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Ecological Justice Hub, Jesuit Social Services

By November 17, 2020January 20th, 2021No Comments
A permaculture garden with a pink sunset background

The Ecological Justice Hub is a permaculture garden dedicated to both social and environmental justice, restoring the relationship between people and nature. The Hub is a dynamic space in Brunswick, run by Jesuit Social Services, addressing social exclusion and disadvantage in the community by fostering connections and educational opportunities for vulnerable people in an ecological and environmental context.

Building practical knowledge and skills

The Hub’s work centres on building knowledge and skills through practical ‘hands on’ projects – the permaculture garden, kitchen and woodwork shop are used to grow food, recycle waste, and teach woodwork, mushroom growing and cooking.

In 2019, they completed an ecologically designed tiny home built with recycled materials using passive heating and cooling, PV panels, batteries, rain harvesting and a composting toilet. This was used for teaching ecological construction principles, showcased at sustainability festivals.

Reducing food waste from local businesses

The Ecological Justice Hub is producing impressive results especially when it comes to reducing their waste. All garden and kitchen scraps are composted with coffee grounds and wood shavings supplied by nearby businesses. The group operates a bio-digester that produces biogas for cooking and bottling and maintains an apiary for wax and honey and chicken run for eggs and compost.

Michael McGarvie of The Hub explains: “We collect green waste from the wider neighbourhood and  apply that to our biogas, worms, chooks or compost bays. All of these activities are for the purpose of teaching and engaging and showcased for visitors, partnership agencies and advocacy opportunities.”

Members of the community who process their waste through the Hub have expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to redirect their valuable kitchen waste away from landfill.

Supporting the community during COVID-19

During the 2020 Melbourne COVID-19 lockdown, the Hub offered online zero-waste cooking classes, drawing a significant audience. They also supplied cooked meals, care packs and fresh produce to people isolated by the restrictions

Thousands of home-delivered meals and care packs were distributed during the COVID restrictions. Recipients have shared their deep thanks, not only for the supply of nutritious fresh meals and produce, but also appreciated the regular human contact and sense of care during the global pandemic.

This strengthens our community’s sustainability and resilience capacity, demonstrating what this means in practice in our homes and community interactions.

How can I get involved?

The hub welcomes people to come and experience their sustainability initiatives in action! Check out their activities on Instagram @ecojusticehubmelbourne or send an email to ecojusticehub@jss.org.au to find out more about volunteering opportunities.