About 2019-11-11T15:37:55+00:00

CERES is an environmental education centre, urban farm and social enterprise hub located on 4.5 hectares on the Merri Creek in East Brunswick, Melbourne.

We are a place for community-based learning and action to create ways of living together that are:

  • Environmentally beneficial

  • Socially just

  • Economically satisfying

  • Culturally enriching 

  • Spiritually nurturing

Our vision is for people to fall in love with the Earth again.


Since CERES (pronounced ‘series’) was established in 1982, the efforts of many groups, staff and volunteers have transformed the site. Once a desolate wasteland, today CERES is a place of nature and beauty, inhabited by a vibrant and diverse community. It is a place where almost 500,000 people come each year to share ideas about living well together, and directly participate in meeting their social and material needs in a sustainable way.

We reach many more people through our education outreach programs, grocery delivery service and international partnership programs.

Through social enterprises, education and training, employment and community engagement, CERES provides the means by which people can build awareness of current local and global issues, and join in the movement for economic, social and environmental sustainability.

Social Enterprises

Our social enterprises are part of the movement away from globalisation and toward localisation, in particular of our food systems. Local food economies reduce energy use and carbon emissions, reduce packaging, processing and refrigeration, increase diversity, increase food security and create employment. CERES demonstrates how a local food economy can make an entire community healthier and more resilient.

Education and Training

Resilience requires practical skills for living in a more connected way. CERES education and training programs teach some of these skills, and we also invite and host others who share their skills.

Community

CERES helps people fall in love with the Earth, and each other. In advocating for love and connection, especially in times of danger and fear, we are countering the narrative that encourages us to think of ourselves as individual consumers. We are human beings of Planet Earth, and we are profoundly and radically connected to the Earth and to each other.

History of the Site

For thousands of years the Wurundjeri people lived on the land where CERES now stands. The Merri Creek was a focus of their lifestyle, a place to swim and play and a vital source of food.

Following the European invasion, the Victorian gold rush and the growth of Melbourne city, the site was quarried for bluestone then turned into a landfill site for household and construction waste. As industry moved in the water became polluted and the trees and wildlife disappeared.

In 1982 small group of people in the local area approached the then-Brunswick (now Moreland) Council about making use of the land to grow vegetables and make compost as part of a “work-for-the-dole” program. Explorations in alternative technology quickly followed, and shortly afterwards, invitations for school kids to learn about these emerging programs in green technology, recycling and organic farming.

Along with Merri Creek Management Committee and Friends of Merri Creek, CERES and volunteers planted hundreds of trees and shrubs and lobbied governments to clean up the creek. In 1994, after 12 years of remediation work, Sacred Kingfishers returned to nest along the banks of the creek, having been absent for many years.

Now, CERES is an award-winning community place that is visited by people from around the world who want to understand how this place has come to be, and how they can take some of the ingredients back to their own places. We think the key ingredient is love for each other and the Earth.

CERES is an incorporated not-for-profit organisation, governed by a Board of Management elected annually at our Annual General Meeting. The Annual General Meeting is held in November each year and members are encouraged to attend.

Board Members

The 10 dedicated people making up the CERES Board for 2019 are:

  1. Chairperson: Jo Barraket
  2. Secretary: Noel Blencowe
  3. Treasurer: Thomas Dobson
  4. General Member: Rod Duncan
  5. General Member: Tony Marjoram
  6. General Member: Sophie Newing
  7. Council Representative: Cr Jess Dorney
  8. Site Groups Representative: Jan Garood
  9. Staff Representative: John Burne
  10. Chief Executive Officer: Cinnamon Evans

Find out more about our board members and senior staff here.

The CERES Board meets monthly, generally on the fourth Tuesday at 6.30pm. Members are welcome to attend. For more information please email Noel Blencowe, CERES Secretary, at blencowe@iprimus.com.au.

A copy of Board meeting minutes is available for perusal at Reception. If you wish to obtain a copy of minutes of a particular meeting please contact reception at reception@ceres.org.au or (03) 9389 0100.

CERES employs around 130 paid staff.

Executive Team
Cinnamon Evans (CEO)
Sieta Beckwith – Narrative Director
Nick Curmi – Built & Natural Environment Director
Chris Ennis – Business Innovation Director
Melissa Lawson – Food Systems & Engagement Director
Lorna Pettifer – Learning Innovation Director
Nicolas Porter – Chief Financial Officer

Area Managers
Luisa Cardamone – Courses
John Burne – Infrastructure
Jane Burns – Education Outreach
Laurel Coad – Nursery
Cass Froese – Venue Hire
Chloe Horner – Education Excursions & Incursions
Sally Kennedy – The Merri Cafe
Beck Morley – Grocery
Tim Dyson – IT
Meg Stewart – Propagation
Ben Walta – Global

We also engage many hundreds of volunteers, without whom we would not be able to achieve our mission.

Find our more about our Board and senior staff here.

CERES circa 1980
CERES Circa 1982

Above: the early days of CERES – not a tree in sight!

Updates from the CERES Board:

Our enterprises: