Garden guru, Costa Georgiadis.
Garden guru, Costa Georgiadis. Bev Lacey

Costa's plea to leave Buderim's food street alone

AUSTRALIA'S gardening guru Costa Georgiadis has passionately called for the Sunshine Coast Council to butt out of Buderim's urban food street.

Georgiadis, who hosts ABC's Gardening Australia, said he worked with councils "all across Australia".

And somehow others had managed to find a way to work around public safety rules for vegetable patches growing on the footpath's.

"I'm not trying to put a steel cap into the council," he said.

"But the reality is councils are facing this kind of situation all around the country and they are getting around it by dealing with the community on a case-by-case basis."

The Daily revealed on Saturday the council had written to property owners in Buderim who had transformed their footpaths into vegie patches they would need a permit and public liability insurance.


How a little street in Buderim is showing the world how to grow food and create a great place to live. Ducan McNaught with his produce.
How a little street in Buderim is showing the world how to grow food and create a great place to live. Ducan McNaught with his produce. Patrick Woods

The council has explained it is "fully supportive of the Urban Food Street initiative" and it wasn't its intention to stop the project, but to ensure "the activities can continue with proper approvals in place".

"The council is working with residents who are a part of the Urban Food Street project to ensure they meet the guidelines for having a verge garden - a free permit, public liability insurance and pedestrian access," a spokeswoman said.

But Georgiadis said the intervention would install fear into a community that was achieving so much.

"Guidelines are exactly that, guidelines so a community can express itself," he said.

"Here you have an eight-year-old project. It's not on a waterfront or high traffic tourist area.

"You have a community actually doing what a community is meant to be doing, engaging and then you get an action like that.

"It is bringing fear and uncertainty to a project that has been bringing community cohesiveness, connection, health and real interaction."

Georgiadis said Buderim's example was "the best example of verge and community development you will see in the country"

"I don't say this lightly, what's going on in Buderim is nationally significant.

"For the council to think about putting a crowbar into a wheel that is spinning beautifully is frustrating, I can see why the community is frustrated.

"The seat of the problem is behaviour and fear, which is the backbone of any community-run space.

"If we keep wheeling out the same excuse, of course something could happen, something could happen while we are talking on the phone.

"But look at this at face value, this is a nationally significant project bringing all levels of the community together, isn't that what council is about?"

Georgiadis said the council couldn't put a price on the value of what was being achieved in Buderim.

"Life being resuscitated on the streets of a community. Thousands of dollars worth of food is being grown where people are living and eating it.

"You will always get nay-sayers about growing food on a street, but you've got to look at the bigger picture.

"We need these spaces as the rich, biodiverse corridors they are."

Georgiadis said the whole idea of a verge was to bring people out of their back of their gardens to the front so "a street comes back to life again".

"This is all medicinal mental health rolled up in a cabbage," he said.

And he said the council should consider what was there before.

"It was a runway for dogs to wipe their butts and park a steamer on," he said.

"What was there, a bit of grass? We don't need grass, we need biodiversity."

He again reiterated he didn't plan to "bash the council", but urged it to reconsider.

"Somewhere, the buck has to stop, this community has the leading sustainability project in the country and they're wanting to turn it over to fear

"They have got to turn it around."

The council said it appreciated the time and cost that went into maintaining community gardens and the great relationships that had been developed, "but we need to make sure that all members of the community, both participants in the project and others, are appropriately considered".

"Not all nature strips, verges, footpaths and streets are the same, so it's important that any permit processes and guidelines take all circumstances in to account."

Kerbside service at risk through abuse

Kerbside service at risk through abuse

Council to re-think kerbside clean up

Local Partners