A recent working bee at the Little Keen Street community garden in Lismore.
A recent working bee at the Little Keen Street community garden in Lismore.

Gardeners keen to dig in

There’s a gardening revolution going on in Lismore and people are keen to get involved.

At a recent working bee at the Little Keen Street community garden, volunteers mulched, planted and shared gardening skills with each other.

The community food and medicine garden has been in Little Keen Street for the past three years and now garden organisers are looking to improve the garden and expand community involvement.

“We would like to see the space being enjoyed and utilised as a centre for social gathering, learning and knowledge exchange,” community garden organiser Max Burgess said. “We believe that it’s important for the community to come together and have fun, keeping fit through exercise and gardening.

“It’s a gardening revolution because we are challenging the idea that you have to go to Woolies to get your food,” Max said. “You can come down to the community garden and pick a few leaves for your salad. By cutting out the middle man, you are reducing food costs. Food prices are sky high – lettuce is about $4 at the supermarket.”

At the moment, capsicums, snake beans and tomatoes are being planted for summer. Everyone who comes down to the garden and helps out can expect to reap the benefits.

“It’s a reciprocal thing – it’s good to give as much you take,” Max said. “You can contribute in whatever way you can – on a skills basis, without money. Come down, pull weeds and take some vegies home. If you don’t know anything about gardening, come and learn.

“Gardening is good for the body and soul, and families can do it together,” Max said. “We have space for kids to play, paths, strawberry patches and musical sculptures. We can show kids that we can have fun outside social meeting places like pubs and the kids aren’t always inside playing Playstation.”

Max said people can easily start their own community garden.

“It just takes a few passionate people who want to make a difference to get the ball rolling,” she said.

With a future vision for an art space in the garden, organisers are looking for artists who would like to build a garden entrance with a mosaic wall and a roofed community garden notice board. Other ways people can get involved include helping to build new garden beds with retainer walls, paving, fencing, trellisses, watering systems and a fruit tree garden.

Max is also looking for people who would like to contribute to a quarterly magazine containing information about permaculture, upcoming community garden events and local advertising.

To keep the garden going, organisers rely on the generosity of the community and are looking for donations of gardening and building supplies to expand the garden.

“At our working bee, we planted seedlings which were donated from a number of places including Viola Brothers Nursery, Teven Valley Plants, The Seedling House and Eastern Forest Nursery,” Max said. “We would also like to get a rainwater tank.”

If you’re keen to help garden, meet new friends and play a family-friendly game of soccer, the group meets every Sunday afternoon. For more information, phone Jade on 0401 396 211.

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