The Edible Gardens Festival 2023 program has been finalised and tickets are now on sale to see a dozen of the most inspiring food gardens across the Margaret River region on May 20-21.

Tickets to the annual not-for-profit food growing and sustainability event are just $23 plus booking fee to visit all 12 carefully curated gardens between Margaret River, Cowaramup and Witchcliffe.

Passionate local gardeners and festival organisers Trevor Paddenburg and Valerie Vallee said the 2023 program features 12 brand new edible gardens, spanning a huge range of shapes, sizes and styles. But all have a focus on growing fruit and vegetables, building soil health, composting, reducing waste and living a more sustainable life.

“There’s something for everyone at this year’s festival,” Ms Vallee said. “You’ll get to pick up knowledge, ideas and inspiration from the gardeners – some who are real local experts when it comes to wastewater or soils. And you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at their plots, which range from small suburban blocks to acreage properties, some well-established and some that are a work in progress.”

The program includes Anthony and Katie Smith’s suburban block in Brookfield, which has been transformed into a productive, functional and beautiful place to raise their kids and feed the family. Mr Smith runs wastewater management consultancy Water Wally and the garden demonstrates how to capture, store and save water through fruit trees and vegetable beds irrigated with greywater and the use of compost loos, ponds, a rain garden and more.

Former flower farmer Linda Moran has been busy creating a netted food forest complete with plums, peaches, nectarines, figs, guavas, pears, apples, cherries and bananas, plus berries, a huge variety of native and exotic flowers, seasonal annual vegetables and perennials.

Gillian Pearce’s 2000sqm place at Reserve on Redgate boasts an emerging permaculture garden that’s home to thriving vegetable patches, chook run, fruit trees fed with compost and greywater, tropical garden and potting shed. “I attended last year’s festival and it was so inspiring. Now that my own edible garden is taking shape, I’m really excited to share it with others in the community,” she said.

Some of the top food gardens in the Witchcliffe Ecovillage will also be on display, including a trio of neighbouring households with abundant food gardens that are growing after much hard work to increase soil life and nutrients through green manures, cover crops, mulch, seaweed and compost.

The Ecovillage’s horticulture manager and soil educator Mark Tupman, who runs the consultancy Productive Ecology, will also demonstrate how he’s turning a bare 2-acre agricultural block into a vegetable growing powerhouse.

Meanwhile, some of Cowaramup’s best food gardens feature on the program too, including Jacquie Nicol and her partner Ryan’s more wild approach to edible gardening (with two energetic dogs to factor in). And ticketholders can also visit Burnside Organic Farm, learning how to grow avocados and capers, and trying a wine from the cellar door at the same time.

It’s all part of the Edible Gardens Festival’s aim to connect community and empower people with knowledge and inspiration to get their hands dirty, grow their own food and have fun in the process.

“It’s an amazing event for our community, giving locals the chance to learn more about everything from growing your own fruit and vegetables to saving water, composting, reducing waste, living more sustainably, using smart design and reducing our impact on the earth,” said Mr Paddenburg.

“It’s been so fascinating to meet our region’s green thumbs, hear their stories and visit their incredible gardens. Now, we can’t wait to share the experience with our community.”

The event is supported by the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River’s Community and Development Events Grant. The organisers have also partnered with the Margaret River Community Pantry and Margaret River Regional Environment Centre.

“Whether you’re already growing your own food or want to make a start, don’t miss this chance to get up close and personal with experienced green thumbs and tap into an immense bank of local, place-based knowledge to help you on your food-growing journey,” said Ms Vallee.

“Given the incredible feedback from last year’s event, we’re excited to bring it back to the community in 2023. We’ll also be recruiting volunteers soon to help make the Edible Gardens Festival more amazing than ever, so stay tuned for volunteering opportunities.”