Each month, Morgan Koegel and Merrin Layden, from 3000acres, highlight an issue that the local food movement should be thinking about.
Renters and food growing (February)
More and more Australians are renting, and renting for longer. As wages fail to keep up with rising house prices, many young Australians are finding themselves priced out of the market, and instead renting properties or joining share houses. What do these changes mean for food growing on private land? Through our search for gardens to join the current program of open gardens that we have been jointly organising with Open Gardens Victoria, we were excited to find renters growing substantial food on their properties despite the lack of security. The rental gardeners had a number of interesting strategies for making their garden productive despite the temporary setting:
- Alanjohn is growing in-ground at his house in Coburg and signed an memorandum of understanding with his landlord so that there wouldn’t be any issues with the changes when he vacates.
- Alex and Julia in Clifton Hill have opted to grow a lot of their food in straw bales so that there is less work to do to return the property to its original state.
- In order to add a beehive to her Northcote rental garden, Morgan bartered home-harvested honey with her landlord.
- While many renters were managing tightly pruned fruit or espaliered trees in pots, Greg in Fawkner focussed on sharing the future garden by planting straight into the ground.