West Brunswick Community Garden has been around since 1995, when it was first set up as a traditional allotment style garden with large (at least 16m2) fenced personal plots, and a high fence around the entire garden.
Following various issues with the operation of the garden, in 2011 Moreland City Council approached the community looking for a group who would manage the space, and commit to its improvement and increased use by the community. We were fortunate enough to be chosen, based on our plan to provide a community hub for residents to:
- Grow healthy, safe, affordable, organic food;
- Share companionship, skills and knowledge;
- Participate in and feel a part of their community;
- Enhance their mental and physical well-being;
- Learn to lead a more sustainable life.
Importantly, we also emphasised that the garden must be financially, environmentally and socially sustainable.
After a lease was granted in 2012, Moreland City Council bulldozed the site and installed a new, lower, fence around the garden. This created a more welcoming environment for the community to enjoy.
The garden is divided into three areas of roughly equal size:
- Communal growing space
- Personal plots
- Shared facilities, e.g. compost bays, equipment storage areas, gathering space
The great thing about this layout, with large areas of communal space, is that there is no limit to how many people can join. No matter how you are involved, the garden is for everyone. Personal plot holders get involved with communal gardening, and everyone is interested in what is grown by plot holders.
The food from the communal plots is shared by those who share the fun of growing. Even the personal/household plots share some of their bounty too.
How we operate
The garden’s organisation is overseen by the West Brunswick Community Garden Organising Committee, a dedicated group of volunteers who keep the garden running.
Learn more about our Organising Committee here.
We are always looking to improve the value our garden offers to members, the local community, and the environment.
This Amenity Plan outlines our goals and action plan for the garden:
Get to know our members
Our members are the reason we exist. Below you can hear from some of them, and learn why they got involved and what they love about the garden.
Richard is a member of the West Brunswick Community Garden Organising Committee and also coordinates the Composting Hub at the Garden. He has been actively involved in a number of projects at the Garden and the Food Forest since their ‘rebirth’ in 2013, including the construction of the compost bays, the new planter boxes, the new shed, the new perimeter native garden, and more recently, the new notice board for the Food Forest. He also introduced the supply and sale of East Timor Coffee to members and the (now) annual sale of wine, both of which raise funds for projects at the Garden.
While he hasn’t got a Personal Plot, he is often seen at the Garden helping to turn the compost and coordinate working bees, as well as weeding, planting and watering. He also presents the occasional composting workshop for members and helps staff information stalls at various community events to publicise the Garden.
“I have always grown fruit and vegetables in my home gardens over the years, but since moving to a smaller house in West Brunswick, I haven’t had much room to grow things like potatoes and pumpkins, so I look forward to sharing the produce which we grow together at the Garden. I also look forward to our ‘Garden and Gather’ sessions on the fourth Sunday of the month, where members get together for lunch, which often includes produce freshly picked produce
from the Garden. Recently, I enjoyed sharing the olives which I harvested earlier this year from the Food Forest and preserved in brine and later stored in olive oil.
As well as helping out with the various tasks at the Garden, what I like most about being involved is the contact I have with the wide range of people from the local community. Almost every time I go to the Garden, I end up talking to someone new, including people who live nearby and are interested to learn about the garden and some who have questions about planting and growing, which I try to answer. If they are interested, I like show them around the Garden, and explain how it is divided into communal and personal plots, talk about how we run a ‘hot’ composting system, and shown them the plant propagation activity in the green house.
Apart from the social involvement and the healthy exercise through gardening, I think that contributing to the community-building and public education functions of the Garden and the Food Forest provide me with the most satisfaction, and will probably be my most enduring legacy.”