The Moreland Community Gardening Inc. Board

As an Incorporated Association, Moreland Community Gardening requires a group of people (they're called The Board in our organisation's constitution) to looks after things that affect our whole organisation like our finances, legal and regulatory obligations. Tasks include governance, overseeing things like facilities, leases, insurance, fees and rules, planning, managing money, memberships, communication, engagement, culture, Council interaction, organisational decisions, helping moderate/address issues at the garden. In the future we hope to establish more places where the community can grow food, investigate grants and other funding, work for the dole and other possibilities. The Board keeps the organisation on track in terms of meeting its longer terms objectives and delivering what it says it will to its members.

Board members are voted in each year at our Annual General Meeting which is usually held sometime around August each year.

Join our Board
Members who are interested in participating in the board should contact one of the current board members to find out more about what's involved.

What's involved?
The Board meets only 4-5 times a year for a few hours in the evening plus you'd need to find a few hours each month between meetings.

What's in it for you?
Being on the board is rewarding, you get to know a great bunch of people who're working hard to make something good happen for you and our community. You'll gain useful experience and skills in working with volunteers and running a community group. We might be persuaded to name something after you (wheelbarrow? shovel? tree?). People will like you more and you'll be a more attractive person generally (in all possible ways, allegedly).

Here's who is currently on the board:

Swagata Bapat - Ordinary Member
Swagata is a mad keen amateur gardener who loves growing her own fruit and vegetables in her suburban garden block, and creating beautiful green spaces to relax in.
She is a mother of two gorgeous girls and is passionate about connecting them with nature and with the joy of growing their own food. She loves inspiring them to appreciate the wonder of watching a small seed grow into something yummy to eat!
Swagata is particularly interested in the role that gardens can play in promoting mental health and wellbeing within people and communities, not just through the production of healthy delicious produce, but through the important social connections and sense of purpose that they can provide.
Outside of her gardening interests, Swagata works as a consultant, coach and facilitator in the mental health and community sectors. She has previously worked for many years in clinical, organisational development and service development roles within these sectors and draws on these skills and experience in her board role with MCG.

Kieran Dickson - Ordinary Member
Kieran has been a long-time admirer of this growing community resource, originally getting involved in the co-design of West Brunswick Community Garden in 2010.
Growing up in the food bowl of Victoria (Goulburn Valley) & completing a double degree of Landscape Architecture & Urban Design were the catalysts in sprouting Kieran’s passion for the food system & gardening in public space. Currently self-employed working as an artist & landscape designer Kieran’s practice has a strong social focus which finds him predominantly working with schools, not-for-profits & charities in a number of different manners. Kieran, his partner & his close friends live in Moreland in a single fronted rental house with their nature strip herb garden, chooks, nursery, food forest garden & noisy cat.

Libby Harper - President
Libby Harper is an at home mum for two adorable monsters, a part time small business administration consultant and a frustrated amateur gardener. Her past history in health, administration, tourism, government and hard labour and her hard won negotiation skills developed dealing with small children have been hugely beneficial in a committee setting. On a more serious note a background in developing policy, procedures and managing financial responsibilities, as well as a lifelong history of participation in the community charity sector play a big role in the consultation and decision making involved in her role.
Community development and making a positive change for the environment were among the chief reasons for her interest in the garden and she is really impressed by the interest, care, love and attention for the garden. She is also grateful for the friends she has made and the gardening lessons learned at every visit.
You can often find Libby at the garden on a Friday morning, she'll be the one with the cup of tea ready for a chat. Libby has previously been Secretary and Vice President.

Andrew Ogbourne - Vice President
Andrew is an enthusiastic amateur gardener of organic vegetables, fruit and herbs who joined the board of MCG in 2017.  Andrew is passionate about sustainable, community-based food production - both as an affordable source of healthy food and as a vehicle to support the development of strong, diverse communities. Andrew also grows Australian native orchids and bonsai at his home in Coburg.
In 2016, Andrew led the creation of a new community garden within the grounds of the historic Pentridge Prison.  Pentridge Community Garden become MCG's second major garden and is fast becoming a hub for the Coburg community.
As a professional IT and business consultant, Andrew has built skills in organisational leadership and governance that he draws on to help guide the development and growth of Moreland Community Gardening.

Mark Sanders - Treasurer
Exposed to backyard food growing from an early age through his family, Mark was bound to end up gardening and the garden at his home is full of edible plants and fruit trees. He got a taste for social gardening a few years ago and, in December 2009, co-founded Moreland Community Gardening to create more opportunities for people to grow food together. Mark helped establish, and is now a key organiser of,the Moreland Food Gardens Network, a diverse group that collaborates to improve fresh food access and promotes urban agriculture in Moreland, Melbourne and further afield.
A senior member of the management team of an education publishing company, Mark delivers IT infrastructure and services, digital strategy and development, process improvement. Previous to this, he lived and worked in the UK where he performed a similar role for a major retailer and was one of 6 members of the board of trustees for their pension fund. Mark has previously been President and Vice President.

Angela Snowdon - Secretary
Angela is a recent Environmental Scientist graduate, with a strong interest in reducing and improving the impact humans have on the environment. She has found that the community garden is a great place to share ideas, knowledge and to engage with members of the community.
Having enjoyed gardening (and the delicious produce that comes with it!) from a young age, moving to an apartment in Moreland did not satisfy the green thumb in her! The West Brunswick Community Garden has allowed her to compost, learn a thing or two about maintaining a productive garden and to experience the positive benefits of gardening again.
Looking to get involved with the local community, Angela joined the board in December 2016. This is the first time she has held a board position and she is learning lots. She currently works for an environmental not-for-profit, assisting community groups to build capacity through grant programs and hopes to bring some of these skills to the garden.

Jo Stavers - Ordinary Member
Jo’s interest in growing produce was sparked years ago when she added up how much of the weekly shop was spent on herbs.  This was the catalyst for her and her partner (Joe!) to start their own herb garden.  Whilst neither are very experienced gardeners, Joe and Jo were very quick to get involved as soon as they found out about the potential establishment of Pentridge Community Garden on their doorstep in early 2017 and have enjoyed building, shovelling and fundraising ever since.
Since then, Jo has enjoyed seeing the garden and community around it come to life and has relished the learning opportunities that being part of the organising committee has presented.  Every time she goes to the garden she makes a point of learning something new and bringing something home to cook.
Outside of her interest in the gardening community, Jo enjoys seeing the local area on foot and her bike, participating in fun runs and the like.
Jo’s profession is in event management and over the course of her 15-year career she has organised CEO-breakfasts, gala balls, trade shows, conferences and everything in between.
This is Jo’s first Board position and she brings a willingness to learn and energy to share with the Moreland Community Gardening community.

Past board members who made a valuable contribution to getting us where we are include:
  • Liz Morgan
  • Elen McNaught
  • Brett McDonald
  • Tom Tanhchareun
  • Anna Wilkinson
  • Kelly Gardiner
  • Margaret Ayers - Co-founder
  • Julia Raath
  • Catherine Lovelock
  • Janelle Robbins
  • Paul Desmond - Co-founder
  • Isa Ali
  • Ryan Raudum
  • Paul McKay - Co-founder
  • Sonia Gatti
  • Chris Currie
  • Helen Mitchell