Do you think it is appropriate or not, to provide access to community land in the Blue Mountains for community gardens? Please indicate your reasons.

almost 6 years ago
CLOSED: This map consultation has concluded

Using community land for the cultivation of community gardens can provide benefits to both the community involved, as well as the wider community. It is important that community gardens are managed efficiently and effectively with an understanding of the particular needs of a Blue Mountains setting with the surrounding National Park.

For example, community gardens can influence the nutrition of families which participate actively and of those who attend education and training events about composting and gardening skills, delivered for the interest and enjoyment of people of all ages and abilities - in fact the whole community. The experience of participating in a community garden can diffuse any misconceptions about food sources.

Active participants in a community garden enjoy the benefit of access to fresh food and gardening activities that promote good health and fitness, as well as the social benefits. Community gardens in the Australian context usually emphasise collective or shared activities. This compares to the allotment style of gardens more commonly seen in Europe and the UK.

Relates to Relates to document: Draft Community Gardens Policy

  • Anina1 about 9 years ago
    What a very good idea. I have seen similar community gardens working in the UK, the USA and Australia. I think everyone benefits whether the gardeners grow flowers or produce. I would also like to see homeowwners being encouraged to use the nature strips to grow fruit trees as they do in other places with mediterranean climates. Trees such as citrus or avocado can be kept small enough to crop without interfering with power lines. The perfume from citrus is gorgeous. Almonds are another good tree for street plantings. Let's use the land productively instead of wasting mowing and water on lawns.
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    • topomountain about 9 years ago
      No. I have seen them here and they end up as weed patches. Might work in UK, however we have too many other things to do.
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      • The Deacon about 9 years ago
        SPOT ON you are 100% correct on both counts !!!!!!!!!!!!!
      • DOG GONE almost 9 years ago
        It will be a weed garden in the U R Correct !!!Mountain trendies R always looking for more ways to become cosmopolitain
      • Maryanne Bell almost 9 years ago
        Dear person (I'd prefer a real name),I'm sorry that the Blackheath Community Garden didn't survive (if that is correct) but there are other places to visit. Do you know about The Quarry in Blackheath? Do you know about the Blackheath Community Markets that are held at Blackheath Public School? Worth a visit I think.The 3 community gardens I know in the Blue Mountains: BM Organic Community Garden in Katoomba, Mid Mountains Community Garden in Lawson and Winmalee Community Garden are certainly not weed patches. I do sincerely suggest you become involved with either of them and offer your enthusiasm and time and energy. All the people involved in gardening are interesting and you will have many things to talk about and do.Loving kindnessMaryanneHazelbrook.
    • DOG GONE about 9 years ago
      europe & uk they can have it! have on original idea the Australian back yard vegetable garden where you spend time with your own children and also grow as a family. Try that !
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      • DOG GONE almost 9 years ago
        Removed by moderator.
      • Deonast almost 9 years ago
        It depends on what the Blue Mountains council has in mind with in regards to residential planning. If we end up with more strata properties, units and flats then community gardens may be the only way for some to have that back yard vegetable garden experience you refer to. Also the idea of the community garden is there will be other people there you can talk to and maybe able to help you out where your knowledge in gardening is limited. You can grow as a family, but realise you also live in a community too many seem to ignore that fact maybe that is why we have so many thinking just about themselves these days.
  • mumbles about 9 years ago
    I think it is an excellent idea, Just the issue of obesity and lack of knowledge about healthy food is reason enough to encourage the wider community to be involved in access to a community garden.
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    • The Deacon about 9 years ago
      Removed by moderator.
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      • mumbles about 9 years ago
        The question is not about so called fatties but about providing an healthy environment for the community to learn about a number of issues such as teaching young people the value of growing fresh food which could result in an healthy society which is sadly lacking in the present day, The advantages of a community gardens are boundless.
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        • DOG GONE almost 9 years ago
          Removed by moderator.
    • DOG GONE about 9 years ago
      Are you of the opinion that the obesity issue will be solved with a community garden ha ha ha!The wider fat community will be interested for 5 minutes about when a bead of sweat appears on their fore heads.
    • topomountain about 9 years ago
      Rather than using ratepayers money on vegie gardens, perhaps they should spend time eradicating Indian Myna birds. They are increasing in numbers and spread throughout the upper mountains. They drive away native birds and take over large areas.
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      • jray310 almost 9 years ago
        Who says that we can't do both, Topomountain? However, I do not like the term 'eradicating' -- it is highly emotional re a topic that should be carefully considered as to avoid neglible environmental consequences. Additionally, Indian Mynah birds in the BM are part of a much larger problem -- climate change. I am not going to continue my line of thought -- I suggest that you start another forum rather than distracting us from the issue currently at hand.
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        • topomountain almost 9 years ago
          Removed by moderator.
        • Maryanne Bell almost 9 years ago
          Dear James,Yes, this forum is devoted to BMCC's draft community garden policy. When BM residents read through the short document and visit the many websited cited in these comments and replies they will learn about the subject and either support the draft policy or not. This is an important issue as the weather becomes more extreme and the price of food increases. Every summer and autumn I revel in the food I grow and I share surplus with my neighbours and friends who do the same. It makes me feel happy and contented.Loving kindnessMaryanneHazelbrook.
        • topomountain almost 9 years ago
          jray310 ... I disagree with you. Indian Mynah birds have nothing to do with climate changes. They were a pest when I was a kid in the 1940's in Maroubra. My reason for mentioning them was to say it would be better to spend the money on getting rid of a pest. In fact there are many more problems that should be tackled before setting up community gardens for a few.
    • hate u almost 9 years ago
      The wider community can fend for them selves they dont need their hand held by any one.their is enough shows on tv these days about health and neutrician to make u loose weight just watching them
    • hate u almost 9 years ago
      It would also be a fantastic idea to get people to walk or excercise a little.Its not just eating healthy its exercising aswelllearning about healthy food at community garden not sure about that but I am sure it will teach tollerence
  • The Deacon about 9 years ago
    This is AUSTRALIA not europe or UK land size in general in the BMCC region is large enough to have a back yard vegi patch unlike uk & europe. Another waste of money by BMCC running this forum and wasting time paying council staff to work on this idea, WHY BMCC dont you work out how to get your self out of the enormous DEBT you are in! stop wasting money pandering to the big mouthed few as usual.Where do you intend setting up such communal gardens????????????????????????????????? Try honesty WHERE!!!!!!!!! Who will stop un desirables urinating on or destroying communal gardens in the middle of the night?And as for nature strips people have the right to have and desire lawns Scarff!
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    • DOG GONE about 9 years ago
      no dogs I do agree with all you have to say but by goodness dont be so long winded about it.BMCC are oxygen theifs.
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      • Pestasides almost 9 years ago
        Urine whether people or dog is actually a valuable fertiliser works better if diluted of course. but it was many of the valuable micro nutrients that our Blue Mountains soils are lacking.
    • mumbles about 9 years ago
      There is plenty of private and public land available for a community garden.
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      • topomountain about 9 years ago
        There is a community garden in my town. It lasted a few months and was abandoned. Its now full of weeds. BMCC shouldnt waste ratepayers funds on useless projects. If people want communal gardens, then let them pay a fee..that way they may appreciate it and look after it.
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        • DOG GONE almost 9 years ago
          Yes I agree BMCC dont waste even more money! Community gardens will attract vermine and your local hoon during the night and guess what BOO HOO he kicks your garden in while you sleep.Aus has big yards! Yards big enough for your own garden.Good man topomountain
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          • Deonast almost 9 years ago
            Not everyone has big gardens and with new sub division of property the average land size is going down, more units, flats and the like are being built to accommodate people I'm sure the Blue Mountains will end up going down the same path. I'm so glad that you have a big garden, but not everyone is so lucky. Perhaps you could think about others as well.
        • Maryanne Bell almost 9 years ago
          Dear Topomountain,I don't think BMCC will pay for community gardens. If you read the draft policy you will see that they will support them.It is disheartening when a community garden is abandoned. Is the one you are referring to the Blackheath Community Garden? I believe there was going to be one but it was not sited well.The Mid Mountains Community Garden received a reduced priced water tank from a manufacturer, the RTA I believe donated a cash sum of $1,000 and members pay a nominal fee of $2. All materials and plants and time are donated or in my case the $200 worth of ex-public school fencing was shared among a few members (I ended up paying $50 and was very happy about this... Mr Wallaby was thwarted!).There are other alternatives for gardening. A new initiative for Australia (established in UK and NZ I believe) that addresses the use of our big back yards is www.landshareaustralia.com.au. Yes, many mountain residents have large gardens but want assistance. There are people who want to help others in their gardens. PBM was a Garden and Living Skills Team and hold regular working bees in other people's gardens to teach/assist. The host provides morning tea or lunch. Visit www.wiserearth.org/group/bmp to see how you can join in.Loving kindnessMaryanneHazelbrook.
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          • topomountain almost 9 years ago
            Dear Maryanne Bell , I'm puzled as to why the RTA would donate a $1000 to the Blackheath project. It was obviously a waste of taxpayers money, however if correct then its typical. Yes, it was Blackheath that I had in mind as a failure. Your last paragraph mentions 'Landsharing', voluntarily of course, in ones own backyard- now thats worth looking at dont you think. It would not only promote vegetable growing but community socialising as well, at no cost to ratepayers.. Thanks Maryanne. Kind regards, Topomountain.
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            • Maryanne Bell almost 9 years ago
              Dear person (I'd like a real name),Yes I believe landshare is going to be very popular. Why don't you investigate and become involved. I've found people who garden are lovely people.As for $1000, this was to the Mid Mountains Community Garden. Loving kindnessMaryanneHazelbrook.
      • DOG GONE almost 9 years ago
        Removed by moderator.
      • DOG GONE almost 9 years ago
        plenty of public land the city of the blue mountains is a city with in a national parkCommunity Vegi gardens introduce foriegn species of vegitables to the natural enviroment.Community land is for the community not for the use of a few that need to hog it.
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        • whynot almost 9 years ago
          Community land is for the community - that means all of us. If some part of our community land is provided by council for a garden that means you can come and be part of the garden community. Noone in the community is excluded
        • Deonast almost 9 years ago
          Sorry that argument is just nonsense. There are so many introduced species of plants in most gardens in the Blue Mountains many capable of being spread easily by birds and you are worried about a few vegetables. Seriously we know you are against community gardens but stop grasping at straws.
    • GARDENFAIRY almost 9 years ago
      you have a sad,aggressive and negative outlook.much of your content does not warrant reply but i must comment on your insistence that there is no available or vacant land in the blue mountains. there is plenty, and if intensively used it could produce vast amounts of food for any members of the community, needy or otherwise. There has been little instance of 'undersirables' destroying community gardens in the mountains, despite the rather long history of their existence here. FYI, urine from a healthy person (undesirable or not) is actually sterile and did you know urine is high in nitrogen, an essential mineral for plant growth?if you opened your eyes and your mind before your mouth you could see what a wonderful healing potential community gardens have on many levels, something that may benefit your bleak and critical attitude.peace!!!
  • hate u almost 9 years ago
    Removed by moderator.
  • hate u almost 9 years ago
    Community Garden not a good idea, to many things that will happen.Native animals will eat garden food that will quite possibly effect their health causing them to become over weight or sickWith gardens avaliable animals will come and eat till full and eventually loose their hunting skillsThese gardens in un protected areas will attract foxes to urban areas for easy mid night snack bringing them from the bush very close to your homesWith out doubt undesirable people with kick your community garden to peices during the night.The wider community could may be use its time to help the elderly the sick or less fortunate this would be time well spent.
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    • Pestasides almost 9 years ago
      I personally think that the "elderly and less fortunate" could benefit from some low cost organic food, that doesn't need to be brought in from miles away causing pollution and over consumption of oil and other dwindling resources.The foxes are here whether we like it or not, BMCC statistics document that. Having a Community Garden will not bring them closer to homes. Foxes manage to live in the Northern suburbs of Sydney (I have seen them in Mosman), so while we live in a National Park and don't bait them then they are a fact of life.No gardener that I know of Community or otherwise, would not protect the produce they have worked so hard to grow, so I think the natives don't have a huge chance of over eating and getting sick. We aren't talking about well meaning residents feeding birds with bread and honey here, we are talking about fruit and vegetables.And your "undesirables" sound bored, rather than kicking up the garden maybe they should be out there making their time better "spent"
    • Deonast almost 9 years ago
      Ok 'Hate u', heard the phrase clutching at straws much. Question is how many community gardens are in towns and thus less accessible to Native animals who more frequent the fringes. Secondly there is plenty of people with gardens with introduced species of plants and fruits so I'd expect from your arguments there should already be an obesity epidemic in native animals who now do not know how to hunt. If you are so worried about this issue you should start a petition to get banned all gardens in the Blue Mountains that do not have native only plants, community gardens are a drop in the ocean compared to all the residential gardens out there.I'm surprised you care about anyone other than your self, noting your concern for the 'elderly the sick' when the name tag you use for this site is "Hate u" yep that sounds very community minded of you. Perhaps if you did less hating and more accepting we might have a richer community for it.
    • GARDENFAIRY almost 9 years ago
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    • LeanneS almost 9 years ago
      With regards to your statements Hate u - 'Native animals will eat garden food that will quite possibly effect their health causing them to become over weight or sick' and 'With gardens avaliable animals will come and eat till full and eventually loose their hunting skills'Does this mean I should also not have a vegie garden in my own backyard? Oh and foxes are already close to our homes, usually raiding a chicken coop, not a vege garden. A community garden will not make this any worse.And regards to your last statement - a community garden could be a wonderful thing for the elderly, the sick and less fortunate.
  • hate u almost 9 years ago
    If community gardens go ahead and I will add I oppose them but it appears if you read about this thurrowly it is going ahead regardsless of forumm, I propose that all produce be donated to charitable organisations or given directly to the less fortunate that may be can not afford them or for disability reasons can not join into a community garden.Consider the wider community as well as possums
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    • Maryanne Bell almost 9 years ago
      Dear resident (real name?),I agree with you about the "produce". I believe a community garden should have a good set of documents of aims/objectives, principles and code of conduct that detail how the plants/fruits/roots/tubers etc will be cared for and harvested. I am in support of members harvesting and sharing amongst themselves and then surplus being shared with disadvantaged groups. The Mid Mountains Community Garden has enshrined in its Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the private owners of the land in Lawson, that surplus will be shared with them for the visitors and residents of their many charitable courses. The house and property is called Kihilla and is in Queens Road Lawson and is now owned by the Church Army of Australia who provide courses for the local community and others in need.As for possums... I'm not in favour of providing them with food and that is why secure fencing and netting must be considered before planting. At the Mid Mountains Community Garden, many people were eager to begin planting and we disheartened when Mr Wallaby visited. Ex-public school fencing was purchased and that disuaded him. I love the idea of an anti-aviary. Cloud Farm Collective in Mt Tomah is renting and harvesting berries and other food from a totally enclosed orchard.Could you perhaps reconsider your username? It reveals a sadness and vulnerability masked by anger that is disconcerting.Loving kindnessMaryanneHazelbrook.
  • Redacted user almost 9 years ago
    I think BMCC should support people who would like to garden and socialise with other like-minded people. It is a healthy pastime. Perhaps Parkcare groups could be established and members could tend to the many neglected parks in the LGA as Council don't seem to have the necessary funds. And I don't think we should stop doing things because there is a potential for vandalism. Most people are good, and you can always fix damage caused by the odd idiot.
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    • jray310 almost 9 years ago
      Sorry I accidentally disagreed when I fully agree with what you have said.
  • whynot almost 9 years ago
    Yes I agree with all AM Scarff has written but also with the general premise that the council make available land for the community to garden on. Many properties in the Blue Mountains area have very poor soil, poor aspect and difficult access. Many people are time and skill poor when it comes to growing food and growing community. Not everyone has a family. Not everyone wants to garden alone.Community Gardens are a way of us all meeting the challenges ahead with food security, building community and sharing resources and skills. Vandalism does occur, but that is no reason not to go ahead. Many gardens in the city of Sydney suffer similiar issues and have developed strategies on how to deal with it. Fits in well with the Transition Towns initiative as well.
  • NKresident almost 9 years ago
    I used to be unsure about community gardens in the Blue Mts because of potential for spread of weeds, nutrient runoff, etc but if they are well managed (in accordance with Council's proposed policy & guidelines) then these things won't be such a problem. Those who think they're a bad idea should look at the successes, e.g. Nth Katoomba, rather than just focussing on the failures. Encouraging people to grow their own food is a vital part of building resilient local communities. Not everyone has the time, resources, skills or physical capacity to establish their own vege garden - and many blocks in the Blue Mts (whether small or large) are NOT suitable for growing fruit/veges (except maybe in pots). Community gardens give everyone the opportunity to contribute as much or as little as they are able. Let's make the best use of what little suitable land IS available to grow food for the community.
  • jray310 almost 9 years ago
    You know, I've often considered starting up a community garden/ permaculture group here in the Mid Mountains but now that there is a movement for one it should be ever so much easier! I may be wrong, but I think that this idea has been growing in the minds of many Blue Mountains residents for some time. There are so many advantages for community gardens. As long as "community gardens are managed efficiently and effectively with an understanding of the particular needs of a BM setting with the surrounding National Park then I am unable to see how community gardens could be detrimental.While I cannot speak for everyone, I do know many people -- such as bushcare volunteers, people in the Slow Food movement, environmentalists, cultivators, gardeners, permaculturists and people interested in making new friends -- would take an interest in this idea.
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    • whynot almost 9 years ago
      Hey Jray310 - there is already a MidMountains Community Garden! Queens Rd Lawson. Contact the MMNC for more info. And there is also a permaculutre group Permaculture Blue Mountains - info@permaculturebluemountains.net for more info or use the web link on the righ panel of this site under Links
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      • jray310 almost 9 years ago
        Hi Whynot, that's good to know! I'll have to drop in sometime :P I think that I've been in contact with Permaculture Blue Mountains before. The problem is that I'll be moving out to live at college on campus at UNSW so I don't think I'll be able to provide any major long-term support either group... However, I would like to get some info on permaculture to make changes in my own life at home and at UNSW (if people are interested).
  • Marta almost 9 years ago
    I think community gardebs are a good idea. Yes, as others have commented, many of us in the Blue Mountains have the luxury of a large garden in which we can grow our own vegetables, but what about those who live in flats/units, or in renatls homes whose landlords won't allow them to build a vegetable garden (yes, it does happen - frequently)? There are also many people who don't have the skills, soil, or aspect to enable them to garden at home. Community gardens also provide a great educational and social element - a friend in Brisbane swears her sanity was preserved when she was at home with her three young children (twins and a single), but could take them to the community garden and meet with other young mothers. The kids played together and learnt about gardening and food, and the mothers formed a stronmg social network. This also applies to many isolated people within the community - the elderly, the disabled, the poor, etc.As for vandalism, this doesn't seem to be a problem for North Katoomba Community Garden (the Mid-Mountains garden is on private land, and I don't know about the Winmalee garden), and it has been running for over 15 years. Weed and run-off problems come down to good management of the site, which should be a feature of the guidelines, and none of the ecologists, botanists, or environmental scientists I work with on a daily basis (in my day job) have ever heard of, or read any research on, fauna raiding community gardens to such an extent that they lose their hunting skills, nor leading to an increase in fox activity.
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    • Maryanne Bell almost 9 years ago
      Dear Marta,PBM have many educators providing short courses on a morning often in conjunction with TAFE outreach, Neighbourhood Centres and Nepean Community College. These courses address gardening in small areas, in containers and on shared land. This last option is new but already I know someone who has asked for assitance at their property. Visit www.landshareaustralia.com.au.Why not visit these places or look of information on our website www.wiserearth.org/group/bmp? Or come along to our Sustainability Talks in Lawson or our monthy meetings (informal guest speakers and food in a convivial setting) also in Lawson.And finally, yes I know how your friend felt... gardening alone or with others is a wonderful stress release.Loving kindnessMaryanneHazelbrook.
  • Maryanne Bell almost 9 years ago
    I believe community gardens are very important and I have enjoyed visiting the BM Organic Community Garden in Katoomba and was instrumental in establishing the Mid Mountains Community Garden in Lawson.As a resident of the Blue Mountains, I am all too aware that our 26 villages, situated along the ridge line of the mountains and bisected by the Great western Highway, are a mixture of permanent and transient groups of the elderly and young families; of retirees, full-time education and health workers, city commuters, semi-employed hospitality employees, tourists and the short and long term homeless. These topographical and socio-economic conditions can lead to isolation and fatigue and can exacerbate conditions such as depression and anxiety and encourage detrimental behaviours such as binge drinking among the young, alcoholism and drug taking.I am a member of Permaculture Blue Mountains Inc (PBM) visit www.wiserearth.org/group/bmp... we have been active for some years in implementing permaculture design principles to create healthy social environments; and more recently we have been collaborating with other community groups such as Transition Blue Mountains, Cittaslow Blue Mountains, Fruit and Nut Tree Network (and now more recently with Blue Mountains Community Exchange) in light of Peak Oil and the coming energy decent. In 2009 I began working with like minded individuals to establish a community garden in the mid mountains where it was our intention to address some of the situations above with the growing and sharing of food. The Mid Mountains Community Gardens in Lawson were established in late 2009 and in September of 2010 were officially opened by Councillor Dave Clarke.Establishing a community garden is difficult but establishing aims and creating principles is equally as challenging and requires the courage of convictions. Community gardens are vital and can be successful, inviting and useful places. I applaude the BMCC for its draft policy and point to many other councils who are proactive on this front.Loving kindnessMaryanne BellHazelbrook.
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    • jray310 almost 9 years ago
      Hi Maryanne,You certainly are an inspirational person! I don't know what or how much I can commit to (as I'm moving out soon), but I would love to get involved with basically everything you're doing!Peace,James Ray
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      • Maryanne Bell almost 9 years ago
        Dear James,Perhaps you could visit www.wiserearth.org/group/bmp and attend workshops or working bees BUT better still come along to our convivial PBM monthly meeting in Lawson (details on website). We have Michael Berney speaking informally about BM Community Exchange and then some good projects will be flagged."Moving out" - is that like cowboy talk for moving off the mountains? Loving kindnessMaryanneHazelbrook.
  • ratty almost 9 years ago
    Although I am in favor of the council opening up land for food growing I would be happier to see an Allotment style garden rather than a community garden. There are far too many "Airy Fairy" types that have an opinion on wanting community gardens but probably would not turn up to anything. They have too much politics involved. People fall out and there ends up with a small core of attendees. No one else wants to go because the core are usually bullies. Go to Katoomba gardens today and see how many people are there. It is usually dead. try visiting a UK allotment and not finding anyone there. Allotments build the local community without been forced. There are rules on upkeep and making the places look good and people loose their plots if the standards aren't met. There is often a new job in the council created for someone to oversee the allotments and settle disputes. They give people a guarantee that they have the space to feed their family rather than a token amount from the community garden. They are a wealth of knowledge of experienced growers who are wiling to share a lifetimes knowledge to new growers. They do everything that a council and the community want in a community garden with the tiniest effort. The big downside to allotments is that the surrounding houses prices often go up. BMCC has more than enough unused weed infested land to provide allotments to everyone that wanted one.
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    • Maryanne Bell almost 9 years ago
      Dear Ratty (a real name would be good),I don't think we should give up when faced with "bullies". It has struck me that many people are unwilling to voice their opinions or do so then walk away from a conflict. I understand the unpleasantness and I have witnessed and experienced this.However, such situations can be avoided or addressed if there is a solid management structure in place in the form of a Charter which contains documents that outline the aims/objectives, principles and code of conduct. (Have a look at Carss Park Community Garden in Kogarah.) I do think that BMCC's draft policy on community gardens should be supported because then they will be able to support individuals who want to create and care for a community garden. I think disaffected and individuals who have other agendas will be disuaded if they have to abide by the conflict resolution programs that would be a part of the code of conduct.As for attendance. There are many interested individuals who are will to be responsible for community garden members working on a weekend... I had happily committed to 3 hours on a Saturday morning once a month at the Mid Mountains Community Garden. It's all about structure... if there is support from BMCC many people will attend AND if the community gardens have functioning beds and paths and are welcoming then many local residents will look forward to gardening and harvesting.As for Fridays at the BM Organic Community Garden... last year I was working on a Friday and involved with the Mid Mountains Community Garden in Lawson. Are you free on a Friday? If not then perhaps another time can be negotiated.Yes, it is up to the community garden to serve the interests of the local community. Perhaps you could speak with the organisers and discuss the ideas of alotments.All the bestLoving kindnessMaryanneHazelbrook.
    • Marta almost 9 years ago
      Dear RattyI know what you mean about the bullying nature involved in some Community Gardens, and I think allotments would be a great idea. The MMCG, for example, seems exclusive and clique-like to me, partly because it is on private land so there are free access restrictions (i can't just turn up whenever I like to do a bit of pottering about, or just sit amongst the greenery and refresh my senses, and certain of the original Committee were (to me) quite bullying. However, I think there is a place for both systems within the Blue Mountains.
    • GARDENFAIRY almost 9 years ago
      rattyi must say that i agree with many of your points. i have unfortunately been exposed to bullying behaviour whilst involved in the ill-fated Blackheath Community Garden. It can come from people with the best of intentions!! Bickering and control issues can be a problem which alienate many from being involved.i find that the communal decision making process that is usually a feature of community gardens can be very problematic when dealing with empowered individuals. plot systems appeal to many people as they can be responsible for their own plot, eat their own produce and engage in skill and produce sharing at a level which they choose. being 'forced to share' is never a good system. We do live in a capitalist society after all and that is the way we have been socialised!i forsee that a plot system may be more successful than another community garden. i have seen successful ones in the UK and in Australia eg Ceres in Melbourne and Randwick Community Garden in Sydneyof course there is room for both!! this system allows for people to learn at their own pace and work when it suits them. Times for community garden meetings do not suit many working people like myself! i really like the diea of jobs being created in green, community minded spheres for appropriate people.
  • Anitra almost 9 years ago
    I definitely think it is appropriate to provide access to community land for community gardeners. It's happening all over Australia.Community gardens are useful not only for those in flats and temporarily-rented properties where they cannot grow their own food close to home, but also for those with their own gardens as a collective space to share skills and knowledge as many of us do already in the Blue Mountains Organic Community Garden in Katoomba.Because our settlement is like a cord across the range we could have community gardens in every township along the Blue Mountains so people can walk or bike to their local community gardens. Gardens located near railway stations are also sensible for the same reasons.Community gardens can have private and/or public lots. Fruit and nut trees are great examples of food plants, which are easy to collectively maintain and share the surplus.
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    • Pablo almost 9 years ago
      This whole discussion is wonderful as it it bringing thoughts and ideas to the surface about important topics like healthy food, community engagement, helping less fortunate members, protecting our environement and much more.One easy thing to see is that a good number of people have feelings and experience with community gardens, even if they are different. Most in thsi stream are positive so at this stage it appears we have more for community gardens than against them. Basically, we can have both: community and private gardens for those who wish to choose what to be involved with.Cittaslow (Slow Town) is a world wide movement in many countries of the world with very different cultures and regulations and it is very supportive of comminity gardens, as well as personal ones. It is based on building community self sufficiency, respect, culture and art and food is at the heart of all these things so gardening of any sort is its focus with many successes. Anyone can be a part of such a group if they wish - www.cittaslow.netWe have a cittaslow in Goolwa, South Australia, which has organised a community garden that is well run, managed and supported by their Council and community groups as well as individuals - www.cittaslowgoolwa.com.au. It is a success story with all ages visiting it, working in it or just enjoying it - from teenagers, young mums and bubs, aged and those with disabilities to council and other workers - and maybe we can learn from this and their experiences.Locally, we are in fact Cittaslow Katoomba Blue Mountains and this group strongly supports community gardens and would like to work with any project of this nature that starts up. We offer workshops for developing kitchen gardens in every Blue Mountains home as well as community gardens where suitable and supported. For more info on this visit: www.cittaslow.org.au.Let's keep the discussion going as our community can be diverse and strong at the same time and through hearing about others we can learn.
  • Maryanne Bell almost 9 years ago
    This is the email that Rosemary Morrow asked me to contribute to the forum."Over the last 24 years I have watched and sometimes worked with the sustainability unit of BMCC. I have seen them support initiatives which are completely and sadly lacking in other LGAs. BMCC is acquiring a high profile for many of its projects to reduce waste, build community, and support the natural environment. When talking to people from other LGAs I am able to point to the astounding record of the Community Gardens in the Mountains with the most interesting and oldest in Katoomba and others in Blackheath and Glenbrook. People are looking to Katoomba as a pioneer in this work. I know people have gained inspiration, food and friendship from working in the gardens. As climate change extreme weather conditions cut in, and with food likely to be expensive and in short supply, residents need these gardens as a source of seed stock and for learning. They function on so many levels and the BMCC is indeed lucky to have them. I utterly reject any ideas to reduce or modify the gardens, and actually request more council support. warmly Rosemary Morrow"
  • Michelle Henry almost 9 years ago
    I cannot recommend enough the benefits of increasing communty gardens throughout the mountains so that people do not have to travel too far. Every suburb should have one and would be particularly useful if their were waking distance to the local school or Neighbourhood Centre so that many other projects and people can link in with them. The more a community garden is supported by Council and used the safer it becomes.My experience with the Katoomba Community Gardens has been one of the richest experiences of any group I have been with. After years of nurturing the gardens have become a space that many families come to visit just for some time out, to wander through, to have a picnic, many families take their pre-school children there during school hours, kids go there after school. It is a community space for everyone not just the volunteers. It is free, you can take produce, meet people and become inspired. It has become a rich resource for the local schools, even when the schools have their own gardens, they have interacted with the Katoomba Garden and the volunteers to be led through many experiences and to learn from keen gardeners.The schools come down and plant several times a year and come back to harvest. The skills learnt by the children always fit in with their environment learning at school.The gardens have become a hub where many people meet and other projects and ideas are born. Several projects that outreach into the community have been launched from and because of having this space. Community Gardens attract skilled people who pass on their skills to the communtiy.As well as nurturing and caring for the land, it has nurtured and cared for people, of all kinds, children, and many different interest groups.lWhenever people are concerned because of rising prices in food, food security, and transport costs, the act of coming together to plant and share produce is an act of practicality and goodwill helping people in times of need.Community Gardens as well as giving people a chance to learn about growing food and to experience that also connect people of all ages to the whole of caring for the environment. These learning and skills are transferred to all areas, our own backyards, when we are walking in the bush, how we interact sustainably in our work and home, the eating habits health of ourselves, our kids, and kids at school. The cross learning that takes place for environmental issues is endless.
  • satanic almost 9 years ago
    Hi, for those that want a name it's Gordon Miller. Wether I agree or disagree with this topic has become of no matter to me since I have read thru all imputs on this matter to date. All I have read is people not respecting others points of view, people must be allowed to voice their opinion popular or not as Australia is still a free country. By the amount of siding up to each other and shouting going on I can see why BMCC has a forum it allows people to have a say who normally would not for fear of being BULLIED for having done so. Please look at the questions and give constuctive answers not attacking bullying responses.After reading thru forum I feel disapponinted & could only imaginge how a gardern may be run.
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    • whynot almost 9 years ago
      Straight from the draft policyRelevance to 25 Year City Vision and Map for ActionThe establishment of community gardens achieves the following key directions and outcomes of the Blue Mountains Community Endorsed City Vision - Towards a More Sustainable Blue Mountains, which states that:• Blue Mountains people live sustainably in harmony with the environment;• The health and well being of Blue Mountains people are improved;• A strong sense of local identity and place is created;• The liveability and vibrancy of our towns and villages are strengthened;• The ability of people to connect with each other and access services is improved;• A culture of life long learning is nurtured in the Blue Mountains.Yes how are we going to live in harmony with the environment which does includes each of us?The draft policy in general tries to address these matters with a plan, it would be up to us as the community to make it work
  • Jessikhar almost 9 years ago
    I have been involved in the Community Garden in North Katoomba since I was in Primary School and beyond where I have planted potatoes and been involved in Streamwatch. Since then I have been involved in school garden’s at Katoomba Public and Katoomba High School. I have been brought up to believe in food security that is not just to have carrots that come in pre-packaged packs. I was 11 years old when I studied Permaculture and received my PDC. It’s not just about food growing it’s about living in a way that makes the world better., but gardens are a way to survive floods cyclones and ‘food miles’ due to peak oil.Don’t diss stuff until you have actually have walked in the shoes of a community gardener cause you don’t know nothing!
  • p pete almost 9 years ago
    I agree with all the positive comments to date. Given the health benefits in consuming organic food, the exercise to build and maintain vege gardens, the social positives, the connectivity to our neighbours and beyond and the educational aspects, it is hard not to see the benefits outweighing the drawbacks.Sure there will be moments of frustration and disappointment along the way but that is life, is it not?Surely a positive "can do" attitude is better than the alternative.
  • erland almost 9 years ago
    I fully agree with providing access to public land in the Blue Mountains for community gardens. I would love to see more community gardens flourishing and as others have said, aim for the ideal of the majority of mountains residents able to walk or cycle to their nearest community garden to participate.I would also like to see the barriers to entry for starting a food garden lowered as much as possible. No one wants to see failed projects but with more support for starting up and maintaining community gardens from council staff and removing red tape from the process for applying and managing a community garden, we can encourage a better uptake.
  • LeanneS almost 9 years ago
    Yes, in fact essential. A well set up community garden can and should take in the considerations of the whole community, regardless of age, sex, race, ability etc. (the list is endless). How many other initiatives can lay claim to this? I cannot think of a more better way for using community land. A community garden I feel is not just about growing things, though of course this is very important but also important is the lessons learnt from community spirit, team work, planning, diversity and healthy eating. A community garden should provide a place for children to play, a place of relaxation, a place that stimulates all the senses. It can also be a place of learning through workshops or of creativity - many gardens have many beautiful artworks throughout. Most important it can give a sense of satisfaction and ownership for all the communiy members involved. A community garden has many 'gives' so I can only hope BMCC will proceed with their proposal to 'give' land to this valuable initiative. Blessings.