CONSIDER the term "global village" … a cosy, feel-good concept, a high-minded, world-embracing ideal or, as the conspiracy theorists would have it, a sinister play for economic power?
Take your pick, but the key word is "village". For me, this conjures up a picture of a small community in which everybody either knows everybody, or at least something about them, but more importantly, engages with their neighbours.
Now though, the term has increasingly been adopted in town and city suburbs. A case in point is Buderim, where what town planners would call the CBD is widely known as The Village.
In the 150 years since Tom Petrie climbed its slopes, Buderim has been seen first as a timber-getters' El Dorado, next as a many-favoured farming area, and then as a haven for well heeled retirees, but in recent years it has changed its demography to a much broader cross-section of age groups and occupations.
Thanks to its fertility and its benign climate, there is a preponderance of householders who love their gardens. Until now, however, their efforts have been mainly concentrated behind their front fences.
For a notable exception that has flown under the radar, come with me to Food Street. You won't find it on a map or a global positioning system, and it is not even a single street, but rather a concept.
Food Street is the name chosen by a group of friends and neighbours for their precinct, which includes several quiet, leafy streets west of Gloucester Road, all within walking distance of The Village.
The concept sprang from a discussion a couple of years ago between neighbours Duncan and John, who were bemoaning the high price of limes and wondered where might be the best place to grow their own.
They saw the nature strip as an obvious if unconventional choice for a GYO, and from this point the conversation widened into agreement on the need for more cohesion, co-operation and engagement between all who live on or walk through their patch.
Now, a leisurely stroll around Food Street will open your eyes to what can be achieved with vision, enthusiasm and goodwill - not only a productive exercise in urban agriculture but a truly neighbourly initiative in preserving and fostering the specialness of the area.
Citrus, stone fruit, figs and a wide variety of vegetables have already cropped, and these are selectively and sensitively harvested under an understood code of sharing.
Increasingly throughout Australia, growing one's own fruit and vegetables and the sharing of produce are seen as both pleasurable and rewarding.
There is evidence of this in the community gardens springing up all over the Sunshine Coast, but Food Street takes a significant step further. It could well be the precursor to a whole new approach to urban agriculture and the growing not only of food, but more importantly of neighbourhood relationships and intra-community engagement.
I don't live in Food Street, but I often take a stroll there. Why not do the same, and see if its example could catch on in your neck of the woods?