Community gardens are emerging all over the country as people increasingly value their role in sustainable living and healthy communities. Due to large community demand the Kiama Community Garden located within the grounds of Blue Haven Retirement Village was established and is now fully operated by local community members.
Planning for the garden commenced in mid 2009. A public meeting was held, where interested community members were able to express their interest and desires for a community garden. Interested residents toured a variety of community gardens located in the Illawarra area. Community members participated in two design meetings and were actively involved in the design and development of the garden based on what they had seen on the tour and their own desires and experiences.
Site works commenced in April 2010 and were completed in October 2010. The site comprises 3 terraces of garden beds, 3 rain water tanks, kitchen and meeting room, hot house, worm farm, composting area and the Blue Haven Men’s Shed. Community gardeners helped establish and plant out the garden where a large variety of fruit, vegetables and herbs are now grown organically.
In December 2010, the garden produced its first crop which was then harvested and the produce was then shared amongst the community gardeners. Excess produce was then distributed through local produce stores and markets.
The Kiama Community Garden is a shared garden, in which community gardeners have responsibility for the entire garden, doing whatever work is needed at the time and taking a share of what is grown. The garden is open for anyone in the Kiama Municipality to participate.
Community gardeners meet at the garden every Wednesday at 4pm and working bees are run most Saturday mornings at the garden. New gardeners are always welcome and those interested in joining can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or obtain further information by visiting one of the Wednesday meetings.
For updates on the latest news and events from the Kiama Community Garden, please visit the garden’s blog, http://kiamagardens.blogspot.com/
Kiama Council is committed to the future of community gardening as a significant strategy that can contribute to the health, wellbeing, social, environmental and cultural strengths of the community.
It defines the place of community gardening within the priorities of Council’s integrated strategic planning framework and establishes the respective roles and relationships between Council and community garden groups. If you are interested in establishing a community garden read this expression of interest.
PLEASE NOTE: Kiama Council is still in the process of identifying a list of suitable sites within the Municipality for the establishment of new gardens. Once these sites have been identified and all suitability & compliance issues have been addressed, Application Forms & other related documentation and procedural forms will be placed on this site for use by individuals and/or groups wishing to apply to establish a Community Garden. Meanwhile you may register your interest.
Since the start of 2011, Kiama Public School in partnership with Permaculture Solutions has been participating in the Living Classroom program funded by Illawarra Local Food Strategy for Climate Change, which is a three year grant-funded project through the NSW Environment Trust.
The Living Classroom is a classroom in the garden and is based on Permaculture Design Systems that balance food production, biodiversity and sustainable resource management. It is an interactive environment that integrates natural resources into the garden including harvesting and reusing rainwater, building worm farms and processing the school’s organic waste into compost. Students then learn how to prepare and cook delicious and healthy meals with the food they have produced.
The Living Classroom program is an exciting educational tool that provides children with an important opportunity to learn through active participation and experience. It is a social environment where children and the school community can get together to share and learn new skills, resources and information.