Stanwell Park Eco Centre (SPEC) was founded in June 2020 by Allison Tomazin in response to her witnessing the increasing fragility of our food supply chains. With community job insecurity and the pressures of social isolation thrown into the mix, Allison felt the need to start something that would inspire her local community to engage more with fair food practices and learn how to be self-sufficient and resilient within a sustainable food system.
In founding SPEC, Allison’s vision is to create sustainability hubs across the Illawarra region, starting in Stanwell Park. With a focus on food security, community resilience, and innovation, Allison and her team of 18 dedicated volunteers seek to empower their community with the tools and knowledge they need to grow their own food – reducing food miles and increasing social connection within the community.
In 2020, the importance of maintaining food security is increasingly apparent as we have witnessed the breakdown of supply chains on some of our most important commodities. Allison’s vision is that by working together within our communities to grow our own food, we can supplement food sources and increase self-sufficiency within the current food system.
…we have witnessed the breakdown of supply chains across some of our most important commodities
To make this vision a reality, SPEC’s ongoing Crowdfunding Campaign is requesting pledges that will go directly towards securely fencing the garden and installing a recycled shipping container that will be converted into a reception and tool storage area.
SPEC’s mission is to bring new life to unused council land by establishing community vegetable gardens run by and for the community. The community garden will be financially sustainable, provide training and employment for young people in the region, and educate people on how to grow and use seasonal produce.
SPEC also uses a sustainable business model to make their projects scalable and repeatable. This has allowed them to already develop plans for two more community gardens in Helensburgh and Keiraville.
The model will allow locals to purchase their own plot or join as a general member. People will be able to rent bikes, join gardening workshops, and also learn how to grow and cook with local native bush foods. In addition, Allison has dreams of building an experiential children’s garden to engage children in fair food practices, as well as an indoor food forest boasting hydroponic and aquaponic gardening techniques.
Community gardens offer opportunities for people to reconnect with nature and the food they grow and eat.
Community gardens offer opportunities for people to reconnect with nature and the food they grow and eat. Allison’s drive to build a self-sufficient local food system inspires the community to learn more about where their food comes from, how it is grown, and what they can do to support a better future of food.