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Book to help start and nurture community gardens

HOT, that’s what it was in Adelaide that Sunday afternoon as claire nettle of the South Australian Community Gardens Network and Tim Marshall launched a new book on community gardening, aptly named Growing Community — starting and nurturing community gardens.

Despite the temperature, over 70 people made themselves comfortable under the shade of the spreading canopy of a tree in the spacious grounds of Glandore Community Centre as claire (who prefers the lower case), who has been largely responsible for the greatly updated and improved edition of the earlier, more-modest guidebook, discussed the process and purpose of the book.

claire nettle and Tim Marshall launch Growing Community.

claire is the right woman for the job. Active in both the national community gardens network as the South Australian Community Gardens Network, she has researched community gardening and community food systems for her PhD. Tim Marshall works in the organic food industry and writes on the topic for Acres Australia and Gardening Australia and is a well known author of books on organic growing.

Filling a need

Growing Community fills the need for a comprehensive guidebook to starting community gardens. Although written in South Australia, the contents are applicable in other places. In it, you find information on managing community gardens. This is important, as important as knowing how to grow food, because without effective and participatory management, gardens can become unstuck, socially and physically. The book is also about sustaining community gardens.

Together with its companion website, the booklet covers the latest evidence for the benefits of community gardening, tips for getting started, avoiding common pitfalls, sustainable and creative garden design, gardening in schools, integrating community gardens into health and community programs and more. There are model forms that new community garden groups will find useful.

The edition was funded by the South Australian Department of Health and acknowledges the support of the Community and Neighbourhood Houses and Centres Association and the Australian City Farms & Community Gardens Network.

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