Last month we featured some of the fantastic environmental sustainability initiatives taking place around Sydney and this month we’re putting the spotlight on our neighbours (and rivals!) in the city of Melbourne.   From the banks of the beautiful Yarra to its beaches, parks and treelined streets, Melbourne is a beautiful city with many projects taking place to protect its unique urban and natural environment.

Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies - CERES

The North Melbourne City of Darebin Government area is home to one of Melbourne’s oldest and best-known sustainability organisations called CERES - the Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies.  Established in 1982, this not-for-profit sustainability centre is located on 4.5 hectares on the Merri Creek in East Brunswick, Melbourne.  As well as educational workshops and agricultural projects, CERES operates a number of social community enterprises including a community kitchen, flea market, café and even venue hire for events. 

Since its establishment in 1982, the efforts of countless volunteers have transformed this once desolate site into a place of natural beauty that’s inhabited by a diverse community.  CERES now reaches out to 200,000 people in schools across metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria with their school education programs.  They inspire school communities to minimise waste and recycle, save energy and water, promote biodiversity and take action on climate change. 

Other initiatives of CERES include an urban orchard food swap, produce market, nursery, and a bulk unpackaged food store.

This is a truly inspirational and successful concept that is educating communities to help care for our beautiful environment.  To find out more about CERES and how you can learn there, click here.

Melbourne Community Gardens

Melbourne has countless community garden initiatives that you can get involved with and know that you are contributing to the wider sustainable and responsible living.  Here are a few great examples to inspire your own journey.

Veg Out Community Garden – St Kilda

This is an organic, chemical free community garden that is run by volunteers and situated on a former bowling green site.  Unlike other community gardens, Veg Out has no rigid or formal barriers between the 140 plots which promotes a greater sense of community and sharing.  Flowers, vegetables and even artworks adorn this informal garden.  Veg Out is a space where members, family and friends can all enjoy getting their hands into the soil, regardless of their gardening experience.

To get involved you can become a ‘friend’ of the garden or volunteer for their working bees which is held on the first Sunday of each month.  To find out more visit their website 

Fitzroy Community Garden (Atherton Garden Estate)

Opened in the late 1980’s, this garden was developed around an established seating area and has since grown considerably over the years.  Utilising every inch of land and showcasing culturally diverse plots, this garden is an impressive example of community agriculture. Garden members from many cultural backgrounds including Southeast Asia, Africa and the Middle East come together to grow and share plants.  Now including an indoor kitchen, pizza oven and shelter, the Fitzroy Community Garden is also home to large community gatherings.  Visit Cultivating Community to find out more about this and other community garden initiatives.

Rushall Garden – North Fitzroy

Rushall Garden is an initiative of the North Fitzroy Community Gardens Group (NFCGG), and is located in the Thomas Kidney Reserve in North Fitzroy.  The gardens aim to enhance community sustainability through planting, cultivating and composting as well as fostering organic gardening techniques.  To find out more about the Rushall Community Garden, click here.  

Citizen Forester Program

Melbourne’s Citizen Forester Program is all about creating a greener Melbourne.  The initiative began in 2011 and its focus is on collating and analysing scientific data about Melbourne’s unique urban forest environment.  Volunteers can get involved in many great initiatives including mapping habitat trees, studying pollination and collecting data about the many native animals who live and forage in Melbourne’s parks.  Since it started in 2011, the program has engaged the local community and volunteers to participate in meaningful and rewarding environmental projects.  To find out more about the program, click here.

It’s great to see so many initiatives taking place around Melbourne to help contribute to a healthier and happier community environment and transform our cities into leafier, greener spaces.  Stay tuned next month to find out more about the environmental initiatives taking place in the next Australian city we feature.

Main image courtesy of City of Melbourne