A lone tomato plant that pushed up by chance in between the pavers of Mike Marriott’s yard inspired the veggie patch for the five apartments in his block.

That veggie patch is now thriving, nourished by the compost that his neighbours bring and admired by passers-by. “We don’t really have a roster or rules about the garden, everyone just does what they can. It’s been a great way to get together and know each other better”.

The garden is part of Mike’s broader philosophy of simplifying his life and reducing what he has.

He got rid of his television years ago and moved with his daughter into a smaller apartment that backs onto Alma Park. “We have a giant backyard now and I don’t even have to mow it!”.

Something else he’s learning to live without is his car.  He was the first person in Melbourne to share his car with neighbours on car-share platform, Car Next Door. He’s had to get used to strangers using it. It’s not a cherished possession or status symbol, but more of a communal space now. “It picks up a few nicks here and there, but I’m really not worried, it’s a car”.

Preferring to rent his car out to neighbours, he travels a lot more by bike, using it to commute to work. “I’ve actually found the times I’ve driven to work to be stressful and awful. If I go by bike, I can arrive at work in less than thirty minutes, and I don’t have to find a park, or pay for one”.

It’s interesting times, with more and more people in our community realising that cutting down on what they have and what they use, actually makes life easier and happier. Just ask Mike Marriott.

The City of Port Phillip is keen to share stories of people in the community living sustainably, launching new projects, or finding new ways to share what they have and get to know their neighbours, if you have a story, let us know at enviro@portphillip.vic.gov.au