The 2018 Liveable Cities Conference is being held this month over 16 – 17 July at the Pullman Melbourne on the Park.

Now in its 11th year, this Conference will continue to explore the liveability of our metropolitan and regional urban centres.

Ms Morag Gamble, Founding Director at Permaculture Education Institute joins us at the conference to discuss ‘Citizen Design, Permaculture and Community-based Urban Agriculture: connecting communities to positively transform public places, create local meaning and edible abundance.’


The story of urban agriculture I share is a community-based one – of urban and suburban communities designing, growing, harvesting, making, sharing, learning and teaching together. It is a story of the emergence of what I call ‘citizen designers’ and the activation of communities to re-imagine and reclaim the commons for food abundance and positive change – for people and the planet.

Just about everywhere, you can find communities cultivating local food projects – creating better places to live, places that are more caring, meaningful and abundant. By growing food together, people can build resilience and improve the liveability of their neighbourhoods, and so many positive ripples flow from this.

Since the early 1990s, I’ve been involved in a wide variety of urban agriculture projects in public parks, universities, schools and community centres. I have observed that the most flourishing and resilient community-based urban agriculture projects:

– connect people to each other, to food and to place.
– nurture belonging and shared responsibility. People who feel engaged are happier and give more of their time, energy and resources to that shared project.
– learn and share together. The wealth of knowledge, skills and experience in a neighbourhood is vast.
– revitalise a sense of the commons – demonstrating new ways of relating to and using the shared spaces in our cities.
– create a food lens —to see neighbourhoods through a lens of thriving food potential.
– tell a new food story — changing the image we have in our minds of what a food garden looks like and the story we tell ourselves about where our food comes from.
– help people see beyond their boundaries to care what is happening in their local environment.
– regularly celebrate successes and show gratitude to each other, supporters, and the earth.


Morag is a community urban agriculture pioneer and award-winning edible landscape designer. For 25 years she has enabled urban communities around the world to create beautiful shared edible landscapes using a process she calls citizen design. Morag has taught at Schumacher College, and cofounded Northey Street City Farm in Brisbane and the Australian City Farms and Community Gardens Network. She studied Landscape Architecture at Melbourne and has a Master of Sustainability Education from Griffith. She speaks and writes widely about sustainably cultivating abundant food in the city, and has cultivated a large following on her blog and channel

For more information on the upcoming 2018 Liveable Cities Conference in Melbourne and to secure your spot please visit