An Open Letter

An Open Letter to Greenfields, Landcom, Camden Council, NSW State Government: Development Partners for Oran Park Town, Western Sydney

Oran Park Town Lr

Scale model of Oran Park Town. Photograph: John Reid

We are writing to you in response to our visit to the Information Centre at Oran Park Town on Wednesday 28 April, 2010.

We are a group of artists from the School of Art, The Australian National University (ANU), Canberra, and we are currently undertaking fieldwork in western Sydney with reference to land being used for agricultural purposes and for urban development.

The staff at the Centre was very helpful in assisting us to interpret the displays and in providing answers to our questions. We were especially interested to see and hear about the work that has gone into the planning of Oran Park Town especially that which anticipated the cultural and environmental needs of the future community. The visit generated lively discussion amongst the group.

There was one point about which we all agreed and we are writing to convey this consensus to you.  We felt that it was crucial for a town development like Oran Park Town to have provision for the growing of fresh and seasonal food to augment the dining tables of the Town residents.  The options include community gardens in dedicated plots, along street verges, and on buildings and rooftops.

Although we realise that there needs to be potential for the future Town community to take initiatives and responsibility for their own lifestyles, we felt that the provision of land for the growing of food is just as important as the provision of a community centre for other social and cultural activities. The latter you have commendably provided for.

As we understand that the planning process for the Town is still taking place, we submit for your consideration the prospect of making corporate provision for land to be set aside for the Oran Park Town community to grow fruit and vegetables as an investment in good community health and sustainable communal living.

We are working with social scientists from the ANU and sustainability experts who are knowledgeable and articulate about the social and health benefits of community gardens. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss this proposal further and to introduce our colleagues to you should you be interested.

Yours faithfully,

John Reid, Fran Ifould, Felicity Green, Kevin Miller, Kerry Shepherdson, Suzanne Poutu

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