Project Leader

Dr Helen McGregor (Redefining Agriculture)


This project builds directly on outcomes from project PBSF027. Similarly, this project takes an interdisciplinary approach appropriate for the sophisticated and complex context offered by culturally diverse communities in urban and periurban areas. The academic literature, as compiled in PBSF027, identifies biosecurity preparedness benefits in building social capital. Improved social capital at a local level in turn drives meaningful collaboration and engagement. In this context, it also supports biosecurity compliance and involvement through targeted, local-level community-based engagement strategies and community facilitated information transfer, and therefore removes reliance on more traditional approaches that are based on a homogenous cultural demographic.

Objectives and Impact

  • How are demographic differences across the gardening community of a major city reflected in most effective learning and engagement styles on the topic of plant health and biosecurity?
  • What proxy data can strongly indicate where cultural/language barriers could be in an urban environment?

This study seeks to determine how existing, open-source data can act as a proxy to provide a strong indicator of cultural and/or language barriers in urban environments – in this case among the broader urban gardening community of Melbourne (using community gardens as test cases). This work will also test a co-innovation approach to develop tailored upskilling models with community gardens on the topic of crop protection and is conducted with the specific intention to further inform best methods to improve pest knowledge, learning and sharing capacity within and between gardens and gardeners in culturally diverse communities in Australia. 


1A. Geospatial demographic mapping using multiple types of proxy data (e.g., historical immigration, residential block sizes, languages spoken (primary), cultural heritage densities) to indicate culturally diverse or homogenous communities in the study area.

1B. Select minimum 3 urban or periurban community gardens that are in areas representative of the cultural diversity in the area/suburbs mapped in activity 1A. Physically survey the garden to understand membership demographic, preferred plants and interview gardeners to understand gardening practices, planting choices, and learning pathways. Compare between gardens.

2A. Co-innovation approach to develop a crop protection learning plan (citrus). Focus group exercises with selected community gardens will generate input from end-users to help develop a tailored citrus protection learning plan for their garden community. The study will compare how end outputs vary between gardens that display differing cultural mixes.


  1. Urban gardening community diversity mapping report for Greater Melbourne, including ground truthing results and insights into community garden growing practices, planting decisions and attitudes for selected groups;
  2. Citrus protection upskilling plans for at least three community gardens;
  3. Analysis of results and recommendations on proxy indicators of garden cultural diversity and considerations when developing upskilling and engagement plans for these communities.