Verge gardening

Verge, nature strip, curbside gardening is the practice of growing edible plants on the footpath. Fruits, herbs and vegetables are commonly planted, sometimes mixed with flowers and native plants.

People have started these gardens in an effort to restore food growing in cities. The precedent established over the years by the planting of edible street trees for their ornamental value has evolved into the use of curbsides to supplement the family diet. This has been going on since the early 1990s and is now catching the public imagination, a factor that is likely to see its growth.

Over these gardens are established without consulting local government. They might be viewed as a form of ‘guerrilla gardening’, a practice by which people establish mainly edible plants in public places without the approval of the landholder. Unlike some guerilla gardening, however, curbside gardens are cared for. Some householders assume responsibility for the footpath adjacent to their homes, making the decision to use the nature strip for food production a natural one.

Some local governments have policies for curbside plantings, requiring would-be planters to submit a design for approval. It’s a good idea to check with council before ripping up the nature strip.

Byron Shire is one council trilling community food production on Council managed open space. If you would like more information, email Graeme

Sustain food - verge gardening