Reclaiming the Urban Commons

Reclaiming the Urban Commons:

The Past, Present and Future of Food Growing in Australian Towns and Cities

Edited by Nick Rose and Andrea Gaynor

Published in October 2018 by UWA Publishing

Paperback  |  250 pages  |  ISBN: 9781760800147

When my copy of Reclaiming the Urban Commons arrived, I couldn’t wait to open the pages and read.  I was excited to explore the personal stories written by people I know – Kat Lavers and David Holmgren – but also keen to learn about the diverse approaches others are using to grow food.

This book tells stories of hope for a secure and resilient future, and I’d highly recommend you pull up a comfy chair and dive into the pages.

Sewn together like a patchwork quilt, these stories, these projects, these individuals and their common visions have been connected with the experience of the past, the reality of the present and most importantly the hope and vitality of a shared food secure future.  Travelling the country I get to see so many inspiring individuals shifting the status quo and growing change.  Reclaiming the Urban Commons brings many of these early adopters, the change makers, the resilient and the determined together in one place.  It is a must read for everyone who eats food.

Costa Georgiadis, Reclaiming the Urban Commons, 2018

The editors of this collection of stories, Nick Rose and Andrea Gaynor from the University of Western Australia, believe we’re in the midst of a fundamental shift in our relationships with our planet and each other.  We need to transition from the environmental devastation we’ve created and move to regeneration and approaches that are mutually beneficial.  Reclaiming the Urban Commons suggests that this change will begin with a deeper connection to the food we grow and eat.

The book is presented in 4 parts with several chapters in each section.  It reflects on the past and present of urban food growing in Australia, and considers the urgency of initiating transformative practices in urban agriculture.

Part 1Many Australians reflects on the diversity that exists in current practices of urban and peri-urban edible gardening and agriculture in a selection of locations in Melbourne and Victoria.

Part 2 – Permaculture, Sustainability and Resilient Urban Food Systems focuses on the important role that Permaculture plays in training and inspiring urban and peri-urban gardeners and farmers.  This includes chapters written by well-known Permaculturists:

    • Kat Lavers and Hannah Moloney
    • Graham and Annemarie Brookman
    • David Holmgren, and
    • Morag Gamble.

Part 3 – The New Face of Urban Agriculture in Australia includes stories that express the diversity of experimentation underway across the country.  These stories highlight the core characteristics of urban commoning:

    • sharing and collaboration
    • connection and interdependence
    • nurturing, care, respect and trust
    • celebration, joy, welcoming and hospitality
    • healing and overcoming
    • creativity, and
    • diversity.

Part 4 Multiple Pasts, Possible Futures? reflects on past and present ways to achieve food self-provisioning, and then concludes that using diverse approaches to urban agriculture is the means of achieving a sustainable and flourishing future for Australia.

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