Imagine Maroondah If...

Posted by Jessica Egobi on Mon 24 April 2017

Want to change the world? There's nothing to it.

"In the market place, the word creativity has come to mean the generation of ideas applicable to practical strategies to make larger profits. This reduction has gone on so long that the word ‘creative’ can hardly be degraded further. I don’t use it any more, yielding it to capitalists and academics to abuse as they like. But they can’t have imagination. Imagination is not a means of making money. It has no place in the vocabulary of profit making.

Ursula Le Guin

This was one of the primary quotes referenced by Transitions founder Rob Hopkins in his recent entry: ‘Why I’m Writing a Book About Imagination.’ His essential message to me was simple: we need to come together more as a community and use our collective imaginations if we want to make positive changes in our world…or as he puts it, ‘Because if there were ever a time when we needed our imaginations fully charged, it is now, as we face a perfect storm of challenges.’ So he invites his readers to contribute openly and honestly to his work, to comment, to suggest to identify and to accompany him….and that is exactly what I would like to invite you to do today…right here….right now.

Because, I have a dream! Yes it’s a cliché, and it’s hopelessly idealistic, but don’t shoot me just yet. I want to share it with you and I really hope you will add any suggestions, thoughts, imaginings or dialogue to this in the comments below. Take a minute to leave a response. Consider me a busker of sorts but instead of your money, throw me a thought.

Picture this if you will, a beautiful and unique ’Sustainability Oasis’ within the city of Maroondah. Inside there is a vast community garden, developed by harnessing a myriad of permaculture principles, with free fruit and veggies for the community, chickens laying free range eggs for us to buy and tilling the soil, garden plots avail - for people to try their hand at growing their own and to foster the sharing of knowledge. There is a community compost scheme that encourages locals to give their compostable scraps (collected by bike riders) preventing mountains of landfill. A seedling nursery and heirloom seed library sells young veggie plants and seeds can be borrowed to use in your garden with the only catch being that you return the seeds of the best produce from your harvest. Bees are in abundance and hives produce fresh honey…apiary classes are taught to keen learners. There is an adventure garden for kids with an array of paths and places to run, hide, learn and explore and an entertainment space for community gatherings – plays, meetings, midsummer night dreamings.

There is a busy community centre, solar powered (Of course!) located centrally in the Oasis, so that people can learn new skills and stay connected. Near this, is the small marketplace that is co-operative run and anyone can join – giving you access to fresh bread (baked by members) local fruits, veggies, food stuffs and household items, all sold by the members and for the members. A co-op run café selling food donated as ‘surplus’ and paid for based on what you think it’s worth. Next to this is the ‘Shed’ where you can buy second hand clothing, furniture, home wares and electronics…or gain access to help repairing these items if yours are broken… and all this, can be accessed via the subsidised community shuttle bus that you can pay for using your ‘Maroondah Money’, money that will stay in our community.

Sigh…quite a dream I know. Or is it, just a dream? I have recently become very interest in local food co-operatives (Did you know we have a local Eastern Region Food Co-Op…and did you know it has been around since the 70’s?! but more on that in our May newsletter.) and local member Robin has been fighting with all guns blazing to develop a large permaculture inspired space at the Bedford Park Community Centre…Maroondah has a wealth of people interested in, and passionate about many of these amazing things…Imagine if they could all come together?! Imagine what could happen if we had the courage to dream up something so great that we couldn’t help but contribute.

Over to you.