Kirsty Anderson (pointing) shows judges around her garden during the 2010/2011 greener neighbourhood competition.
The Council is again supporting the Greener Neighbourhood competition, with a $2,000 award up for grabs for the neighbourhood that makes the most significant progress.
“The programme is a way for you and your neighbours to come together and explore ways to create more sustainable communities,” says Jake Roos, Senior Programme Advisor (Environmental). “The competition is a great way to get to know your neighbours better as you learn and work together to increase resilience and reduce environmental impact.”
Groups of five or more neighbours can get together to take part. They begin by measuring their ecological footprint, then set about reducing it over the ten-month period.
Free, practical workshops guide groups on ways to become more resourceful, from propagating gardens, to making homes warmer and drier, conserving water, and finding alternative forms of transport.
In addition, grants are available for projects that minimise waste and support is given to help groups develop projects and initiatives specific to their interests and needs.
The positive impacts of taking part in the programme can be felt long after it’s over. Kirsty Anderson took part in the 2010/2011 competition. “We still do things differently now,” says Kirsty. “We’d not long moved into our house so it was a great time to get set up correctly.”
“Many families were in a similar situation, keen to put in vegetable gardens and compost bins, and plant fruit trees. 90 percent of the task is making the right decisions and setting priorities. With help from the Council, the group hosted workshops on topics including permaculture, pruning and grey water. It was good to work collectively – everyone has knowledge to share.”
The benefits of taking part in the programme were more than just the learning opportunity. “We had regular gardening bees, moving around the houses and often ending with a pot luck meal,” says Kirsty. “We found it a fantastic way to get to know people, and made great friendships.”
Council are currently looking for four to six neighbourhood groups to take part in this year’s Greener Neighbourhood competition. Registrations close on 15 May. See the timeline below for more information or contact the Sustainabale Communities Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org