New book helps to start, 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 Community Gardening.

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

CGCoverImage-214x300Growing 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.

Around 70 people attended the launch of teh new book, Community Gardening, at Glandore Community Centre on a hot Adelaide afternoon.

Around 70 people attended the launch of the new book, Community Gardening, at Glandore Community Centre on a hot Adelaide afternoon.

Online too

Growing Community is available online as a pdf file for download. Also on the website are resources for community gardeners such as: designing welcoming, inclusive and accessible gardens; gardening with children; gardening with schools; community garden rules and guidelines; a users guide to meetings; meetings: a guide for facilitators; grants; introductions, icebreakers and energisers.

There is also downloadable horticultural information on: mulch; tips to save water in your garden; organic pest control; organic weed control; companion planting; planting seedlings; growing fruit trees; saving seeds; propagation; worm farming.

Other downloads include facilitation resources.


Print copies the Community Centres SA Inc., in Adelaide, are $15 including postage.

Order from Community Centres SA Inc., 1/25 Naldera Street, Glandore SA 5037.
T: 08 8371 4622
1800 633 616 (toll free non-metro callers only)
Fax: (08) 8371 4722

Funds raised through sales of the book  go to supporting community gardening projects.

Electronic copies are available for free download:

There are additional community garden resources at this site.

The book is also available from Google Books:

The ACFCGN’s claire nettle can email pdf copies directly to anyone who would like one. You will need room in your inbox for a 6MB file.

claire nettle reports…

If you’d like to include a link from your website or blog to the Growing Community website that would be much appreciated.


  1. Jason John

    Hi Claire & Tim,
    Great job, and great timing for an update! Can’t wait to grab it online.

  2. Jason John

    Wow- online already, fabulous (maybe update the story to reflect that).
    It would be great to have a single file to download as well though, since then you can print it as a booklet and all tehpages come out right, instead of ending up with 4 booklets. (its really not that big in this age of adsl).

    That said- woo hoo!!!! great job and I’ll be using it this month with the congregation in Bellingen, and passing it on to the State UnitingEarthWeb coordinator, who is putting somethign together which is church specific to encourage people to start gardens.

  3. claire

    Community Centres SA are unable to put the whole Growing Community booklet on their website as a single document, but I’m happy to send the pdf file to anyone who is interested – an has room for 6MB in their inbox. Just send me an email at It’s also available in full at Google Books.


    Thanks Adam, all updated now. Sorry for the broken link.

  5. Adrian James

    Hi Claire interested in a copy of Growing Communities to assist us with our community garden process, couldn’t access the link,


    Adrian James

  6. Cr. Stephen Lynch

    Hi , i am an Areau Councillor for the BerriBarmera Council, i am trying to start a community garden project comprising an adle bodied garden plus a dedivcated disabled garden using tanks,i would appreciate any help – advice i could get. I have a decommissioned bowling rink and an inline skating rink, that would be perfect for this project in the centre of Barmera.

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