International prize winner helps to grow a brighter future 

'Food for thought' - LDCG members celebrate the opening of a new garden bed

At a time when extreme weather, the global financial crisis, rising food costs and sustaining the environment are issues motivating people worldwide to reassess their lifestyles, a community garden in Darwin has won an international prize for its potential as a solution.

The Lakeside Drive Community Garden (LDCG) in Darwin has been awarded third place in the prestigious 2011 MacJannet Prize for Global Citizenship that recognises exceptional student civic engagement initiatives in universities around the world.

Inspired by the diverse population and remote tropical environment of Australia's Northern Territory, the LDCG is a student-initiated outreach program of Charles Darwin University's (CDU) Office of Community Engagement and the CDU Talloires student group.

CDU Community Engagement projects manager Nicole Manapol said that on a global level, food insecurity and poverty in low-income countries were at the centre of the current work of the international community.

“As a remote tropical and desert environment the Northern Territory has much in common with areas of the world struggling to find sustainable solutions to food insecurity,” Ms Manapol said. 

“Winning a MacJannet Prize is an acknowledgement of the vital leadership that CDU has to offer in this area, not just in the Territory but in tropical and desert environments worldwide.”

The MacJannet Prize award of $1000 will help to support future activities and the continued civic engagement work of the LDCG.

LDCG coordinator Anjea Travers said the prize money would be put towards the development of a garden that highlighted various perspectives on sustainability in northern Australia.

“Leveraging the research strengths of the university and local expertise, this section of the garden will provide both a training and demonstration site for remote communities who are interested in developing gardens and urban residents wanting to find out more about traditional methods of sustainable living,” Ms Travers said.

The LDCG is running a series of free workshops called Bumblebees for anyone interested in learning about organic gardening in the tropics, reusing waste and addressing the impacts of climate change in their own backyard.

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