CARSS PARK COMMUNITY GARDEN was still a construction site, however it proved a successful venue for the 2009 Australian City Farms & Community Gardens Network’s (ACFCGN) 2009 meet-up and annual general meeting, an event combined with the quarterly Sydney Community Garden Network (SCGN) gathering.
While those attending the ACFCGN meeting discussed topics such as communications, the distribution of Network funds for projects and the production of a new inventory of community gardens in Australia, a work crew continued the construction of the community gardens’ strawbale classroom and community gardeners tended the vegetables planted in a number of shared gardening beds.
Like the Randwick Community Organic Garden, the Carrs Park gardeners have obtained roofing tile seconds to make sturdy edges to their garden beds. The age range of the gardeners spans the twenties to retired and there is a mix of men and women. The garden occupies the green of a disused bowling club on land owned by Kogarah City Council, which instigated the community garden project and hired sustainability educator, Faith Thomas and the author as consultants to carry out a community consultation, gather a core of gardeners together, organise a participatory site design and write a gardener’s guide and policy directions for Council on community gardening.
The SCGN meeting offered networking and news-sharing about what’s happening in community garde:
- Aar0n Sorensen shared insight into the participatory design processes he uses with community gardeners in the Illawarra, south of Sydney
- Emma Daniell, education co-ordinator for Randwick Community Organic Garden, took people through the seed saving process
- Rob Allsop led a workshop on managing insect pests.
SCGN meet-ups are quarterly events in different community gardens that bring together people active or interested in community gardening, some from local government and others from other organisations to share knowledge, get to know each other and to reinforce the idea that we are all engaged in a common enterprise. The informal organisation gives a regional voice to community gardeners. Last season’s took place at Chester Hill Community Garden in western Sydney.