Power to the People – Pocket Gardens

BOOM! Things have changed.

The City of Bayswater earned some widespread praise for their verge policy released late last year, but I don’t think that compares with the policy passed last night.

I feel confident in claiming this as an Australian first. 

The City of Bayswater council have delivered an extremely simple method for our valued residents to plant edible food on public land – and I’m not referring to verges … but parks. You can read the two pages of the guidelines here: 1 2

This policy & guidelines fit in with the ‘Garden City’ slogan, and the red-tape reduction focus this council has.

It is also common sense. Public land for the Public.

It is not carte blanche though. Approval is required, however that can be from a phone call. At times a site visit and discussion on the suitability of the location/plants will be required. Ultimately approval, or the reasons for refusal, will be given in writing.

And it wasn’t easy. Negotiations and discussions with our staff and insurers occurred. Plenty of problems were identified, and then worked through to a red tape free solution. This result could not have been achieved without the commitment from the City staff; it was truly amazing work to pull off, again, such a red tape free policy.

The City of Bayswater council has now, unanimously,  officially welcomed and endorsed the public having the right to plant edible food, in appropriate locations, on public land.

This is ground breaking, and has attracted international attention. Since a recent media article on this, I received an email from someone from the Environmental Studies Centre of Vitoria Gateisz in Basque Autonomous Community (in northern Spain) seeking further information. Vitoria Gasteiz call themselves “Green Capital” and were awarded “European Green Capital” in 2012.

The City of Bayswater is without doubt worthy of its “Garden City” slogan.

Power to the people.

(Please be aware that these views are my own and have not been endorsed by the City of Bayswater.)