Lismore Community Garden site co-ordinator Carla Tipping, project officer Linda Wirf and GunnaWannaBe owner Mick Roberts, who will give a talk on bush foods at the garden’s first open day this Saturday.
Lismore Community Garden site co-ordinator Carla Tipping, project officer Linda Wirf and GunnaWannaBe owner Mick Roberts, who will give a talk on bush foods at the garden’s first open day this Saturday.

Help Lismore's garden grow

Bundjalung man Mick Roberts believes the Lismore Community Garden is helping to bring our city into the 21st century and foster a closer sense of community.

“We're so behind. In European countries community gardening has been going on for centuries, but Australia is only just waking up to it,” the owner of bush food restaurant GunnaWannaBe said. “Australians are very good at coming together in emergencies - for bushfires and floods - but not always in our own communities, and I think this garden will be great for Lismore. We are really a country town at heart, but we're getting bigger and bigger, and it's important we don't lose that sense of community.”

Mick will be doing a talk on bush foods at the Lismore Community Garden open day this Saturday, October 31. The day is free and everyone is invited to go along and find out about what's envisaged for the garden, join in workshops and activities, and sign-up as a volunteer to help turn the design plans into reality.

Lismore Community Garden project officer Linda Wirf said stage one of the garden is the construction of a nursery, fencing, a garden shed and water tank. Stage two will be the creation of a shared garden for the public and a backyard demonstration area teaching people how to create a sustainable and productive garden in their own backyard, even if they only have a little earth to work with. Stage three will be the construction of paths and specific garden plots for groups within the community, such as local African associations and those organisations that work with people with disabilities.

Linda said they hope to have the garden beds available for general use by January, but, being a community garden, the speed of the project depends entirely on how many people are willing to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty.

“We have a site co-ordinator, Carla Tipping, who will oversee the day-to-day running of the garden, but we don't have money in the budget to pay people to construct the gardens. The whole idea is to give the community ownership of the garden, so we need everyone's help for it to flourish,” Linda said. “There's lots of different jobs we need doing - people who can construct chain mesh fencing, people who can lay concrete, people to build no-dig gardens. These will all happen at different stages so what we want is to create a register of people with different skills, and then we'll match them to the jobs that best suit them as they come up. But it's also not just about being told what to do - we want people to have input into the way the garden evolves.

“In the future we hope to have big lunches at the garden for volunteers so everyone can eat together and share ideas. There are real social and interactive aspects to it.”

Linda encouraged people to come along this Saturday, register to volunteer or put their name down for a garden plot, and enjoy the many activities on offer.

There's organic gardening demos and workshops, displays on living sustainably, a companion planting presentation, Mick's bush food talk, water wise gardening with Garden Guru Phil Dudman, workshops on worm farms and compost tea, face painting and live music, a BBQ lunch with vegetarian options, a raffle and even a spring Maypole dance.

The open day runs from 9.30am to 2.30pm on the corner of Brewster and Magellan St. For more information, phone Linda Wirf on 6620 1815 or Carla Tipping on 0400 680 300.


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