Edible Gardens Festival

On Sunday, the 12th of May 2024, 21 gardens in Ecovillage Cluster 1B collectively welcomed over 200 visitors from the Edible Garden Festival. Britta and Michael Sorensen, both true Ecovillage pioneers (read their story here), encouraged their cluster to join the festival – with great success! 

“We’ve participated a couple of years ago with our previous property and loved the opportunity to exchange knowledge and engage with other gardeners in the region. The festival serves as a wonderful source of inspiration”, says Britta. 

The Edible Garden Festival is an annual occasion run by Valerie Vallee and Trevor Paddenburg, two enthusiastic locals from Margaret River who share a passion for gardening and growing food. During the festival, local gardeners open their gardens to the public, showcasing various approaches to growing organic produce. The Edible Garden Festival aims to connect the gardening community in the region, empower people to grow their own food, and showcase sustainable approaches to organic produce. Festival organisers and local green thumbs Trevor Paddenburg and Valerie Vallee said the feedback was amazing, with people of all ages and all walks of life coming from the local area, across the South-West and from Perth and further afield in WA for the not-for-profit annual event.

In true Ecovillage spirit, all the owners in the well-established cluster 1B were joining in. To create a vibrant festival atmosphere, the cluster Meeting Shed was set up to welcome visitors to enjoy coffee, kombucha, and cakes. The proceeds from these refreshments went toward funding a glasshouse and potting shed for the cluster.  

Visitors had the chance to join hourly tours led by Britta, with the option to delve even deeper into gardening insights alongside our resident and permaculture elder, Miles Durand. Britta added that “the whole event was extremely well received” and “everyone felt like they’ve learned a lot here and it was great to connect to other gardening enthusiasts outside our community.” Visitors also fielded numerous inquiries about the Ecovillage, particularly regarding our water management and wastewater systems. People were genuinely interested in understanding how we handle these aspects,” she emphasized. The festival not only promoted our lovely gardens, but also the spirit and ethos behind our community as a whole. Britta and Michael hope that Cluster 1B’s participation in this year’s festival will inspire other Ecovillage residents to join in next year. 

Pictures: Trevor Paddenburg/Edible Gardens Festival