The monthly Fremantle Network event upstairs at the National Hotel on Monday evening featured Adam Jorlen of ENKEL and Adin Lang of the newly founded Friends of Freo.
ENKEL will move into the former Navy Stores at Cantonment Hill this year and is a social innovation centre with the aim to create a new generation of changemakers.
The group has a 20-year lease and there will be a big climbing wall, collaboration with Freo Food, and there will be stations for robotics and coding, a school of changemakers and Knowmads.
All activities in the big hall will be open to the public.
The ENKEL concept intrigues me as I like change and innovation, but for the sceptic there seems to be unresolved naivety about it. It worries me that the group only has 55 members when it has been operating out of Victoria Park for a few years now.
I am all for giving the group a fair go and the benefit of the doubt though, because creative rejuvenation is very important for the future of Fremantle, but I have no idea how they are going to survive financially and pay the required rent to the City of Fremantle.
Change is healthy when it is good change, so I definitely will try to get involved with ENKEL events to make sure that the new concept also involves older people and taps into our experience and knowledge.
And ENKEL means simple or easy in Swedish, Adam Jorlen told us. To broaden your horizon, let me point out that it also means nephew in German and ankle in Dutch. ; >)
Adin Lang who just started Friends of Freo as an extension of Friends of Hollis Park, wants to connect the green spine of Fremantle and do community nature conservation work in collaboration with the City of Fremantle.
It is about connecting the community groups at Cantonment Hill, Clontarf Hill, Booyembara Park, Hollis Park, etc. and share tools and knowledge, and tackle unique issues.
I think that is a good idea because community groups often work in isolation of other community groups with similar concepts.
Former Councillor Robert Fittock pointed out that Adin Lang had not included North Fremantle in his map and Adin promised to change that.
I always enjoy the Fremantle Network events and the next one will be on the last Monday of April where people from the affordable and ethical housing project Nightingale will speak.
Robert Peters of FREO FOOD was the second speaker at Monday’s Fremantle Network event at the National Hotel, and the concept of the community having more control over the food chain by purchasing from small growers and farmers is very interesting.
“It is a platform to regain ownership of our food system to build connections with producers and each other to revolutionise how we engage with food.”
Unfortunately it was not very well communicated how it worked and how the idea can grow without becoming another fresh food shop. At the moment there is a depot but Robert did not mention where that is, so I assume we’ll have to check out the Facebook page to find out more, but he did mention that food could become more expensive once they went into a brick and mortar venture.
Better quality food produced by local producers but 10-15 per cent cheaper than the shops sounds almost too good, but the future will tell if that is sustainable.
I am not sure also if Food Freo is a not for profit group, but one can also go to houses and buy products there direct from those who grow vegies in their gardens.
Blueberries from Jandakot, pork and other meat from Margaret River, eggs from a couple who started a small egg farm, bread, root vegetables and lettuce, mushrooms, fish, local garlic. It all sounds great, and Robert said it was “really value for farmers and consumers.”
I was surprised though to hear that the group is now thinking of including craft from local artisans as that is a whole different kettle of fish, and my impression was that there are a lot of unresolved business issues the group should sort out first before expanding and sell anything else.
For that same reason I am at loss why Freo Food applied for a six-month lease of the No 1 studio at J Shed in the Bathers Beach Art Precinct. I am not at all sure how a food business does fit in with any of the criteria for that art area.
Anyhow, it is a great idea to buy direct from producers and if it can become a viable business good on them!
I very much liked the Fremantle Network event at the National Hotel on Tuesday evening with a panel of business people.
Chamber of Commerce CEO Olwyn Williams, National Hotel owner and new BID chairman Karl Bullers and Many 6160 manager Kate Hulett were all on the ball of what Fremantle needs, especially Kate with her very positive and embracing call for collaboration was very inspiring to listen to.
Olwyn Williams said Fremantle should be the jewel in the crown as a retail experience but there was a need to reposition the second most visited place in WA. She said there had been a decline in retail and traditional services for years and that Fremantle was mainly a weekend economy.
The Chamber supports more housing and workplace development in the CBD to make Freo shine as a destination again, and we need to have all week activation not just on weekends and evenings.
The East End needs to change and Fremantle needs a fresh look, Olwyn said.
Karl Bullers said that Fremantle has a very strong base to build on but that safety and security are major challenges for the city. Heritage is the strongest asset that can be built on but we also need sympathetic development.
We have a unique city with Bathers Beach in the heart of the city but that is not promoted well enough.
Freo needs serious rejuvenation and busses should not go through Market Street and South Terrace.
Karl also called for free weekday evening parking and I believe that is a very good idea as it probably cost more to have parking inspectors on duty than the City receives from parking meters during the evening hours. He also called for more public toilets.
I cannot stop myself from expressing my admiration for Kate Hullet who manages Many 6160 at Kings Square and also runs the hat shop Kate&Abel there. What great positive and inspirational vibes she produced. The Freo glass is more than half full when one listens to her.
Kate said we need to stop saying THEY need to do something about it in Fremantle when it is all of us who can be part of the changes and improvements. “We’ve got the power ourselves to change Fremantle!”
We need to challenge people’s perception of Fremantle. It is a wonderful place and we need to stop the boring repetitive negative record, Kate said.
She also said businesses needed to do more cross promotion on social media to support one another and that we need cultural events that are all encompassing.
The present and future presidents of the Notre Dame Students Association were rightly upset that none of the panel speakers had mentioned the significant economic contribution the students and staff make to Fremantle and I agree with that.
As I said tonight, I don’t believe we are selling the Fremantle story very well at all with people from out of town not being made prominently aware of cheap all-day parking spaces all over Fremantle and we can do a whole lot better than that. Fremantle has a great positive story to tell and the entire community should be doing that!
The monthly FREMANTLE NETWORK talk is on at the National Hotel this Tuesday from 5.30 pm, so come along.
I really enjoy the talks as they are very diverse and informative. Last month someone from St Pats talked about homelessness and tomorrow we will see a youth perspective on Fremantle and the world when Liam Carter speaks.
We often believe that young people are not interested in local politics so it will be interesting to hear from Liam what he believes young people are contributing to making Freo a better place.
Liam Carter is a passionate local youth advocate who grew up and has spent his entire life living in South Fremantle. After asking how best to give back and make a difference in the Freo community, he decided to work with the City of Fremantle to create a Youth Advisory Council.
Liam has been working to change the debate around youth issues and enable young people to engage in community problem solving to the benefit of Fremantle, and its surrounds.
The extent of youth engagement in many cities is service provision, but Liam is working to increase the accessibility of planners to young people and create a lasting dialogue that gets good results not just for youth, but for the whole community.
It’s a free event and the National Hotel bar and kitchen are open, so stay on for dinner and drinks and network.