by Russ Grayson
RANDWICK’s PIG (Permaculture Interpretive Garden) was one of three gardens that received awards at July’s Keep Australia Beautiful annual award presentation. The other gardens were Mosman and Riverwood community gardens. Mosman is a new community garden while Riverwood, a social housing garden, has been established for some years.
The PIG is a community park rather than a community garden—an edible landscaped public park used also as a training venue for Randwick Council’s Living Smart and Organic Gardening courses.
Landscape architect from Sydney Organic Gardens, Steve Batley—who designed the garden—Fiona Campbell, council’s sustainability educator and project manager for the PIG development and the associated energy and water efficiency and educational refit of the adjacent community centre and
I were associated with the PIG, my role being the lesser serving on the steering team and as project documenter. Also present were Richard Wilson, coordinator of the Three-Eastern-Suburbs-Councils-Ecofootprint-Project, Helen Morrison, Randwick Council’s liaison for community gardens and a director and waste team member at Randwick Council.
The awards were made for gardens, school garden projects, environmental restoration and sustainable business and it must have been difficult for the judges to choose between the worthy projects represented. Of interest was the display by Camden Community Garden, a large place in the shape of a giant platypus.
Including community gardens in the awards demonstrates how far the practice of community gardening has come compared to just 15 years ago, and how they are now an accepted feature in the urban landscape. Numerous councils Australia-wide assist community gardens get started and more are developing policy to enable their development.
The chef with the catering company providing the food explained how much of the food had been sourced from the Sydney region and how some of was organic. Organic, too, were some of the wines—Pig in the House—from The Canowindra region… a good verdelho, chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon. The winemaker did an amusing talk about the adventure and confusion of going partially organic (BFA certified) and told how pigs he put in the vineyard ate the vines during drought.
It was good to meet up again with Jim Fraser who looks after community gardening at Marrickville Council, Yolande from Keep Australia Beautiful (ex-Royal Botanic Gardens Community Greening Program) and the crew from Kogarah Council with whom Faith Thomas and I worked a few years ago to get the Carss Park Community Garden started and produce a policy dircections document for council to enable community gardening.
Congratulations to Kogarah Council for organising the awards event… good food, good people, innovative projects… just shows what councils can do when they have the right people and the motivation.