Growing food is an integral part of life in the Witchcliffe Ecovillage and is one of its most important sustainability features. Growing your own is not only the most sustainable way to produce fresh, healthy and nourishing food, it is also efficient and cost-effective.
Grow Your Own Food
Each residential cluster surrounds a productive community garden and the entire Ecovillage is surrounded by small scale intensive farms (agricultural lots). All land within the Ecovillage is organically managed and all water needed for food production originates on site.
At the heart of each residential cluster is a community garden, linked by cycling and walking paths, which provides the primary vegetable production area within the Ecovillage. The water sensitive design of the community gardens includes a rain garden for stormwater treatment and provides an overland flow path to protect the surrounding lots from flooding in an extreme storm event.
The community gardens are developed along permaculture principles with an area of at least 20sqm per person allocated for vegetable beds, which is sufficient for the community to be largely self-sufficient in seasonal vegetables. Foundational infrastructure and major landscaping is put in place by the developer, but the micro design of the community gardens will evolve with the input of residents. However, we have areas for orchards, poultry and stormwater treatment areas as well as a community meeting house with tool storage. Fruit trees are planted along the paths to provide an attractive, shady environment.
These dedicated path networks, which link all houses and community gardens to each other and to the Village Square, mean that residents and visitors can safely traverse the whole village by bicycle or on foot (or by wheelchair or pram) through beautifully landscaped gardens, with minimal interaction with cars.
The Food Hub is the heart of our fair food distribution network, a collective space for organic growers to wholesale, retail, process, and value add their fresh food produce. This commercial site located in the Village Square will likely be built once the Ecovillage has been fully developed. In the early years of the Ecovillage, growers will be able to sell their produce directly to residents through organic growers’ markets held in the Village Square.
For more information, visit the Food Hub page.
Approximately 25ha of prime agricultural land surrounding the Ecovillage has been set aside for 15 certified organic, small-scale, strata titled farm lots. They are owned by Ecovillage residents and worked to produce food, which can be processed and sold in the Food Hub or local markets. These lots are strictly zoned for agriculture and will not have residences. They are suitable for a wide range of niche organic crops, such as market vegetables, blueberries, cane berries, citrus, pome fruit, herbs, garlic, avocados, etc. Some people just want their own private food forest. Each agricultural lot is provided with water at the gate from the dams at a rate of 5 megalitres per hectare, which is basically enough water to grow just about anything.
For more information, visit the Agricultural Lots page.
Ecovillage Commons Limited is a not-for-profit company collectively owned and managed by Ecovillage residents. It owns and manages nearly 40ha of community open space outside of the community cluster gardens, including the three dams, conservation areas, wastewater treatment vegetation areas, a perimeter walking track, avocado orchard, olive and nut trees, wood lots, and a mix of native and productive trees for all to enjoy and share.