Tag Archives: Community Gardens

Do you want to support WA community gardens?

growing communities forum 051

Spread the word…  an exciting opportunity exists for people that are keen to support the development of the WA community garden sector to takeover the administration of the Community Gardens WA website, the WA Community Gardens Network Facebook Group and $5000 funding!

Background
Some online resources and funding have been held in trust for the WA community garden sector since the conclusion of the Growing Communities WA project that I managed back in 2008-2010. The intention of these resources is to provide networking platforms (online/offline) for people involved in, or who are supporters of, community gardens in WA that facilitate:

  • Relationship-building between people with a shared interest in community gardening in WA
  • Information-sharing related to community gardening in WA
  • Discussion about community gardening issues and challenges in WA
  • Coordination of broader activities to support the development of the WA community garden sector
  • Anything else that the people involved in these networks decide is worthwhile and will meet their needs

Expressions of Interest are currently being sort from individuals, groups or organisations that are keen to support community garden sector networking in WA through taking over the administration of these resources.

Full details can be found here.

New grant funding for WA community gardens

I want to share some exciting news!

Today the WA Government announced a new Community Gardens Grants Program. $400,000 is available over four years to assist with the establishment or development of community gardens in WA.

I took a welcome break from my office this afternoon to join Local Government and Community Services Minister Tony Simpson, the Mayor and CEO from the City of Stirling, Department of Local Government and Communities staff, and local community gardeners at the always charming Joondanna Community Garden for the official announcement.

In addition to funding for individual gardens, grants can also go towards activities or initiatives that build the capacity of the WA community garden sector (think networking events, bus tours, training, and so on – like the support provided during the Growing Communities WA project).

Full details and application forms can be found on the Department of Local Government and Communities’ website. The closing date for applications for the 2014 round of funding is 5pm Thursday 27 February 2014.

Social Fabric provides specialist advice and support services to new and established community gardens and their partners. If you’d like to know more check out the Community Gardens page or get in touch with me.

CF Funding launch

Today’s launch event for the new grants program, at Joondanna Community Garden

Joondanna Community Food Garden

Last week I had the chance to visit the Joondanna Community Food Garden (corner of Stoneham and Wade Streets in Joondanna). Through my role as Coordinator of Growing Communities WA (2008 – 2010), I provided advice and support to the garden during its feasibility and start-up stages, so it was great to finally have a chance to visit to see how the community’s plans have borne fruit (sorry it’s hard to resist a gardening pun!).

The garden is nestled in the middle of a suburban neighbourhood in Perth, surrounded by houses and blocks of units. It has some lovely established native trees onsite that shade a gathering area that can be used for events, as well as allotment gardens and fruit and olive trees.

Here are some snaps from my visit:

A striking community art piece next to clear garden signage makes a good first impression

Allotment garden beds that are leased to community members

Garden art adds personality to the garden

A type of garden edging I haven’t seen before – paving slabs

Social activities and working bees are an important part of sustaining the gardening community and maintaining the garden

Giving some produce away for free is a useful strategy for minimising theft in a garden that’s open to the public at all times

A worm shed onsite = happy vegetables!

Gardeners enjoying a pleasant Saturday afternoon

For more info about community gardens in WA and to find a garden near you visit Community Gardens WA.

For info about the specialist advice and support services that are available to help you at whatever stage you are up to with a community garden – feasibility, start-up, visioning and design, construction and development, ongoing management or partnering with a garden – check out Community Gardens.

A taste of community hubs on WA’s south coast

Whenever I travel (whether to the next city/town or far away), I enjoy discovering, exploring and connecting into local places that are vibrant hubs for creative community activity. On a recent break to Denmark and Albany on the south coast of WA I found three such places:

Centre for Sustainable Living (CSL), Denmark

I arrived at the centre and was greeted by the enticing smell of an Indian feast being cooked up in the centre’s kitchen, in preparation for a fundraising dinner being hosted their that night. No surprises I came back that evening to support the cause!

The centre is managed by Green Skills and a lot of great stuff happens there. I was visiting specifically to check out the community garden that’s been started (I think) in the last 6 months. A feature of the garden is a bush foods area where plants that will provide food during each of the six Nyungar seasons are being grown. I was struck by the ephemeral artwork that has been created as a centrepiece for this garden.

Ephemeral artwork at CSL community garden

Ephemeral artwork made using natural materials

It’s not a new idea I know, but I’m currently feeling really excited about how community artwork (including ephemeral, impermanent works and performance) can help bring life to public places and I’m finding ways to incorporate more of this sort of process into my work with communities and places. Check out these lovely urban nests inhabiting the scaffolding of a building being renovated in Madrid for example.

A highlight of the CSL is a special place called the Sanctuary. Look at it – don’t you just want to spend time there!

The Sanctuary, Denmark

The Sanctuary, Denmark

Sanctuary

Inside the Sanctuary

I love the garden on the roof and, again, the artwork interwoven into the place that imbues it with story, life and colour.

The Tip Shop, Denmark

What’s a trip to Denmark without a visit to the Tip Shop I say? Some other time I’ll have to tell you about why I’m excited about waste and creative reuse. On this visit though, the thing that stayed with me most was being reminded of the diversity of types of places in our local communities that can become hubs where people can meet, connect and make interesting things happen. And how the principles of place making can be used to enhance such very different places – main streets, community gardens, small bars, public parks and tip shops!

At this one in Denmark, they’re working to expand the range of activities that happen there – one of the key strategies for attracting more people to visit and stay awhile. There’s a children’s sand pit play area, an education and training venue, the Tiporium Teahouse Sunday Session events, ‘junk’ musical instruments to play with, a casual tip shop ‘cafe’ and outdoor eating area is being set up and, of course, plenty of shopping for reuse goods and bits and pieces. Having this diversity of activity and uses bodes well for the future of this developing community hub.

Bikes at Denmark Tip Shop

Need a bike?

Rainbow Coast Neighbourhood Centre Community Garden, Albany

It was a rainy afternoon when I visited the Rainbow Coast Neighbourhood Centre Community Garden. Arriving on foot, I actually walked past the garden because it’s set back from the road, but I was lucky enough to score a lift back to the right spot by a friendly staff member of the youth centre at the other end of the street (otherwise I would have been soaked!).

Only around a year old, the garden already has a lovely feel. Those involved in developing it have paid attention not only to getting the veges growing but also to creating a vibrant and interesting community place (again the contribution community artwork can make to building a sense of place is evident). The garden is one of the few in WA that I’ve heard have managed to grow enough surplus produce to warrant selling some off for fundraising (what a difference climate can make).

Communal garden bed enlivened with simple mosaic crazy paving

The old wheelbarrow adds interest to the garden and extra growing space

community artwork

Decorated bicycle tyres add colour to the fence

At the garden I met Mitch, who’s currently supervising Green Corp participants in the building of a large circular garden bed cut into quarters by pathways. One quarter will have a children’s sand pit and another a covered socialising area. Mitch mentioned that the following week he was booked to deliver his first public talk on what we need to do about climate change. It reminded me of how being involved in places like community gardens leads people to feel more inspired, empowered and interested in being active citizens. This is one of the reasons hubs like these are so important and special.

I’d love to hear about community hubs in your local area and why they work; how about posting a comment?

Come and celebrate the growth of community gardens in WA

We are hosting a final Growing Communities WA sundowner to celebrate all of the exciting developments that have happened for community gardens since the project began in July 2008.

See full event details here Growing Communities WA Final Event.

June gardening workshop at the Lockridge Community Garden

WA community garden sector’s premier event for 2009

Growing Communities WA (the exciting project I’m lucky enough to be coordinating on a part-time basis) is delighted to be hosting the WA community garden sector’s premier event for 2009:

WA Community Gardens Forum 2009

Find full details here.

Look forward to seeing you there!

What’s hot? Community gardens that’s what!

Community gardens have finally made it in WA. It’s official. In a recent edition of The West Australian, community gardens were included in a ‘what’s hot’ list. This is good news for the people who have been singing the praises of community gardens in this state for the last 10 years and for the growing number of communities across WA who are getting active to set-up gardens in their local area.

Community gardens are outdoor spaces that are planned and managed by the community. They come in all shapes and sizes and can include food production, native and bush tucker gardens, as well as decorative and therapeutic elements. You’ll find them in inner city, suburban and rural fringe areas and in remote Aboriginal communities. Community gardens are lively community places; they provide high quality, creative and accessible open spaces in local communities and have a range of health, social, environmental, economic and cultural benefits.

The West has its finger on the pulse; we really are seeing a surge of interest in community gardens in WA and not just as a passing fad. People want to get involved in local solutions to climate change, grow their own food to save money in a tight economic climate, improve their health and well-being and connect with their neighbours – the popularity of community gardens is skyrocketing because they tick all of these boxes.

It’s timely then that there’s a project to support the development of community gardens in WA currently underway. Growing Communities WA – commencing in July 2008 and running for 2 years  – aims to build the capacity of community gardens through research, training and networking, promotion, supporting partnerships and developing resources to assist gardens to grow. 

Ben Neil Visit: 28 March – 1 April

One exciting initiative of the project is to host a 5-day visit to Perth by Ben Neil, CEO of Cultivating Community (Victoria) and President of the Australian City Farms and Community Gardens Network. Cultivating Community is a not-for-profit organisation that supports 21 community gardens located on public housing estates in Melbourne, runs two community fresh fruit and vegetable food cooperatives, has worked with local councils to develop local food policy and networks, recently completed a 12 month project working with veterans to improve their backyards and access to fresh vegetables and supplies garden educators for edible classrooms programs in 6 primary schools.

 

A number of open events have been planned for Ben’s visit, starting from this Sunday. Check out the details below and come along to join in the fun!

 

GETTING STARTED IN COMMUNITY GARDENING: HOW TO SET UP A GARDEN IN YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD

Hear directly from people who have helped to establish gardens in WA and Victoria. Pick up ideas, learn practical tips and have your questions answered by Ben and a panel of local speakers.

Sunday, 29 March 9:30am – 11:30am

Leederville Bowling Club, 75 Cambridge Street, West Leederville

 

COMMUNITY FOOD SYSTEMS: LOCAL INITIATIVES TO SECURE OUR FOOD FUTURE

This forum will be an exciting opportunity for policy makers, community organisers, farmers, food security advocates and community food projects to get together and look at new ways we can feed our communities, now and into the future.   

Monday, 30 March 2:00pm – 4:30pm

City of Stirling ‘Reception Hall’, 25 Cedric Street, Stirling

 

SCHOOL KITCHEN GARDEN FORUM

Come along to hear a keynote speech from Ben Neil and a panel of local speakers present on what’s happening with School Kitchen Gardens across WA.

Tuesday, 31 March 9:00am – 11:00am

Perth City Farm, 1 City Farm Place, East Perth

 

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT SEMINAR: GROWING LOCAL CAPACITY THROUGH COMMUNITY GARDENS

This presentation will stimulate new ideas, fresh perspectives and revitalised local discussion about how practical and arts-based activities in a garden context can engage people – particularly from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds – and generate community development outcomes.

Tuesday, 31 March 12:00pm – 2:00pm

Perth City Farm, 1 City Farm Place, East Perth

 

For more information about Growing Communities WA, contact me at anne [at] wacgn.asn.au or on 1300 501 357.