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CERES Urban Orchard

Posted in Models, RDAG by Virginia on April 13th, 2009

The Urban Orchard project was the first of its kind in Australia established in 2004 at the Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies (CERES),Brunswick East. The project initially focused on utilising unused fruit from the abundant plantings across the inner northern suburbs of Melbourne, and has since spread to swapping vegetables, herbs and beyond. Participants come from over 180 households ranging from a variety of age groups, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds.


The model has no membership fees and relies on minimal volunteer support. People enjoy volunteering by sitting at the swap table at the market where they can meet their neighbours and like-minded others where food acts as a point of convergence. The Urban Orchard project extends from sharing with neighbours to sharing with the local community, it endorses an ethos of self-reliance and reflects the seasons and the whole cycle of food. It is also free and organic, making normally expensive organic food accessible for those on a budget. Since 2004, new Urban Orchard groups have been established in Yarra, Footscray, Bentleigh, Coburg and Apollo Bay in Victoria, on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, and in Adelaide in South Australia.

For more information about the CERES Urban Orchard project visit

This is from ‘Social Innovations in Victorian Food Systems’ case studies by Ferne Edwards.

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