Urban Food Gardening

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With renowned horticulturist and author Justin Calverley, this very popular course will introduce you to sustainable and organic food gardening.  

Enquire now

Please note, this course will not be running again until 2023, please keep an eye on our website in January 2023 for the next available dates.


This popular course will introduce you to a range of topics in sustainable and organic food gardening.  
This course is ideal for people who love gardening and the outdoors, are considering a career in horticulture, would like to learn more about growing their own food successfully or who would like an introduction to aspects of working in the industry before choosing a specific course/study pathway.

No prior experience is necessary. The course will run from the Eltham Neighbourhood House Community Garden for the first 4 weeks and then at Edendale Community Farm in Eltham for the next 4 weeks.

About the tutor

Justin Calverley is a Horticultural expert with over twenty years’ experience.  His passion for the natural world began as a young inquisitive boy who never wanted to ‘come inside for dinner’ and has since developed into a rich and fulfilling career in horticultural design, construction and education.

Justin’s unique style, detailed knowledge and hands-on approach have become highly sought after on the presentation and public speaking circuit from Councils, Schools, training organisations and media. Justin’s consultation and design services are in high demand from novice to experienced home gardeners as well as private businesses such as nurseries.

Justin specializes in Horticultural Education, facilitating Horticultural and Permaculture workshops and presentations across Melbourne and country Victoria.  

Justin is a lead trainer in adult education at the award winning CERES Environmental Park, where for the past 10 years he has presented workshops on topics ranging from fruit and vegetable production to Bush foods, garden design to sustainable gardening, and more.

Justin Calverley

Justin is a founding member and broadcaster on Melbourne’s highly popular 3RRR’s horticultural show ‘Dirty Deeds’ which is now in its eighth year, and has appeared on various Television and Radio gardening programs including Channel 31’s ‘The Garden Tap’, “Vasilli’s Garden”, ABC’s ‘Can we help?’ and 3CR’s Gardening Show.

Justin's true passion is unquestionably edible gardens and he thrives on the opportunity to share his appreciation of nature, his knowledge of flora and fauna as well as his experiences in farming with those seeking to begin or to enhance their journey towards a more sustainable lifestyle.

Course dates, hours and location

The next Urban Food Gardening course will commence in Term 2, 2023.

Dates and times will be available by March 2023 


Funded: $60 enrolment fee
Concession: $30 enrolment fee
Fee-paying: $360

Government-subsidised fee
If you are a permanent Resident and/or Australian Citizen/New Zealand Citizen and not enrolled in mainstream secondary school you are eligible for a government subsidised fee.

Please note, you will need to provide a copy of your Photo I.D and Medicare card for a government funded enrolment. 

Concession fee
This fee is available to:

  • Commonwealth Health Care Card holders, and their dependant children and dependant spouses
  • Pensioner Concession Card holders, and their dependant children and dependant spouses
  • Veteran's Gold Card holders (but not their dependants).
  • Please note: if under 17 years of age and disengaged from school, participants will need to obtain an official Transition from School Form for us to sight.
    There are no pre-requisites for this course.
    People with a disability are encouraged to apply.

If you are eligible, you will also need to present your concession card at one of our centres prior to the start of the course in order to be eligible for a concession fee.  

For non-eligible individuals, the full fee will apply.

Withdrawals and refunds

Refer to our Fees, charges and refunds policy for information about withdrawals and refunds in our government-subsidised courses.  

What to expect

Working as a team with fellow participants, you will gain a broad overview and practical, hands-on experience in topics such as:

  • soil types
  • no dig gardens
  • nutrients and fertilisers
  • composting and worm farms
  • vegetables and seasons
  • pests and disease

You will spend time outdoors (getting your hands dirty!) under the leadership of an experienced trainer and horticulturalist, along with time in the classroom. On completion of this course, participants will be equipped with an overview of horticulture with an emphasis on sustainable organic food production. Sustainable organic food production is a growing industry in Victoria and participants will become familiar with the Horticulture industry standards regarding OHS.

What to bring

It is essential that participants wear suitable clothing for working in an outdoor environment:

  • Sturdy workboots
  • A broad-brimmed hat

Please also bring:

  • a drink bottle
  • lunch
  • a snack/morning tea if desired
  • notepad and pen.

There is a small fridge where you can store your lunch for the day.


This is an entry-level course, so it is designed for participants with no prior knowledge or experience in horticulture. 
The course involves participating independently in practical, hands-on activities both in- and outdoors.

Learning pathways

The Adult Community & Further Education Board subsidises places in this course to support people to return to study, the workforce or volunteer work.

People completing this course may go on to certificate/qualification courses in areas such as horticulture or permaculture.

How to enrol

Applications for enrolment can be processed using our online system.

Enrol now

If the course you are interested in is not listed, it may be booked out or not yet open for enrolment. Please contact us using the 'Enquire now' button at the top of the page to find out about upcoming courses.

If you are a concession card holder you will need to present your concession card at one of our centres prior to the start of the course in order to be eligible for the concession fee.