AN UNDERUTILISED BOWLING GREEN IS TRANSFORMED INTO A COMMUNITY MARKET-GARDEN AND URBAN FOOD SOURCE

Council: Moreland City Council

Now a welcoming community space, the project has achieved positive community connection and skill-sharing, and has directly contributed to boosting health through local food sources.

Goal: Revitalise an underutilised bowls green into a family-friendly market and garden where people can grow and share locally grown produce, interact with each other, attend workshops and learn about sustainable food growing.

When Kelly met Sally, an idea was sparked! The horticulturist and the community worker could see their local bowls club struggling to bring in new members. Meanwhile, their fast-growing northern suburb of Fawkner was transitioning from a predominantly industrial neighbourhood to a thriving and diverse community in desperate need of family-friendly space.

What if the community could revive the existing bowls club space to grow local produce and provide an opportunity for families to meet? Enabled by CoDesign Studio through Round 2 of The Neighbourhood Project, and with the bowls club in full support, a local working team of four was established.

"A great place for the community to get together. A place to dig, make compost, pick fresh veggies or just sit with the kids. A lovely spot." - Community Member

Fawkner Food Bowls was planned, workshopped, tested, and piloted; and today, it stands as a thriving market-garden and beloved local destination!

Now a welcoming community space, the project has achieved positive community connection and skill-sharing, and has directly contributed to boosting health through local food sources.

This project demonstrates how The Neighbourhood Project’s methodology can be applied to take a space with previously
zero public usability, and increase that use by 1500%. Quality of use was also enhanced, 86% of surveyed locals agreeing they are likely to spend more time at the site, with 100% feeling more involved in community.

The activation process of this project built a case for longer term financial investment, triggering capital works funding in excess of $44,000. As well as unlocking funds, the pilot prompted a council-level internal process review, which has initiated a more open pathway for community project approval in the future. What’s more, increased leadership confidence and placemaking skills were reported for both council and community members. The project enabled capacity-building so that government, community and industry will continue to engage people at the centre of process and place.

What started as two neighbours with one idea, has flourished into an incorporated community group of eight dedicated
committee members, holding established partnerships with Moreland Council Food Network, Merri Health, Fawkner Bowls Club, The Green Grocer, and a range of local businesses.

"I now have a better understanding of how to approach councils and that they are encouraging of these types of events occurring. [This project has] helped me understand how these kinds of things actually happen." - Project Participant


Key Stats

  • 100% of surveyed community members met someone new.
  • 1500% increase in space utilisation.
  • 93% increase in neighbourhood pride.
  • 100% of people surveyed feel more involved in their community since the project.
  • Council staff felt more equipped to support this type of project in the future.

The Neighbourhood Project was a four-year research project funded by The Myer Foundation with support partners Resilient Melbourne, Think Impact and the Municipal Association of Victoria.

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