In the face of escalating cost of living concerns, and inquiries launched into supermarkets and food prices, a Churchill Fellow has some ideas to help.

Churchill Fellow Dr Nick Rose is advocating for a comprehensive approach that includes increased support for community gardens and urban farms as a sustainable solution.

Nick has called for a major expansion of community gardens nationally as an investment in food security, but also as a preventative public health measure, calling for a $500 million Edible Gardening Fund.

“Community gardens are literally the grassroots solution to the challenges posed by market concentration and rising food prices,” he said.

“They empower individuals, strengthen local communities, and contribute to food security.”

Nick asserts that community gardens play a vital role in addressing not only the economic challenges faced by citizens but also the broader issues related to health, environment and community empowerment.

“Community gardens are not just about growing food; they are about growing resilient and connected communities.

“In the face of rising costs and concerns over supermarket practices, community gardens present a practical and empowering response.”

Nick acknowledges the significance of the ACCC’s supermarket inquiry and the Craig Emerson-led review of the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct, emphasising the need for a multi-faceted approach to tackle the challenges faced by consumers.

He suggests that community gardens — operating on a non-commercial, volunteer-led basis — can and do provide a sustainable alternative to traditional food supply chains.

Nick draws parallels between the review’s focus on supermarket pricing and the impacts of market concentration on farmers.

He points out that community gardens represent positive and democratic community-led responses to market failures and government inaction in various sectors.

As part of their strategy, Nick and his team at Sustain: the Australian Food Network call upon key decision makers and government figures to advocate for the funding and support of a nationally coordinated network of community gardens and urban farms.

He has been the executive director of Sustain since its establishment in January 2016.
With a background In law and community development, Nick brings more than 15 years of working at the grassroots and institutional level in several Australian states in food sovereignty and sustainable food systems.

He is the editor of Fair Food: Stories From a Movement Changing The World (2015) and the co-editor of Reclaiming The Urban Commons: The Past, Present and Future of Food Growing in Australian Towns And Cities (2018).

Nick is also a lecturer in food systems, food policy and governance and food movements for William Angliss Institute in their Bachelor of Food Studies and Master of Food Systems and Gastronomy.

Nick’s Churchill Fellowship report can be read here: