On the Verge

tumblr_nr3g8bgw3j1u2mnj6o1_1280

We’re on the verge of something new, the point of no return. Environmentally, socially, economically, spiritually, we are currently living through an important decision making time. Some of these are decisions not entirely in our control, such as integrating cleaner energy use or enabling stronger industries within the country. Most decisions need to come from a higher, structural level, before trickling down to us commoners. However, I find myself asking when was the last time a government instigated positive social change? Sure, we march and protest against the government and through that social change can occur, but when was the last time those in power created that change for us?
Yes, our government should be responsible for us and make decisions to benefit the majority of Australians, but we can often forget that we are the majority, we hold the power so long as we collectively use it.

If I were to sit down and write a list of things I would like to change for myself and others in Nambour it wouldn’t be long, but it would comprise of basic things: access to fresh food, free healthcare, a connection to the land and local community, a holistic approach to education that incorporates ‘real world’ life skills and for money to not be a source of distress and tension. I did write a list along those lines the other week as I wanted to see the source of all things good, the starting point towards a simple, happy and healthy life. The root of this was something I had already known, but for some reason or another needed to see written on a page with a bunch of arrows pointing towards it: access to fresh, healthy food – specifically fruit and vegetables sourced locally and ethically. The logic behind this is that if one has access to food that is not only healthy, but doesn’t put them out of pocket, health will be less of an issue. If health (and by this I mean general health and wellbeing) is less of an issue, then technically one should be more physically and mentally able to connect with others in the community. That’s what I reckon, anyway.

So, fresh fruit and veg is a costly affair even when shopping at discounted stores that truck produce from around the country and world. If we buy lettuce for a few dollars, how much does the person who was charged with planting, caring and harvesting paid? How many heads of lettuce would one have to grow and harvest to cover the cost of the business, and how many more heads would they need to pay their mortgage and put food on their own table?
What if we reached peak oil tomorrow and could no longer bring in produce from out of state and country? Local produce prices would rightfully skyrocket, and perhaps our local farmers would finally earn a suitable wage. But then what happens to those who are on a fixed income of $400 a fortnight?
What I’m getting at is that we need better access to affordable (or next to free) food if we wish to progress as a society and – to bring it back to Nambour – a local community.

Verge gardens have been slowly but surely popping up around the country, some are to show how urban planning can take into account gardening and food scarcity, others are for the benefit of the local neighbourhood. Verges, despite belonging to the state and residing outside a private residence, are a communal space that people regularly walk over, children play games on and cars are left for weeks on end. Ultimately, the good old Australian verge is the perfect setting for a community garden.

On the Verge is a Nambour (and beyond) project that aims to have a communal vegetable garden on every block, for the benefit of all. For the team at OtV it’s far more than just gardening, it’s about creating stronger community ties and ensuring we have the skills to deal with anything life throws at us. Being able to identify food in the wild, what herb is used for healing cuts and abrasions, what plant is good to ward off mosquitos is all a part of the verge process.
It may sound very utopian, which of course it is a little, but what we have set out to do is achievable. It’s more a concept than a garden, something philosophical that serves a greater purpose. The beauty of On the Verge is that although we have grandiose dreams of a vibrant tight knit community, at the end of the day we are growing fruit and vegetables on a verge for all to enjoy. Through food comes life, and through life comes everything else.

To get on board with On the Verge please like our page on Facebook.