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Food Street: Growing a community through food

Happy New Year!

I’m doing away with resolutions this year – who sticks to them anyway. But 2015 for me, is going to be about positives. Among all the negatives in the world, there is so much good going on and I’m hoping to bring some of that to light.

And if you want to look at positive things going on in the community you need look no further than Food Street.

It’s not so much a single street but more of a street farm, laid out on various nature strips, front and backyard plots dotted among a number of Buderim’s leafy old streets north of Gloucestor Road. And it’s so much more than the planting of a few random fruit and vegetable plants.

Food Street is about community. It’s about people, it’s about sharing and it’s about good, fresh, wholesome food.

In this small Sunshine Coast community, people are getting together to plant fruit and vegetables. They’re sharing knowledge, learning about growing their own food and as a result they’re getting to know their neighbours, looking out for each other and sharing a sense of pride in their neighbourhood.

Food Street is the initiative of Duncan McNaught and his partner Caroline Kemp, who kicked the project off nearly five years ago. with a few other like-minded residents.

“Just a couple of us started off and it’s snowballed,” McNaught says.

“This is a cultural change taking place within our neighbourhood and it’s exploded this year.”

As you stroll around these streets you’ll see a wide variety of fruit and vegetables. Between them, they are growing bananas, avocados, custard apples, olives, a range of citrus, stone fruit, mangoes, apples, mulberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, olives, tumeric and much more. Down on Mediterranean Corner, as it has affectionately been dubbed, you’ll also find Mick’s Potato patch. It’s a bit of an experiment, but McNaught says Mick, who is an ex-potato farmer, was willing to give it a go.

There are plans for more olives to go in and eventually they are hoping to produce their own olive oil to share among those in the community who are participating in Food Street. They have raised money to put a few compost bins around the neighbourhood and they are monitored by volunteers. They are also introducing bee hives.

There are regular working bees, where people come along and share ideas, discuss problems, learn about growing and harvesting and what to do with the produce they grow.

“Twenty men just turn up to bust their guts just digging holes for bananas,” McNaught says.

“It brings out the best in people, it really does.”

And some of them, like local real estate agent Dean Stewart, don’t even live in the area. Stewart turns up for working bees just because he loves the concept and enjoys taking part in the evolution of this community.

McNaught says the project has brought the neighbourhood together. People wave and say hallo, they go for walks, they talk and they look out for each other. One lady in her 90s has become involved and is having olive trees planted out the front of her property. She attends all the working bees, helped there by neighbours who also keep an eye out for her. it’s about food production and sustainability and it’s about getting back to basics and enjoying fresh, home grown food and saving some money on the grocery bill. But at the heart of it all he says it’s about people.  Neighbours who didn’t previously know each other are socialising, people are active in the garden or going for walks and bike rides. He says there are so many sides to this project and the community spirit is an integral part of it. Children are also learning about growing their own food and taking part in the process.

Some of the people taking part have never grown anything before. There is a sense of accomplishment in their achievements and joy in sharing the fruits of their labours.

But the emotional element is just as important to McNaught and Kemp as the food aspect. In this old neighbourhood there are a number of beautiful, well established trees, including a number of jacarandas and McNaught says these old trees add emotional value through their shady canopy and the joy of seeing them in full flower. He says this contribution is as important to the neighbourhood as the bananas, the olives and the vegetables.

Kemp says the project is about utilising latent space and making it productive.

“It’s a holistic design response to the urban environment because it incorporates so much – it’s not just about growing some food, it’s about having an urban habitat that’s liveable,” she says.

Food Street is an interesting project on so many levels. It is invigorating a community, taking people back to old-fashioned values and growing a neighbourhood. There is so much we can all learn from Food Street and so much we can all contribute to our own neighbourhood, whether it is looking out for a neighbour, walking a dog for someone who is unable or growing and sharing food.

Let’s all work together to make 2015 a positive year and bring people together.


If you want more inspiration on how to make 2015 the best year ever, check out the great posts from these bloggers from around the world.Happy 2015. Wishing you all a wonderful year ahead.



1. How to Set and Keep Goals to Make This the Best Year Ever | Jen @ Girl in Garage

2. 15 Ways to Stay Organised at Work During 2015 | Elizabeth Harrin @ A Girl’s Guide to Project Management

3. How Personal Style Will Help You Achieve Goals Faster in 2015 | Cherene Francis @ Aura Image Consulting

4. Completing Those Unfinished Projects in the NEW YEAR | Angela Lerew @ Unexpected Elegance

5. 42 Ways to Practice Perfectly & Become an Expert at Almost Anything | Amy Garro @ 13 Spools

6. Easy Exercises to do on a Cruise Ship | Amanda Woods @ Adventures All Around

7. 10 Simple Ways to Eat Healthier This Year | Dawn @ Reveal Natural Health

8. 31 Days to a More Fabulous You | Julie Bonner @ Mom Fabulous

9. How to Make This the Best Gardening Year Ever | Kendra Spencer @ a Sonoma Garden

10. 5 Ways to Make this Your Best Monarch Season…Ever! | Tony Gomez @ Monarch Butterfly Garden

11. 12 Scriptures for Goals and Guidance | Julie @ Loving Christ Ministries

12. How to Build a Starter Emergency Fund in 30 Days or Less | Jackie Beck @ The Debt Myth

13. Family Verse of the Week Challenge for 2015 | Jamie Yonash @ Life is Sweeter By Design

14. Hot Work at Home Jobs for 2015 | Holly Hanna @ The Work at Home Woman

15.  A Year of Intention | Hilary Bernstein @ Accidentally Green

16. 2015: Our Best Year Yet | Ashley @ Leaving the Rut

17. Create a Better Life Story | Bronwen Warner @ Tummy Time and Beyond

18. Get Ready to Get MDfit | Tom and Anne @ Eat & Be Fit

19. 5 Free Ways to Learn Something New This Year | Sarah Fuller @ Earning and Saving with Sarah Fuller

20. Healthy Leek Soup | Mirlandra @ Mirlandra’s Kitchen

21. Health Resolutions: Baby Steps to a New You | Ellen Christian @ Confessions of an Overworked Mom

22. 5 Ways Busy Moms Can Get Motivated to Work Out | Diane Nassy @ philZENdia

23. Be Prepared for the New Year | Jennifer Dunham Starr @ The Memory Journalists

24. 3 Steps to a Healthier Life in 2015 | Joe Goodwill @Average Joe Cyclist

25. New Year’s Resolution: Cook More Often! | Kim Pawell @ Something New for Dinner

26. I Should What? 28 Ways to be Happier | Karen Young @ Hey Sigmund

27. 9 Ways to Get Healthier In The New Year | Amy Maus @ Home and Farm Sense

28. In 2015 Resolve to Take Control of Your Money | Kristia @ Family Balance Sheet

29. Eucharisteo: A Year of Thanksgiving | Lani Padilla @ Simply Fresh Vintage

30. No More Tears at IEP Meetings: Make This Your Best Year Ever! | Lisa Lightner @ A Day In Our Shoes

31. Learn to Save Money on Groceries | Melissa Buckles @ Everyday Savvy

32. How to Achieve Your New Year’s Resolution – For Real This Time! | Michelle @ Dishes and Dust Bunnies

33. 52 Weeks to a Better You: Week 1 – Go to Bed Early | Mindi Cherry @ Moms Need to Know

34. Food Street: How a Community Has Joined Forces to Start a Street Farm | Sam Walker @ Bubble ‘N Squeak

35. Organizing Coupons with the Binder Method | Sara Steigerwald @ Sisters Shopping on a Shoe String

36. How to Make This Year the Happiest Yet | Shambray @ Shambray.com

37. A New Year, A New You | Sharon Rowe @ How to Get Organized at Home

38. 5 Ways to Get Paid for Losing Weight This Year | Anna @ Real Ways to Earn Money at Home

39. Tips for Successful Whole30 | Deanna Michaels @ From This Kitchen Table

40. 75 Ways to Be Healthier in 2015 | Maryea Flaherty @ Happy Healthy Mama

41. How to Make 2015 the Best Year Ever! | Jennifer @ My Boys & Their Toys

Bonus links:

Fashion Resolutions: How to Add Style to Any Outfit | Ellen Christian @ The Socialite’s Closet

► Show ▼ Hide 6 comments

Eat and Be Fit - Hello Sam ~ What a wonderful post! Food Street is an inspiration and a perfect example of community brought together, as it was intended, through agriculture. Talk about a bountiful harvest!


Sarah Fuller - What a beautiful way to bring a neighborhood together. Going to share this idea.

Jennifer H - What a cool idea! I like that the whole neighborhood is involved, very neat.

Sam - Hi Anne,
Thanks for stopping by. Yes, it is a great example of a community getting back to basics. Not everyone has embraced it but it seems to be gaining in popularity.

Sam - Hi Jennifer H. I love the concept as well. It is something I would love to investigate more.

Sam - Sarah, that is lovely that you are going to share the idea. Hopefully more neighbourhoods will start to embrace the idea. Even if people get out more and meet their neighbours and look out for them, I think that would make a difference but sharing food is awesome.

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