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Garden is ready ... Just add community

30 Oct 2009

Garden is ready ... Just add community Image

A crew of urban gardeners have been busy building, hammering, digging and planting at Victoria Harbour over the past month, to prepare Urban Reforestation’s inner city vegie patch which was officially opened on October 18.

More than 100 people basked in the afternoon sunshine and meandered around the seedbeds at the unveiling of the Docklands’ community garden project.

The site has been a hive of activity over the past month in preparation for the day. It was a hub of diverse community skills coming together to construct, wire, hammer, dig, plant, paint and sand the garden into shape.

Before the official opening had even kicked off, one Docklands resident already had her hands deep in soil, planting rows of lettuces into the recently prepared beds.

The opening was conducted by Cr Kevin Louey and permaculturalist Rick Coleman.

The garden includes a native Australian garden, traditional vegetable patches, a sandpit for children, a water feature and fruit trees. Urban Reforestation hopes to establish a café at the site before Christmas.

Urban Reforestation director, Emily Ballantyne-Brodie, said the not-for-profit organisation would open the exhibition garden for six months over summer, providing Docklands residents, workers and visitors with a lush green refuge, a place to recharge next to the water, reconnect with nature and learn a little about sustainable living along the way.

“The site will become a hub of activities centred around inspiring sustainable living, whether you live in an apartment or a house with a garden,” she said.

The garden design has been a joint effort, with contributions from industrial designer Damien Melotte and architect Louise Sam-Sin. Permaculturalist Tiku Peters has designed the planting of the garden.

“We want to make an impact on this community, we want to show them urban gardens are possible, and they are fun,”
Ms Ballantyne-Brodie said.

“Urban Reforestation chose Docklands because it’s a space that needs greening, it needs community strengthening and it is a blank canvas,” she added.

“Docklands doesn’t have to be a concrete jungle.  Here is a group of grassroots people wanting to make a change,” community engagement officer Timmah Ball said.

Programs and activities run from the site will include growing a herb garden, composting, and most importantly, understanding the role food and consumer goods play in our lives.

“We will be encouraging people to make the connection between the lifestyle and purchasing choices they make, and the effort and resources that lie behind those decisions,” community engagement officer Alex Kirkham said.

“We are using as many natural or reclaimed materials as we can,” creative director Ellie Schroeder said.

“This will be a great place for everyone to come who wants to get involved with the garden, or simply relax.”

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