In 2020, a pilot project was undertaken in partnership with the Southern Migrant & Refugee Centre (SMRC), to address a rapidly growing reliance on food relief services within Greater Dandenong, Casey, Cardinia, and Kingston local government areas during COVID-19.
The project involved mobilising the community and local businesses to put together 5 varieties of “planter kits” (consisting of planter bags, potting mix, seedlings, fertiliser, and simple growing resources made available in multiple languages). These were distributed to approximately 200 individuals and families who were experiencing hardship and food insecurity.
The aim of the project was to build the capacity of our local community to grow, harvest, and consume fresh produce at home.
In order to help community members continue their food journey beyond the garden and into the kitchen, our Grow Together booklet was developed and included with each pack.
The teams at enliven and SMRC worked together at The Hive in Braeside Park to pot over 1200 seedlings and commence distribution to community members on 22 October 2020, via Cornerstone, SMRC, Wellsprings for Women, and South East Community Links.
The second stage of the project on 29 October 2020, distributed to clients of Casey North and Cranbourne Information and Support Service, and Kooweerup Regional Health Service.
Grow Together 2: Project Scale-up
In 2021, enliven Victoria conducted the Grow Together project a second time, scaling up the pilot project to distribute 700 planter kits to families and young people experiencing disadvantage in Greater Dandenong, Casey and Cardinia.
The 2021 scale-up project, ‘Grow Together 2’, utilised a new and innovative approach, partnering with 10 local Neighbourhood Houses creating a localised, place-based initiative. Neighbourhood Houses worked closely with Department of Families, Fairness and Housing to identify planter kit recipients within their local areas, to create and strengthen connections between community members and the services available to them in their local areas.
enliven staff again mobilised local businesses to put together planter kits (vegetable seeds or seedlings, planter bag, potting mix, organic fertiliser and growing resources).
In November 2021, 700 planter kits were delivered across the 10 project partners, reaching more community members in order to increase community connection, participation in edible gardening, food sovereignty, and to promote the health and climate co-benefits associated with growing food.
enliven would like to acknowledge the contributions of our project partners: Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, Balla Balla Community Centre, Berwick Neighbourhood Centre, Bunyip & District Community House, Doveton Neighbourhood Learning Centre, Hampton Park Community Centre, Noble Park Community Centre, North Dandenong Neighbourhood House, Oakgrove Community Centre, Springvale Neighbourhood House and Upper Beaconsfield Community Centre. Generous donations and support were gratefully received from Seasol, The Seed Collection, Galaxy of Plants, and Kwik Kopy Dandenong.
For more information about the Grow Together project, including resources and details of how to replicate, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Grow Together (2020) Evaluation Report
Evaluation of the Grow Together 2 project is currently underway, and expected to be completed by June 2022.