Monday, July 27, 2015

Some changes to communal gardening at the West Brunswick Community Garden

Our Board and Organising Committee have agreed to slightly change the way we approach the communal growing areas of our garden. Below we'll explain what the changes are, why we're making them and what they mean.

First a bit of background. Our garden’s communal growing areas include:

  • the two large growing beds (along the West and North fences)
  • the two long, skinny, raised beds near the greenhouse
  • the spaces around the inside of the garden fence (perimeter)
  • the ground cover plantings and fruit tree beds in the Food Forest
  • Triangle herb bed near the north gate

Here's a map showing them all (in purple).

Communal gardening has been an important part of the West Brunswick Community Garden since the garden re-established in 2012. We’ve created various ways and spaces to garden together to help people meet and connect, pursue their interests, and to enable more people to garden (with communal gardening areas, you can get started - you don't have to join a waiting list as you do for individual plots). Gardeners can learn together from more experienced gardeners or from those with different gardening traditions, and people can participate casually, when life allows.

All our communal growing areas are managed by small groups of volunteers who work out what people want to grow and plant, and plan for that to happen. They are organised seasonally for propagation, planting, pruning, mulching etc (rather than everyone planting things wherever they like). To find out how to get involved with communal gardening join us at a working bee on the second or fourth Sunday of any month or get in touch.

What are the changes?

  • Plot holders no longer need to pay an additional fee to be part of communal gardening activities, only the normal annual membership plus the relevant individual plot fee. Other non-plot-holder gardening members still pay a contribution of $40 each year (concession card holders pay what you can - we suggest $25) 
  • All garden members (including plot holders) who participate in communal gardening tasks can harvest from communal growing areas
  • There will no longer be separate groups for the communal veggie beds and the Food Forest. Instead think of these as activities. You might be interested in fruit trees rather than annual vegetables, for example, so you can join in with Food Forest activities.

Why are we doing this?

  • We believe that this'll make our garden feel even more like a community. 
  • It'll make membership and structure simpler to understand and manage, and bring us together more often. 
  • Gardeners will be able to learn from each other and share information more readily as we work together

What does this mean?

  • Key volunteers (or small groups) will still take on regular tasks or roles, such as compost management, planning propagation and planting, watering, communications, rosters, shed management, OH&S etc.
  • We can all discuss issues that affect any of the communal gardening areas at our monthly Garden & Gather events and annual brainstorming sessions to generate ideas and priorities – so we’ll work things out together.
  • There is a working bee on the second Sunday of each month to look after the large communal growing beds. The tasks are planned by communal gardening volunteers.
  • Seasonal, substantial or special tasks and activities that need doing in any communal growing areas can be done at our Garden & Gathers or other working bees
  • Larger events to carry out major seasonal tasks, such as pruning of fruit trees, will be co-ordinated by the Organising Committee as always.

Of course if you have any thoughts on this please we'd love to hear them so get in touch by emailing us or talk to a member of the organising committee at the garden.