Ravenswood thanks community gardens network
...from Tamara Johnston, Ravenswood Community Garden coordinator
"ON BEHALF OF the students, participants, volunteers, staff and committee of the Ravenswood Community Garden, a huge thank you for the Inaugural Community Garden Excellence Award.
"From the spirit of the National Gathering for this to be an advocacy tool, and recognizing the importance of a helping hand from a source outside your area to give a needed boost, the Award has been a huge success already.
"For me, personally, the Award took on a real sense of purpose when I saw the faces of the students and volunteers when they realized that their efforts in the garden did make a difference - not only for the garden but for themselves as well.
"Our Waverley students were tour guides for the day - these are students that the system had identified as troublesome or not achieving, from grades 3 - 6. All of our visitors were so impressed with their confidence, knowledge and obvious pride in what they do here in the garden.
"A vote of appreciation goes to Ben Neil for traveling down and talking to the necessary people. Sue, our teacher, has already organised a meeting with the Education Department human resources manager to see what can be achieved in the short term - a small but pleasing outcome.
"Ravenswood Community Garden is not a picture perfect or totally a wonderful example of a permacultural environment, not even of the best garden practices - but we are making a difference for groups that are not being supported anywhere else.
"We are sowing the seeds of change and of a future for groups that struggle to see that they can make change happen, or that there is a future. We grow not because we are organic or environmentally friendly - though these make the journey more meaningful - we grow because we value all who come into the garden. We validate people's life experiences - for once validated people can then make changes to their lives - and we believe that everyone can succeed but understand that success for each person is very different. We work to develop pathways for reconnecting people to their communities and allow the garden to have successes and failures.
"It was my privilege to attend this year’s community gardens network National Gathering on the Sunshine Coast and to be able to share my hopes and dreams with, and be inspired by, the stories of others. I am always amazed at the level of creativity and generosity of spirit that emanates from community gardens, and also the way that each garden develops its soul or identity for its people or the issues that are important to their community.
"I fully acknowledge that there are many, many other gardens around the nation that worthy of this award - in fact all gardens are worthy of this award - and fully endorse a simple but effective criteria being established for future awards, and would happily give of my time to work with others to develop this.
"I would like to acknowledge Michael Martin for his wonderful ability to link people and ideas so generously. All gardens or farms need to have advocates and I believe this will be a solid and long-lived stepping stone for the national Australian City Farms & Community Gardens Network into the future. For community gardens to survive and develop there is a real need to have a lobbying body that can make real inroads into issues of funding and identity with all levels of government and agencies. I look forward to working with you all as our state and national network grow and blossom.
"From one seed sower to many."Tamara Johnston, Coordinator, Ravenswood Community Garden. PO Box 70, Ravenswood, Tasmania 7250
P: 03 63391569 M: 0408054847 Fax: 63391993 Published in