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How to host a Sydney Regional Community Garden MeetUp

Story by Sydney ACFCGN team (now known as Community Gardens Australia (CGA))

After one of our regional MeetUPS, at Randwick Community Organic Garden, it was suggested that we pull together some pointers for those gardeners interested in hosting MeetUPs to develop connections between new and established  community gardens in the Sydney region.

Our MeetUPs are an informal social gathering where gardeners have a chance to share the highlights of what has been going on in their garden and look for ideas to help with those things that are not going as well as they would like.

Gardeners decide at the MeetUP the shared discussion topics they would like to have with other gardeners. Those who have particular skills to share might run a workshop, such as seed saving or pest management.

Gardeners are encouraged to bring seeds or cutting material to swap, as well as bring your ‘mystery plants’ or plant pests and diseases for identification.

MeetUPs are fun, and we are very appreciative of those gardens who take the time to host one so we can all get together.
The general dates for the seasonal meetUPs happen:

  • 1st Sun in Mar – Autumn gathering
  • 1st Sun in June – Winter gathering
  • 1st Sun in September – Spring gathering
  • 1st Sun in Dec – Christmas gathering

Here is a short guide to help host gardens get organised…

Confirmation of who will host the next MeetUP

The Sydney Community Gardens Australia support team will liaise with potential host gardens at the beginning of the year as well as during the seasonal MeetUP’s, to work out a schedule of garden MeetUPs for the year.
The Sydney support team have developed a ‘how to host a regional MeetUP’ to help the host garden….

Host’s garden preparation suggestions…

Discuss with gardeners:

Seating and equipment

How might we accommodate the 15-50 gardeners likely to attend?
Do we need a whiteboard, flipchart paper and marker pens? Can we ask the ACFCGN Sydney Support Team to bring these if needed?


  • Is the garden in a safe condition?
  • Do we need to do anything to reduce any risks?

Welcoming visitors

Making visitors feel welcome produces a better visitor experience and creates favourable memories of your community garden.
Organise a few people as ‘greeters’ to welcome people to the garden and to direct them to the activities.


  • To make the most of this networking day we need to follow the running sheet, either one of the gardeners could be timekeeper for the day or one of the Sydney ACFCGN organising team can help with timekeeping and facilitation
  • A tour of the community garden introduces visitors to why and how it was established, how it is managed, how decisions are made and to the design of the garden.
  • What are the main points and features to cover in the half-hour or so of the tour?
  • Can we have a few tour guides ready if we need to split a large group?
    Can we make a trial run of our tour to make sure we can fit it into the 1/2 hour timeframe?


  • Do we have enough hot water, tea and coffee available?
  • Do we have adequate cups, plates and cutlery if gardeners forget to bring their own?
  • Do we need to ask the CGA Sydney Support Team to help out with bringing these items?


Suggested checklist for the morning of the MeetUP…

  1. Set up site and carry out a safety check… seating setup; site safety — no opportunity for trips, spills, or cuts
  2. Welcome and sign-in… welcome gardeners and have them sign in, if need be, for your insurance
  3. Nominate helpers to… facilitate the event; to take notes for your own record, website/social media.
  4. Start the tour at 11:00am sharp… if there are people arriving late, have someone welcome them and let them know what is going on.
  5. End of the day pack-up… encourage visitors to help you clean-up and pack-up.

Host followup

Send notes and actions from the meeting to the Sydney email list:

  • list in dot point the gardens who attended
  • list main discussion area
  • list any actions to be followed-up
  • if time, send a short blog story and photos from the day to be uploaded onto the CGA blog, Facebook and Twitter.


SYDNEY REGIONAL Community Garden MeetUP

…come and join us at (insert name) Community Garden

Are you a member of a community garden? Are you interested in community gardening? Come and meet other community gardeners and find out what’s happening in community gardens across Sydney. Join us to share gardening tips, stories, and food! Bring all your community garden friends along!

WHERE: Add garden name and address
WHEN: Add date here
TIME: Arrive 10:30 to start the tour at 11am, we will finish at 2:30pm.


10:30am Cuppa and catch up chat with other community gardeners – an informal session
11:00am sharp Tour of xxxxxx Community Garden
11:30am Community garden networking session — a garden nominates someone to tell us what your garden has been up to.
12:30pm Shared lunch
1:00-2:15pm — 2 session: 1:00-1:35 & 1:40 to 2:15 (35 minute sessions)

  • open space sessions — bring your discussion topics or skill activities to share
  • workshops by gardeners — eg. seed saving, pest management, how to deal with conflict in the garden, seed/plant swapping session

2:15pm Checkout — where to from here — where is our next MeetUP — focus for next MeetUP —confirm actions to complete for next meeting.
2:30pm FINISH

What to bring:

  • great stories about your gardens
  • finger food to share for lunch and cool drinks if desired
  • plate, cutlery and a mug for yourself
  • seeds to swap
  • cutting material to share
  • mystery plant, pest or disease samples to be identified.

Host garden will provide:

  • mugs
  • tea and coffee, milk, sugar.

Getting there:

  • list public transport options
  • list car parking details
  • encourage options for car pooling.

In case of wet weather…

Possible options to let people know about:

  • nominate what will happen — eg. leave a message by 9am on email discussion list and our Facebook page to confirm if event is cancelled
  • if your garden doesn’t have wet weather facilities, maybe say the MeetUP will be postponed till the following week?
  • provide a phone contact for checking.


sent on 27 October 2013 for the MeetUP 23 on November 2013

SYDNEY REGIONAL Community Garden MeetUP

Are you a member of a community garden? Are you interested in community gardening?

Come and join the Australian City Farms and Community Gardens Network (now Community Gardens Australia) at Addison Road Community Garden for an end-of-year catch-up. Meet other community gardeners and find out what’s happening in community gardens across Sydney and share some tips, stories, and food!

Tell all your community garden friends to come along!

  • WHERE: Addison Road Community Garden, at the Addison Road Community Centre, 142 Addison Rd Marrickville, NSW 2204. Enter the garden via the path between the Martial Arts Hut and the Greek Theatre.
  • WHEN: Saturday 23 November 2013
  • TIME: Arrive 10:45 to start the tour at 11am, we will finish at 2:30pm.

RSVP / questions / suggestions for discussion:

Not essential to RSVP but preferred.
Emma Wise xxxx or


  • 10:30am — arrive for a 11:00am start, have a cuppa and catch up with old friends and a chance to meet new community garden friends
  • 11:00am — tour of Addison Road Community Garden
  • 11:30am —community gardens catchup—tell us your garden’s story, what have you been up to?
  • 12.30pm — Shared Lunch
  • 1.00-2.15 — 2 session: 1:00-1:35 and 1:40 to 2:15 (35 minute sessions)
    Either: open space sessions — bring your discussion topics or
    skill activities to share (small workshops)
  • 2:15pm — Checkout
    • where to from here
    • next meeting
    • focus for next meeting
    • confirm actions to complete for next meeting.
  • 2:30pm — FINISH

What to bring:

Great stories about your gardens; finger food to share for lunch and drinks if desired; plate, cutlery and a mug/cup for yourself.

Host garden will provide:

Mugs, serviettes, tea and coffee, milk, sugar, drinking water

In case of wet weather:

We will go ahead with the event under shelter of the gazebo at Addison Road Community Garden. Check your email at 9am on the day, in case unforeseen circumstances force cancellation.

Getting there:

Buses from Central — catch the 428 from Stand C at Railway Square (the main bus station on George Street). Get off at the stop on Addison Road outside the Addison Road Community Centre.
10.43am Central –> 11.02am Addison Road
11.04am Central –> 11.28am Addison Road
Walk — 1.5km from Petersham train station
Drive — parking available in the car park at the Addison Road Community Centre.

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