Landcare Legend

Joe Carter

“Its mentors gave me the voice to portray the work those on the land do, and to promote the opportunities it holds.”

I grew up in Sydney. I moved to the Illawarra in 2001, then went back and forth to Sydney for a few years, finally settling in Kiama in 2008.

I am a foundation member of the Kiama Community Garden and from there I started the Hillside Native Food Forest Landcare group.

I also volunteer with the Bombo Headland Landcare group.

I am passionate about learning more about the superb natural environment and remnant ecosystems in the Illawarra, and sharing that knowledge with the wider community.

I believe in acting locally and pursuing incremental positive change.

I have been a carpenter and enjoy making furniture with timber from demolished buildings that often goes to waste. I love giving the timber a new life.

I work part time with the Illawarra District Noxious Weeds Authority controlling significant weeds in our area.

Areas of interest for me expressed in the Hillside and the Kiama Community Garden are:

+ Ecosystem restoration and regeneration.
+ Links between healthy local biodiversity and food security.
+ Habitat creation.
+ Waste minimisation.
+ Healthy local seasonal eating.

With the Hillside site and the Kiama Community Garden being adjacent we have created a demonstrative link from local rainforest to local edible rainforest plants to non-local edible natives into the community garden which is predominantly exotic. By installing native stingless bees in the community garden we are the linking healthy ecosystems to food security, showing local pollinators benefiting exotic and native plant systems. Our Butterfly, Bee and Bird section of the Hillside demonstrates to the local community the beauty and benefits of local plants in their garden. My hope is we will propagate from these plants and sell them as garden plants to the community and by doing so get habitat plants into people backyards.

On a global scale I see climate change as the most pressing issue. The burning of fossil fuels cannot be sustained. Locally, habitat destruction and land degradation is causing problems of biodiversity loss and species extinction. On both a local and global scale this loss is reducing our ability to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Through TAFE, Landcare and the community garden I have met people who have taught me many things. I have also met young people interested in these projects who have thrived on the knowledge available from these groups. These young people could be the next generation’s sustainability champions. The problem at this stage is that the young people who come to us are already interested, active and engaged.

Whilst these engaged people should be nurtured I would also like to reach out to the ones that haven’t quite got there yet.