Nightcliff Uniting Church

PRESS RELEASE: NT Church wins Environmental Awards!

Nightcliff Uniting Church has become the first church in the Northern Territory to receive two prestigious environmental awards, with a presentation ceremony on Sunday. The church received the Five Leaf Eco-Awards Basic Certificate and Eco-Worship Awards in recognition of their extensive work for the environment over the last decade.

The church was recognized for the success of their Mulch Pitt Community Food Garden, a beautiful permaculture garden behind the church including fruit, chickens, bees, shady tunnels and vegetables. Once a car park, the garden is now a tangle of life and community, producing food for the church and community.

The garden is based on the three Permaculture principles: care for Earth; care for people; enough for all. In practical terms, that means the garden is organic (no chemicals) and tries to be in tune with the local environment, the neighbourhood, and with all humility, the universe.

Nightcliff Uniting Church were also recognized for their Op Shop, repair cafes, solar panels, sustainability and gardening workshops, composting program, food sharing, green films and events, partnerships with local environment and social justice group and their work as an Alternative Resource Community.

The church aspires to be “an Alternative Resource Community providing an ARC (or ARK) for Darwin. We partner with local environmental and justice groups offering a space that is unique and sustaining to all who gather, a place to draw breathe, reflect, cry, laugh, reconnect to God, self and others, and continue renewed on the journey!”

The church Op-Shop has been a part of the congregation’s life for four decades. It provides inexpensive clean clothing and has recently started sending excess clothes to a remote indigenous community to on-sell and raise their own congregational funds.

“We now understand our Op-Shop to be an integral part of the “3R”s of recycling, and are aware that many of our clients purchase used clothing to reduce their carbon footprint and to make an environmentalist statement”.

They also hold a Fair Trade (donation) coffee shop in conjunction with the Op-Shop called ‘Frilly’s’ for the collective of Frill Neck Lizards that visit the garden during the wet season.

Director of the Five Leaf Eco-Awards, Jessica Morthorpe, travelled to Darwin for the presentation.

“I’ve been hearing from people around Australia about this amazing church and garden and in Nightcliff for the last eight years”, she said. “I’m so glad to finally be here and be able to present Nightcliff Uniting Church with these awards.”

“It’s also particularly exciting that this is the first church in N.T. to receive an award,” she said. “Hopefully this will encourage lots of other churches in the area to pursue an award and be recognized for their environmental care.”

“Our program is very flexible, and any church, big or small, can earn an award with a bit of commitment,” Ms Morthorpe said. She added, “Many churches have already done enough to earn Five Leaf Eco-Awards, they just don’t realize it. Even if you have only done a little please fill out the survey on our website and let us know. We can’t give you an award if we don’t know what you’ve done!”

The Five Leaf Eco-Awards are an ecumenical environmental change initiative for churches and religious organisations founded in 2008 to assist, inspire and reward churches for environmental action. The Five Leaf Eco-Awards are non- competitive, with churches completing task from a list of flexible criteria to earn each certificate. There are currently six awards of varying difficulty available. The Five Leaf Eco-Awards operate nationally and across denominations. More information on the Five Leaf Eco-Awards is available at www.fiveleafecoawards.org

To learn more about the Mulch Pit Community Food Garden or get involved, please visit http://themulchpit.net/

Photo caption: Nightcliff Uniting Church members celebrate their awards in the Mulch Pit Community Food Garden.

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