The Waverley gang get building

NO SLACKERS this Waverley mob…. they start with a grassy lawn in the morning and well before the sun dips behind the Blue Mountains there’s a community garden instead.

Crowdsourcing willing workers via digital media, this was the sort of collaboration community gardening creates at its best.

Watch this catchy video to see how it’s done…

Russ Grayson reports from Waverley Park…

IT WAS A MILD and sunny 20 May 2011 when the Waverley Park Community Garden crew turned up ay 9.30 in the morning to turn lawn into food garden.

There must have been 50 there at the peak of the morning’s activity, and add in those who came during the day and you end up with a fair number of people interested in the new development that occupies an edge of Waverley Park in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs.

The team that made it happen (Penny, Sarah and Chloe)


The community garden is a tangible outcome of the Sustainability Streets program that has brought people together around sustainable living. It was appropriate that Waverley Councillor Prue was at the community garden construction as council has offered support.

It also attracted others from the region… Costa Georgiadis the telegardener (Costa’s Garden Oddysey, SBS television); Peter Driscoll of Transition Sydney, Lance Lieber and Beatrice (and canine Facebook star Elvis the hound dog) from Transition Bondi, Toni—landscape architect from Kogarah City Council who designed Carss Park Community Garden and a landscape architect from from Newcastle City Council, Fiona Campbell—sustainability educator from Randwick City Council; Nick Ritar from Milkwood Permaculture; and myself, Russ Grayson from the Australian City Farms & Community Gardens Network.

Also present were Waverley Council’s Erin Gibson (Environmental Officer-Community Education) and Megan.

The Waverley Community Garden construction crew

The garden consists of a number of galvanised iron planters containing wicking bed, which have a greater capacity to self-water than conventional garden beds.

The story started when local Eastern Suburbs Sustainability Street groups met at

the three eastern council (Randwick, Waverley, Woollahra) energy/water/resource efficient Barrett House learning centre to plan their activities over the following year. The Waverley group then met at Waverley Park to start planning the community garden. Fiona Campbell, Randwick Council’s sustainability educator, facilitated the meetings and key participants from the Waverley Sustainability Streets group—Penny and Sarah van Erp—attended the Sustainable Futures course for community leaders organised by Fiona. Penny and Sarah  then ran a strategic planning session with the community garden team. From that, a strong planning team emerged and concentrated on getting the project to launch stage.

At the start of construction day, the corner of the park was littered with mounds of gravel and garden soil, agricultural pipe and garden tools… and, most importantly, a table bearing food and water to sustain the gardeners.

A highlight was the launch of the community garden sign, an artful construction made of bits and pieces assembled into a colourful, attractive sign by Waverley Council’s artist in residence, Emma Anna. Councillor Prue Cancian and Lance Lieber spoke at the launch, as did Sarah van Erp and myself for the Australian City Farms & Community Gardens Network.

The day was not only a construction project. It was  a celebration, a coming together of creative minds and hands, a sign of what can be done when citizens and local government come together to achieve a common goal.

View slideshow on Picasa of festive contruction day:

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