Kensington’s local food system … a celebration

Jacqui van Heerden

Kensington has built a local food system with the help of individuals, groups, community organisations and volunteers working together with the City of Melbourne and Victorian Government.

During COVID this local food system provided more than 450 kg of fresh food to families in need and has distributed more than one tonne of fresh food to the Kensington Fresh Food Market where residents from Kensington, North Melbourne, Footscray, Flemington and Ascot Vale have participated.

It consists of many garden plots for residents to grow their own food and includes four sites across Kensington being actively farmed by urban farmers, plus a monthly fresh food market and pantries where locally grown fresh food is distributed.

A seed bank of local seeds collected is shared with community through seed saving boxes at Kensington Neighbourhood House and Eastwood Street Forest Garden.

By building local food systems we build our food sovereignty so that our community has options and does not rely on or become dependent on food vouchers, handouts and leftover produce distributed from corporatised supermarkets.


Kensington’s local food system reduces transport, processing, plastic packaging, and emissions. Importantly it restores neighborhoods’ soils, ecosystems, and biodiversity.


Not-for-profit Local Futures state that local food systems produce more food per hectare, create more jobs and help to reweave communities. Local food economies feed 75 per cent of the global population and on top of this they treat animals more ethically and provide habitat for wildlife.

McCracken Street Food Garden consists of 16 raised beds for local gardeners to grow and share in the freshly grown herbs and produce,” Esther Sadek from Kensington Neigbourhood House who co-ordinates the garden said.

The Kensington Stockyard Food Garden is a member-driven communal garden that produces vegetables, herbs, and fruit, in over 100 food cubes to feed our growing community. Come and visit us in Serong Street Kensington 9am to 11am every Sunday,” Nan Austin said.

“The Farm Collective consists of plots at the Venny Permaculture garden, McCracken Share Garden, Kensington Community High school and Westbourne Community Garden. We are actively building our skills and local food growing capacity to provide our community with nutrient rich food and food sovereignty,” urban farmer Alicia Rodgers said.

“The Food Forest reveals so much to you the more time you spend there – from the density of diverse species you learn to see, hear, smell, taste, and touch to the many roles the Food Forest plays within our community for food relief, health and wellbeing, sharing and caring, and reconnecting – this is a special place that heals many of our current challenges by working together,” Food Forest care team member and researcher Corey Ferguson said.

Eastwood Street Forest Garden provides an improved green space for residents. It consists of fruit trees, herbs, teas, and flowers for community to share and a grassy patch for neighbours to gather.

The Kensington Fresh Food Market is held once a month at Skinny Park, Bellair St and is run by local volunteers who harvest fresh on the day from local sites. Residents bring their surplus local food to share and connect.

Arden Street Community Garden is set up to green the neighbourhood, help connect local people and provide fresh food. •

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