20:20 Visions - Sustainability Education in the Garden

The City of Sydney launched its C40 Women4Climate Mentorship Program in May, with Mayor Clover Moore stating “Climate action is the City of Sydney’s top priority”, as reflected in the City’s 2030 Strategy and Climate Emergency declaration.

Ahead of the Global Climate Strike called for 20 September, the program’s 20 mentees are taking this opportunity to share the vision for each of their projects, and their view on climate activism. The outcomes of their projects will be presented at the global Women4Climate Conference in Sydney in April 2020.

Sofia Carvajal is a multimedia producer whose work spans film, video and radio production

Sustainability Education in the Garden


My vision is for accessible, inclusive climate change education and grass-roots activism in one of the few open green spaces in the suburb of Georges River. As President of the Hurstville Community Garden, my aim is to influence, encourage awareness and participation of new programs for adults and children in the wider community by 20% by March 2020, in conjunction with Georges River Council.


My project is a garden educational program; an initiative that has been established for some years but one that I would like to further develop and expand. The program seeks to educate people from all walks of life on how we can all make a difference, however small.

Our first target group is school children. We have successfully run both programs during school terms and school holiday programs for many years. Children are supervised during hands-on activities (which they love!) that connect the dots between keeping litter off our streets and healthy soil in their patch of nature. The program has achieved the fantastic results of repeat visits by schools and participant’s parents over the years. No doubt these pupils will one day return to getting their hands in the soil, once they are older.

The second program, implemented this year, is aimed at people who are eligible for the Newstart allowance actively looking for jobs in the horticultural industry. This group can volunteer to partake in garden duties such as planting, weeding and landscape gardening, which builds practical experience, promotes self-esteem and strengthens feelings of connection within their community. The hours they contribute to the garden also contribute to fulfilling their Newstart obligations and helps to open up opportunities within participant’s chosen fields within the horticultural industry.

The third program is a community-driven, grass roots level, balcony gardening project which aims to teach apartment dwellers in the Georges River area how to grow their own organic seasonal produce.  This will not only delight our participants, but also promotes self-sufficiency, responsible water management, and results in organic, seasonal fresh produce with a low carbon footprint.

 As Hurstville is a wonderfully diverse suburb with people from mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Nepal, Japan, Indonesia and Latin America, this program is heavily community-driven, currently in development catering to local neighbourhood needs and with the support of an interpreter to support inclusivity.

We also look to implement a seed saving program in the future in collaboration with other seed saving groups and our local library to fortify our local seed biodiversity.

We are proud to work with, and support, Georges River Council, which is joining the Cities Power Partnership, and will follow five key actions pursuing renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable transport and working together with other councils.


I will be on the street on 20 September to join the young strikers demanding climate justice for everyone. Our Federal government is failing the Australian people on climate change policy.

“If not you, then who? If not now, then when?”

Photo: Supplied from Sofia Carvajal at Hurstville Community Garden, Georges River 2019.