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A Brief History

After a letterbox drop in the Warners Bay area in December 2008, 26 local residents with a diverse range of skills and backgrounds came together to discuss ideas to create a Community Garden. Since then our group has exploded to over 350 members and supporters, all keen to be involved in the development of Community Garden in the local area.

In October 2010, Lake Macquarie City Council invited the community garden group to lodge a development application (DA) for the establishment of a garden in the open grassed area of Bunya Park, Eleebana (corner of Cherry Rd and Macquarie Drive).

On Tuesday 6th March 2012, the Warners Bay Community Garden group lodged a DA with LMCC for the community garden. The application included revised plans for the community garden, with a significantly-reduced first stage.

 

We are nearing the completion of Stage One. Once approved, we will be expanding to a bigger, brighter and more functional garden.

 

Goals and Vision

The Warners Bay Community Garden group are interested in investigating ways in which we can work with community organisations, schools, local businesses and the council on building a community vegetable, fruit and herb garden in our town.

Since December 2008, after a letterbox drop in the Warners Bay area, about 26 local residents with a diverse range of skills and backgrounds have come together to discuss our ideas to create a community garden. We have formed a vision to build a community garden in the Warners Bay / Eleebana area and agreed upon a set of values that includes: equality, respect, mutual responsibility and shared knowledge between all who participate and visit and a commitment to maintaining a friendly and welcoming atmosphere at all times.

We believe that there is a great need in the community for projects and places that give people the opportunity to connect with each other, to build community cohesion and friendships between neighbours. It is the experience of established community gardens across the world that the friendships built through community gardens know no barriers. Such networks build community resilience and are called upon in times of need as well as times of celebration. The garden has the chance to greatly increase a sense of community in our town and allow people to learn and benefit from working together.

The benefits of community gardens are numerous and varied. They include:

  • individuals and families have access to fresh and nutritious food
  • because it involves physical activity, community gardening promotes physical fitness and health
  • learning to grow plants is mentally stimulating and adds to an individual’s knowledge and expertise
  • organic gardening is an knowledge-based system of gardening rather than one based on quick fixes and as such it encourages people to learn from each other
  • community gardens are used for community education, TAFE, schools, councils and universities as learning venues
  • gardens are used for community education such as waste minimization and the recycling of wastes through composting and mulching
  • it is a social activity involving shared decision making, problem solving and negotiation, increasing these skills among gardeners
  • community gardens are places where people get to meet others and come together with a common purpose
  • community gardens can be used to build a sense of community and belonging
  • community gardens re-green vacant lots and bring vegetational diversity to public open space and other areas, making them a useful tool for urban improvement. They can utiliise previously under-utilised space
  • diversifying the use of open space and creating the opportunity for passive and active recreation, community gardens improve the urban environment
  • the diversity of plant types found in community gardens provides habitat for urban wildlife, increasing their value for improving the natural environment
  • local and state government organisations cooperating with community gardeners can improve relations with citizens
  • community gardens can demonstrate local government policy and programs, such as waste recycling, composting and worm farming

Our vision so far is to:

  • create a highly productive community vegetable, herb and fruit garden for local residents to grow their own food
  • welcome people of all ages and backgrounds to visit the garden
  • create a network of enthusiastic local people using their diverse experience to work on a common goal
  • build a new public facility that is of benefit to the whole community. This will be with the help of grant(s) and donations. The site could include for example: a shelter, gazebo, tool shed, greenhouse, bike lock-up, composting bays, paths, artwork, bench seats, rainwater tank, notice board, bbq, a pizza oven and more.

Significant consultation and planning will need to occur over the coming months in order for us to secure a site; however there are practical things we can do in the short term. They include:

  • the creation of a Warners Bay Community Gardener’s website to facilitate the establishment of a network of local home gardeners and to provide educational information local organic food production
  • the establishment of a sustainable gardening stall at the local markets that promotes the Warners Bay Community Gardens group and provides information, resources and local produce to encourage sustainable gardening at home
  • the establishment of systems and a committee to manage and facilitate resources, donations, grants, sponsors and decisions for the group

The garden could also become a place of art and culture with sculptures, paintings, bbq’s, get-togethers and a place where people can learn about the Awabakal language and heritage. Perhaps some of the expert gardeners could help run outdoor classes for students from local schools. Boxes of produce from the gardens could be given to local residents or charities could benefit by using some fresh produce to sell/raffle for fundraising.

We welcome your ideas, suggestions and support
for our community garden.

 

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