The core team
President — Emily Gray
Emily is based in Darwin and has lived and worked in suburban and remote NT communities over the past ten years. She has the pleasure of working as an school garden educator, artist and community gardener. Over the past 5 years Emily has helped establish several community gardens and the delivered workshops centred around permaculture, tropical food gardening and cooking.
She also helps coordinate the Darwin Garden Education Network, an informal, local network of organisations and individuals working to support and advocate for the development of environmental and sustainability education in the Darwin Region.
She has recently become an ambassador of the newly established charity, Food Swell. Emily loves experimenting with local food in the kitchen and gardening with her chickens (when Emily grows up, she wants to have a pet goat and several ducks).
Vice President — Jane Mowbray
Jane Mowbray has been a community gardener at Glovers Garden and a seed saver for about 15 years.
She worked in state education for 32 years teaching primary students, writing curricuum material and being a maths consultant. Now gloriously retired Jane enjoys part time work in sustainability education, gardening and leading seed saving workshops.
She is a member of the Inner West Seed Savers and helps to maintain their seed library at the Bower In Marrickville. Jane has been on the executive of ACFCGN since our Melbourne conference in 2007.
Secretary — John McBain
John has experimented with methods of producing food from urban waste for over a decade, and in 2013 incorporated the urban food project Sustainable Urban Nutrition (SUN).
He is admin for the WA Community Gardens FaceBook page.
Treasurer — John Brisbin
He was befriended by Jude and Michel Fanton in 1997 and became enchanted with Australia’s blossoming community food systems. Determined to contribute, he founded Australian Community Foods in 1998 and met Russ and Fiona along the way.
In 2002 he earned a Masters in Social Ecology for his research into local food systems and an entropy-grounded theory of ethics, and became more involved with ACFCGN in 2007.
Currently John and wife Caroline are opening up the heavy shale/clay soils and fascinating district of Mount Molloy with an eye toward patterning a tropical pharmacy community garden.
Media Officer — Russ Grayson
NSPIRED by the idea that we can make our cities places of opportunity, my interests are in developing a resilient urbanism to which end I work with communities on initiatives that make our neighbourhoods safe, sustainable and convivial places to live. My focus has been on community food systems and the social capital that develops when communities collaborate in creating them, but it extends beyond this. My approach is guided by the philosophy of: work with those who want to learn; work where it counts. I:
- was a founding member of the Australian City Farms & Community Gardens Network
- have consulted to local government on community food systems and community garden policy and development
- have been an active member of the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance and Sydney Food Fairness Alliance
Currently — thanks to a background in journalism — I am media liaison for the Australian City Farms & Community Gardens Network.
ORDINARY MEMBERS — state representatives
I grew up in the 1950s on a second floor flat in Sydney and had little contact with the soil. Like so many urbanites I had only a small idea of where food came from; I did at least learn that milk came from the Rotolactor at Camden, although how it got to me after that remained a mystery. I spent most of my adult life enjoying gardens only as a backdrop to other activities, and it was not until comparatively recently that gardening has become an attractive occupation. My wife Cindy spent her formative years on a farm and knows far better than I how to manage a garden — but I am improving as time goes by.
For some years we had grown increasingly concerned about “industrial” agriculture and how it treats or mistreats its essential resources of soil, water, nutrients and genetic material. At the same time we were learning about peak oil and peak soil, and were convinced that we needed to do something about it all. We joined the Canberra Organic Growers Society (COGS) a few years ago, partly to learn more about organic gardening, partly to expand our social circle. I became the Society’s President in 2012 — not bad for a beginner!
Cindy and I are both retired, although we’ve learnt that the main difference between employment and retirement is that now we’re not paid directly for the work we do. We hope to remain involved in urban organic agriculture for years to come. It does us — and the city — a power of good.
Emma is a horticulturist and landscaped designer, an early member of the Randwick Community Organic Garden and one of the team that restarted the garden on its present site.
Emma mentors community gardeners at the Waverley and Rose Bay Community Gardens in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs; leads PermaBees at the Randwick’s Permaculture Interpretive Garden. She also works on Marrickville Council’s compost program.
Ling is a facilitator to motivate and inspire people to take responsibility and custodianship to look after their own health, their own happiness and their own well being.
This is the path to co-create a happy and healthy planet.
I’m an accountant who keeps chickens. The liking for these friendly, feathered animals comes from having a keen interest in food, both how to produce it and how to distribute it. Community gardens are one way to do this, and linking community gardeners so that we can learn from and help each other is a good idea, I think. As for the food distribution side of things, that led me to become a co-founder of the University of Sydney Community Garden and treasurer of the University’s Food Co-op.
Costa Georgiadis is a landscape architect who has an all-consuming passion for plants and people – he knows how to bring out the best in both of them, and takes great pleasure in bringing them together.
Costa believes in embracing and celebrating mother nature’s cycles and seasons and nurturing her balance, beauty and bounty organically. His holistic approach is all about gardening the soil and the soul.
Lachlan McKenzie has worked in permaculture and organic gardening for 20 years and has been involved in setting up and growing Lakeside Drive Community Garden in Darwin’s northern suburbs for the past 5 years.
Through this he has run many opens days, taught organic gardening and permaculture courses and worked in various school gardens. He currently co-coordinates the Darwin Garden Education Network (DGEN) which connects, advises and supports school and community gardens across Darwin and greater Darwin area.
He is also on the advisory panel for the Remote Indigenous Gardens (RIG) Network which works to promote, connect and improve productive gardens from Northern Qld, remote NT and northern WA.
Kristy is has been involved in and passionate about the food movement for several years. She was heavily involved in the Ecobug Food Co-op at the University of Queensland, has catered for environmental conferences of between 100 – 500 people and has since been a key part in setting up new food clubs to help more people access healthy local food in bulk buying groups across SEQ.
Currently Kristy is the Education Co-ordinator at Northey Street City Farm, involved in Fair Food Brisbane and gets her weekly food and fun times at the Chewsday Collective food group.
Leonie has over 20 years experience in gardening, horticulture, organics and permaculture design. She is the founder of the Edible School Gardens program the program was set up in 20+ schools on the Sunshine Coast. Also an author of Eat Your Garden Organic Gardening for Home & Schools and presenter of DVD Edible School Gardens.
Leonie has been nvolved with several Community gardens and has been involved in setting up Edible Gardens programs in Social Housing, and Mental Health Residential Housing (Qld). She is also a member of HMAQ Horticulture Media Association of Qld.
Many issues made Cecile passionate about community gardens such as Peak Oil and its implications for food security; health issues related to GM, Nano particles and pesticides and food security and the need for a sense of community to deal with coming crises.
Cecile is a founding member of Beyond Oil South Australia (BOSA) which works to raise consciousness about the effects of Peak Oil. She is a committee member of the Organic and BioDynamic Alliance (OBDA) which works to promote organic and biodynamic food production and organises events to bring consumers and farmers together by farm visits. And, she is also a member of the Fern Avenue Community Garden.
Jenny Deans is a member of the Old School Community Garden at Stirling in the Adelaide Hills. She has had a great time helping her local primary school revitalise its grounds and gardens including undertaking bushcare, revegetation, constructing raised vegetable beds and compost bays, and running garden sessions to get the early learning students to plant and eat vegetables.
Jenny has been Garden Coordinator at the therapeutic Duck Flat Community Garden at Mt Barker in the summer and autumn of 2014, she says ‘It’s been a great privilege to discover more about this amazing garden, its fabulous committed volunteers and how community gardens can change lives’.
Steven is active in local food production with his own food-gardening business — www.earthright.com.au — and through the co-operatively run Wagtail urban farm. He also facilitates an Adelaide based growers network called ‘The Local Growers Collective’.
His passion’s include all things bush tucker, soil/plant/human health and nutrition, community networking and chipping away at the coal-face of the currently skewed food system. When not preoccupied with all of this, Steven can most often be found foraging in the wilds for his dinner.
Kate is passionate about growing food and cooking it. Her garden is now mostly self-sown and she enjoys helping people reduce the stresses of having the immaculate food garden by encouraging them to follow her easy care methods. Community gardens have as many layers as an onion! The benefits to individuals of participating range from learning to grow food and joining with others to create delicious meals to finding a peaceful space to clear your mind and gain self confidence to take into the rest of your life.
- Kate is a board member of Kitchen Gardeners International
- has a small business called The Garden Shed and Pantry and runs sourdough, fermenting and sprouting workshops
- is a member of the Cygnet Community Garden
- is the founder of SeedSaveUs now called Cygnet Kitchen Gardeners
- Kate writes a monthly food gardeners page in The Classifieds paper.
Nel believes every child should experience the magic of growing, harvesting and then eating food from the garden. Nel works for Greening Australia at the Sustainability Learning Centre in Hobart. She works with teachers supporting food gardens in schools and early learning centres.
- committee member, Taroona Neighbourhood Garden
- established the Food Alliance of Tasmania which has been active in food security issues
- coordinated Eat Well Grow Well in Tasmania, convened State Growing Communities Conference in 2010 and developed a data base of over 100 school and community gardens around Tasmania.
- part of dream team for Food 4 Thought, National Conference, 2014.
Peta Christensen has worked with Cultivating Community, an urban agriculture and community food systems agency working across Melbourne, since 2000. Peta has worked on a multitude of projects in that time including school gardens, community gardens, community markets, food policy development, food waste avoidance and other community food projects. In the early 2000s Peta was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to explore urban agriculture and food security projects in Brazil, Canada, USA, Cuba and Denmark.
Peta has been on the executive of ACFCGN since 2013.