Enid Street Community Garden Makes the News!

View the full story on the ABC website here! ¬†I’ve copied and pasted the photo and story below ūüôā

Big team effort!

One woman’s passion and vision has sparked an innovative community garden scheme in Tweed Heads.

 While numerous community gardens have sprung up locally in the past few years, this one is unique.

The land for the Enid Street Community Garden is a private block rather than council land.

Coolangatta’s Kate Miller saw the need for a community garden in the Tweed area, but land is scarce.

So when an Enid Street house block in Tweed Heads came up for sale, she bought it with the view to allowing locals to use it.

Her plans for the block range from building garden beds to providing a space for beekeepers and supporting local school children.

Garden of plenty

One of the area’s few remaining hardwood Queenslander-style houses stands on the 973-square-metre block.

Kate plans to renovate the house to allow a caretaker to live on-site. ¬†Volunteers have started building garden plots at the front of the yard. ¬†Students of the nearby St Joseph’s Primary School will be allocated some of the plots to grow almost anything they like.

“They can do as they wish as long as it’s legal,” she says. ¬†The students planted strawberries as their first plants.

Busy bees

More garden plots will be built at the back of the house, as well as a couple of sheds. ¬†One will be similar to a men’s shed; the other will house equipment to help amateur beekeepers in the area.

Kate, who keeps bees herself, explains: “We’ll set up a bee shed where they can bring their honey boxes and extract their honey and then take their boxes back to their own hive.”

“That supports beekeeping without having to have all the equipment and it makes [a space for the] community where they can come and do it together,” she adds.

Growing the vision

Kate’s vision is that this is the first of many similar projects in the area. ¬†“I would like to think down the track this might become a model,” she says. ¬†“If there are people living in large houses with backyards, they might say to their neighbours who may be living in flats or duplexes or more densely populated buildings: ‘We’ve got some space in the backyard. Would you like to come and make a plot and share a garden and build that sense of community?'”

But why has she invested so much of her own money into this community project?

“I would like to think at the end of my life I’ve given something back to a community, and [this is] an area which I absolutely love,” she says.

“And I would like to make a model for our children that at the end of our days, we can look back and say what did we contribute; that’s all really.”

You can follow their progress on the Enid Street Community Garden blog.

 

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Guerilla Gardening, Container Gardening, Community Gardening: Transforming Spaces

Guerilla Gardening at it's finest.
Guerilla Gardening at it’s finest.

Guerilla Gardening

See the pretty flowers in that ordinary traffic island? ¬†The Gold Coast city council has a few larger plants in there, but they didn’t plant those colourful things there… Nope, it was a local resident Kate M (not to be confused with me, Kate B), and her son. ¬†They bought a tray of dying plants from some gardening centre and brought them back to life, transforming this boring little piece of dirt into a vibrant little ‘guerilla garden’. ¬†My daughter (in the photo) helped plant a few of the plants herself, so she likes to think that it’s her garden too… and, well… it IS for everyone to enjoy! Continue reading

And… We Have Poo!

Pony Poo

Pony Poo

We have poo!!! ¬†Pony poo, that is. ¬†Thanks to the Tweed Heads Pony Club¬†for providing our community garden with pony poo! ¬†Everyone was busy this afternoon, shoveling and dumping poo in the front planter beds. ¬†Well, I was sort of standing around with my thumb in my nose taking photos… I did have one baby on my back and a 3 year old to watch and make sure she didn’t get run over by a wheelbarrow. ¬†As my daughter was falling asleep tonight, she was asking all about the poo…

So… mummy, why did they put pony poo in the garden beds?’, she asked

That does seem a little funny, doesn’t it!’?’, I replied, ‘It’s because when we put the plants in the planter beds, the poo will help the plants to grow.’

She said, ‘Ok, so, the plants will grow from the poo and then we’ll eat the plants and that means that we’ll eat the pony poo?’.

Oh… haha! ¬†I love conversations with 3 year olds!

In the planter beds, we have wood chips and pony poo as the fill.  And, soon, on top of the fill, we will be putting soil and compost.  It all sounds like a very nutrient rich little environment for our garden to grow in!

Big team effort!

Big team effort!

Networking in Action

We had quite a little crowd for late on a Thursday afternoon, I would say about 10 people, give or take a few kids and a few people standing around talking (ahem, like myself). ¬†But, even standing around and just ‘talking’ at a community garden might mean something. ¬†For example, I was standing around talking to a lady from another community garden nearby, in Tugun. ¬†She is in charge of grants and donations for her community garden and she was very interested in helping to get our community garden on its feet. ¬†I have an interest in working on raising money from grants and donations, so we were brainstorming about ways we can work together to help get more money for both gardens! ¬†A bit of synergy! ¬†She was saying how it actually pays for community gardens to work in alliance because it means that we can raise even more money. ¬†She was also saying how gathering money to run a community is something that is relatively easy when compared to raising money for anything else.

Bird's eye view

Bird’s eye view

Next Steps

I *think*, although I’m not sure, that our next steps are to secure soil and compost and worms! ¬†Kate was also saying that once the garden beds are filled with soil and compost, that we need to let them settle for a couple of weeks before we start planting. ¬†Wow, I can’t wait to start planting!

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Scarecrows, sculptures… and worms!

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Things have been moving along rather quickly with our community garden this week! ¬†Well, it may not ‘look’ like things have been moving along, as nothing much physically has changed, other than some of the house renovations. ¬†But, lots of planning and paperwork and ideas have been rolling and it will be really soon that we start seeing our first garden beds in the front of the house being filled. ¬†Here’s what’s been happening: Continue reading

Front Planter Beds Ready to Go!

Well, I was on my way to play group and schlepping kids around, but our Enid Street Garden saw some work over the past few days. Look how many planter beds they fit in just the front yard! Looks beautiful!  I saw Luke doing some work, not sure if some others were involved with the construction, but it looks fantastic!  The timber is from Uki (not sure of the name of the company who supplies it?).

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Hard at work!

Hard at work!

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Here they are, half way finished

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A Community Garden Needs A Status!

More from the volunteer meeting last Sunday

More from the volunteer meeting last Sunday

Well, they say that great minds think alike… or maybe it’s minds with the same name, like Kate. ¬†And, well, the Dutchess (Kate) just had a baby today. ¬†Ok, that’s totally coincidental. ¬†More to the point, I (commoner Kate) was thinking last night that in order to receive donations, either in the form of monetary or goods, for the garden, that we would probably need to be registering as a ‘not for profit’ or a ‘charitable’ organisation. ¬†As I was walking past Kate’s house (Kate Miller, community garden property owner), she just happened to yell down from her balcony, that she met with the city council today to have a talk with them about the community garden project. ¬†The council decided that yes, the garden needs to get registered as an organisation. ¬†AND, she said that they were really onboard with the idea of a community garden! ¬†Hooray!

The Tweed Heads city council, in my opinion, is a very progressive and environmentally minded city council, compared to other city councils I’ve seen around. ¬†They make huge initiatives for things like recycling and conservation. ¬†For example, one time, my microwave kicked the bucket, and we needed to get rid of it, so rather than throw it away, the town council has a contractor who picks up appliances and recycles parts of it! ¬†How cool! ¬†No surprise, they were probably more than stoked to hear about Kate’s community garden idea.

The city council also said something about needing to get approval for some of the rain water tanks, particularly the ones that will be in the front of the house. ¬†They do alter the appearance of the streetscape, so I guess that’s why. ¬†But, I’m thinking we may have to get some ‘permission’ so to speak for the rest of the garden and possibly the house to be used as a community space. ¬†I’m not sure if ‘community garden space’ falls into the original property zoning plans.

Gaining charitable or not for profit status will allow the community garden to receive tax deductible donations. ¬†I was thinking that we might approach some of the local casinos for starters for money doantions. ¬†But, also, for things like tools and equipment, maybe Bunnings (local hardware store) or other garden wholesalers. ¬†Once the garden is up and running, I don’t think costs will be huge to run it, but there will be maintenance fees as well as insurance, etc. ¬†So, having access to donated money will be very important.

Any suggestions?  Any experience?  Would love to hear your thoughts!

A Community Garden in the Making!

Front view from the street

Front view from the street

Imagine if every person only had to walk down the street to collect their fruits and veggies! Then, kids like my daughter would know that food comes from gardens (not just the grocery stores). Thanks to life time resident, Kate Miller, Tweed Heads has community garden in the making! ¬†The property has a house that is being renovated. ¬†It was built in 1948 (one of the only free standing original houses left in the area). ¬†The garden space is a large open lot in the back that will serve as the majority of the garden. ¬†The smaller, front plot of the house, will be reserved for the school just across the street, St. Joseph’s Primary, as their own student garden! Continue reading