ACT News

New community fruit and nut tree plantation proposed for Lyneham

A plan to turn parkland into a  "food forest" in Lyneham, as proposed by local environment group Lyneham Commons, has been released by the ACT government for comment.

ACT Minister for Territory and Municipal Services Shane Rattenbury has thrown his support behind the plan which would see a 30-tree fruit and nut tree plantation grown behind the Lyneham Primary School next to the Sullivans Creek storm water drain.

Mr Rattenbury said the proposal was part of a wider push for more urban agricultural projects in Canberra.

"I'm very keen for there to be more urban food production in the ACT and I'm working with TAMS to make space available for these community organisations," he said.

He said the Lyneham Commons group had approached TAMS with a comprehensive proposal, which had already been canvassed with the community through such events as parties at the shops.

"Now we are out for public consultation, but given the amount of community involvement already, I would imagine a lot of people in Lyneham already know about it.

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"If the proposal is supported by the wider Lyneham community, approximately 30 fruit and nut trees and complementary plants will be planted at the Lyneham site over the next couple of years," Mr Rattenbury said.

Margaret Clark, on the organising committee for the Lyneham Commons, said a "food forest" was different to an orchard as it incorporated permaculture principals.

"An orchard is monoculture whereas in a food forest each tree will have plants around it that deal with pests and support that tree," she said.

Ms Clark, who has been a resident of the area since 1984, said they had been working on the proposal for 18 months.

"It's happening around the world, this use of open spaces and unused spaces for gardening.

"Some of us walk past this space and have been thinking wouldn't it be great as a garden, and others in the group had been researching permaculture and looked into food forests which become ecosystems in themselves," she said.

Ms Clark said the group's members were excited the idea was progressing.

"We want to build something that is for the Lyneham community so we are very excited that it is going out for consultation," she said. 

Mr Rattenbury said the urban farm would be a first of its kind in Canberra, and would be a community effort.

"Lyneham residents will be invited to participate in the harvest and share the produce through community working bees." he said.

Community consultation closes on June 8 and depending on feedback, initial tree plantings will commence in July.