Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.

5.5.10

Vegetable garden too much for bumbling bureaucrats.

Last month, Darebin Council threatened to fine a local resident for growing vegetables on his 'nature strip' lawn at the front of his property. Get those vegetables off that nature strip!

The council was forced into a humiliating back-down but not before a media blowtorch was applied to its intimidating behaviour.

Darebin Council's actions - compared with the jargon-ridden 'promises' in its mission statement - demand closer scrutiny.

Darebin official policy:
"Our goal is to demonstrate leadership in climate change action and environmental sustainability, beyond both the local environment and the short term. We will demonstrate, through action, that sustainable behaviour is practical, affordable and necessary. We will develop policy and programs that foster the ongoing development of a sustainable community."

Reality:
DAREBIN Council has backed off fining a Northcote guerrilla gardener for refusing to remove a flourishing vegetable patch on his nature strip.
If, in Darebin Council's view, 'practical' or 'sustainable' behaviour does not include residents growing their own vegetables, then what does?

Darebin official policy:
"Our Promise. As a democratic and accountable local government, we will strive in all that we do to achieve fairness, through innovative and progressive leadership
that respects and reflects our diverse community."


Reality:
Urquhart St resident Randy Anderson said he was shocked to receive a council letter stating he would be fined $200, face prosecution and have his garden forcibly ripped out by council officers if he did not remove it by March 30.
Forcibly ripping out someone's vegetable garden is 'fair' and shows 'progressive leadership' that 'respects' the community?

Darebin official policy:
"We will engage the residential and business communities in improving environmental behaviour through the encouragement, promotion and education of sustainable practices ... "

Reality:
When Mr Anderson called the council to contest its decision he was told he had until April 7 to remove it but was also sent an application form for a strip garden.
Forget 'improving environmental behaviour'. It's all about the application form. Nothing but empty rhetoric, a million miles away from reality.

Darebin official policy:
"As a Council, we plan to move forward. Our community faces many challenges, and needs a response from Council that goes beyond simply continuing to deliver services and managing a series of small, incremental changes. We need new thinking, and new ideas."

We need a new council.

4 comments:

Diane said...

So - they want you to plant a veg garden to work on sustainable food sources - but they want you to keep it out back, out of sight so as not to bring down property values?

neil said...

Bet he makes it onto the feral fruitpickers map that seem to be concentrated up your way. Hope he gets to hold on to all the goodies.

White Dove said...

Well that really got you going KH...and good for you. I loved the pic of Randy in his garden...everything looks to be flourishing and it's quite eye catching. I'm all for the garden and think the young resident's comment about learning from Randy and watching the garden grow was spot on ! Would love to know who complained and why...

kitchen hand said...

Something like that, Diane. Or zucchinis blocking through traffic ...

Feral fruitpickers v. council, Neil.

Not sure who complained, WD. Perhaps council has a flying vegetable SWAT team.