If you can’t produce all of your food, there are ways to obtain more at very little cost from outside of your borders. Here’s a few easy ways:

Trade with your neighbours

  • Plenty of people keep chooks, have fruit and nut trees and just like you, they could have surpluses that they are happy to trade for some of your produce or labour.
  • Others may even have fruit and nut trees they don’t pick and are happy for you to harvest them.

Food commons

  • While getting around on foot or by bike, keep an eye out for any sources of food in public areas.
  • For example, we have had good harvests of plums from trees found in streets and laneways.
  • When harvesting food this way, only take a portion for yourself and leave enough for others who may also want to forage from the same area.


Plum trees in a suburban street


Edible weed foraging

Community gardens

  • You might be lucky enough to have a community garden in your area that you can join.
  • Not only do community gardens promote access to foods, they also help you to link up with other keen gardeners and food growers.

Use your nature strip

  • Some councils (including ours) allow home occupants to use the nature strip for gardening.
  • Check your local council as there may be some rules to follow.
  • For example, our council stipulates that nature strip gardens must not exceed 50cm in height so that small children on footpaths can be seen by drivers and nature strip gardens for multi-dwelling blocks must be approved by the occupants in all of the dwellings.


“Community Gardens of Melbroune’s northern suburbs” by TEDxMelbourne is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


Secure more land

  • We haven’t tried these methods yet though other people have had success.
  • Urban gardeners like Curtis Stone have secured more land as a renter to run a thriving urban agriculture business on less than an acre of rented land.
  • Melbourne group 3000 acres are an example of an organisation that helps communities to find more public and private land to grow food on.
  • You can even find a neighbouring yard and ask to use their space to grow some vegetables in exchange for giving them some produce and keeping their yard tidy.

If you are running out of room and want to grow or harvest more local produce, there’s ample opportunities for a Smart renter to secure more produce in the neighbourhood.

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