Archive for the ‘Community gardens’ Category

Promoting sustainability, health and inclusion in the city

This 2-day conference to be held on October 7-8 2010 at the University of Canberra brings together representatives of different forms of community gardening practices in Australia to share knowledge, promote dialogue and assess best practice.

Keynote speakers include:

  • Myles Bremner from the United Kingdom – Trustee of Sustain (UK) and Chief Executive of Garden Organic
  • Keith Colls – President of Canberra Organic Growers Society
  • Costa Georgiadis – from SBS television’s ‘Costa’s Garden Odyssey’
  • Phil Harris – Professor in Sustainable Agriculture and Head of International Development at the University of Coventry, UK
  • Andre Leu – Chair of Organic Federation of Australia and Deputy Chair of International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements
  • Senator Christine Milne (Greens) TBC
  • Neil Savery – Chief Planning Executive, ACT Planning and Land Authority and an Adjunct Professor in Urban Design with the University of Canberra

Where and when?

October 7-8, 2010, NATSEM Building (Building 24), University of Canberra

For full details or to register visit the website


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For me, working with the Carrs Park community gardeners to plan and design their garden was one of the most fulfilling projects of 2008. Russ, my partner in crime on this project, has written an article on the official opening, which was attended by the Lord Mayor of Kogarah and held in their amazing new straw bale outdoor classroom! Very excited for everyone involved…

Read the article here

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LAST YEAR, Living Schools in partnership with Pacific Edge consulted for Kogarah Council on the development of:

  • policy directions on community gardening – production of a community gardener’s guide
  • a community consultation process to garner ideas from the municipality and recruit a core group of community gardeners
  • a two-day participatory design processes to develop concept plans for the proposed community garden.

A report on the consultation and participatory design process (‘Community Garden Development for Kogarah Council’) can be found here.

A recent visit to the site of the community garden disclosed that the project is moving ahead rapidly, with a number of shared community garden beds installed and gardeners and others engaged in constructing a strawbale outdoor classroom.

Those with an interest in such things can find a report (‘Collaboration, participation build something new on something old’) at http://pacific-edge.info.

A photo album of the construction can be viewed here

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Check out the progress over just two years!

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In late 2008 Living Schools worked with Kogarah Council to initiate a community garden project on a local disused bowling green in Carrs Park.

Following initial promotion and community consultation regarding the concept an enthusiastic group had formed, eager to learn and to put their ideas to the test. Educators worked with the group, facilitating two full-day training session, the first focusing on strategic planning and group development and the second on site assessment and design.

Council’s landscape architect attended both sessions, listening closely to the ideas generated so that they could later be translated into a professional design. At the end of the process a strong group of about twenty people agreed on the date for their first independent planning meeting.

The top-down approach to community garden development is often cited as being problematic, probably due to the many examples where such an approach has failed because the community were never actually given ownership. This project suggests that with communication, respect and genuine shared ownership a community garden can indeed be successfully initiated from above. Council is now working collaboratively with the community group to make the garden a reality. We are eager to see how it progresses.

Living Schools have collated the work of the community group during the two training days to develop policy recommendations for council as well as a gardeners’ guide, gardeners’ agreement and initial action plan. These are available upon request to interested parties.

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Living Schools has recently partnered with the City of Sydney Council and the Australian City Farms and Community Gardens Networks to produce a guide for anyone interested in setting up a community garden in their area. The guide covers setup, management and maintenance, as well as some of the trickier aspects of social dynamics. Download the 80 page guide for free here

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This important event will be held on Saturday 29th June from 9am to 4pm at Westfalen Community Garden in Brisbane. The day will include community garden tours, hands-on workshops and presentations on the how to, why and what of community gardens, local food, social enterprises and other topics. This is a great chance to share knowledge and skills, catch up and make new contacts and friends. Registration details and program are available by contacting Gav at Growing Communities.

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