Castlemaine in Central Victoria has a long history of permaculture and it’s no accident that Growing Abundance (GA) emerged here. GA is a great example of people in a country town combining to grow and share sustainable food. Each element of GA performs many important functions, and each function supports others. GA is part permaculture group, part Transition Town and part social enterprise.
Put another way, GA is more than the sum of its parts. When different projects combine in complementary ways special things happen: people rediscover an enthusiasm for their fruit trees, they meet their neighbours, they learn new skills, and tonnes of fruit that might otherwise go to waste gets harvested, eaten or preserved.
By 2009, after years of dry weather, our reservoirs were almost empty, and the bush fires of February 2009 had a major impact on the environment and communities. The fires, drought and the news of global warming were distressing and pointed to our fragile existence.
GA emerged after the fires, partly from a workshop on community gardening and partly from discussions about Transition Towns.