Pick My Project: From sustainable gardening to technology lessons

 

Sustainable vegetable gardens are a healthy choice for the environment.

By NORA ELBAROUDI and JAMES WF ROBERTS        

A bunch of creative and innovative community projects are one step closer to being funded, with the voting for Pick My Project set to wrap up on Monday.

The winning entries will receive State Government funding, with up to $30 million available overall. 

Here are two of the local projects seeking votes.

Farm-to-table education hub

Sustainable food systems are at the centre of the Holmesglen TAFE Farm to Table Education Hub project. 

Holmesglen Institute teacher Joab Wilson said resources such as water and fresh food were going to become less available and more expensive in the future. 

Mr went into  partnership with the company Biofilta to design the project, which aims to creating a learning farm that can function sustainably, without consuming a lot of resources or space.

Biofilta CEO Marc Noyce said the garden would consist of modules “connected together to form an urban farm that uses stored water for sustainable plant production”.

“We approached Holmesglen Tafe to set up a large scale urban farm that uses new technology that is water and space efficient, high yield and low tech to showcase to future generations how to adapt to climate change and learn to close loops on nutrients within urban food systems.”

Water from the greenhouse roof will be stored underground and provide water to the garden from below, so the plants will absorb the water in the same way trees absorb water from the soil.

The other reason behind the project is because space to grow food is increasingly limited, he said. 

“Melbourne’s  average house lot size has shrunk from 1000m2 to only 450m2 in just a few decades due to increased urban sprawl,” he said, and with smaller lots, there is less room for gardens.

“Cities are growing and green spaces such as gardens and agricultural land are increasingly being lost to development.”

Mr Noyce is looking forward to students using the garden, and to learn more about the challenges of feeding an increasing population.

“In five years, the project will be seen as a vital teaching asset, that thousands of students have learned about urban sustainability and climate adaptation from.”

To vote for this project, click HERE. Voting closes on September 17. 

Rob Ballis is learning how to use google and YouTube as part of the ReadyTechGo and Winteringham initiative. 

Seniors technology lessons

Technology and the way people communicate with each other is moving at a staggering pace, but what about people who were not born into the Internet, or even the mobile phone age?

Local start up ReadyTechGo and Winteringham specialist aged care facility in Delahey are hoping to train local senior citizens in IT and internet skills.

Director of ReadyTechGo Lisa Du said that their aim is to “empower and enrich the lives of older adults”.

“We live in a digital world where a lot of people feel left behind, and they don’t know where to get started,” she said.  

ReadyTechGo was founded  in 2012 and as a way of helping people keep connected in a digital world, from using social media to internet banking. 

“It is not just a way for older Australians to learn how to use the internet, this also an opportunity to help older Australians utilise technology to find employment opportunities.”

Wintringham is a Victorian-based not-for-profit welfare company specialising in the housing and care of older people who are homeless or vulnerable to homelessness.

Wintringham Recreation Coordinator Nicole Lock said Pick My Project was a great opportunity.  

“Our residents can’t afford to pay to learn (to how to use new technology),” she said.

“Everyone learns differently. And this project will ensure that our clients will have the best opportunity to be able to use modern technology.”

According to a 2010 Australian Institute of Family Studiessurvey, half of those aged 65–74 years accessed the Internet at home, compared with one in five people aged 75–84 years, and one in 20 of those aged 85 years or over’.

To vote for this project, click HEREVoting closes on September 17.