustainability Group, send us an email, or come to one of the upcoming meet ups. •

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