A DEDICATED group of volunteer gardeners has made great progress on the construction of the Eastern Park Community Garden.
Above: Volunteers at the Eastern Park community garden last weekend. Photos by article author.
This article was first published in the 11 July 2014 edition of the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen.
Over 25 people braved cold, wet conditions last weekend [note: this article was first published on 11 July] to attend the fourth monthly working bee on the site just behind the Warragul Community House.
Group leader Donna Hallam told the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen that number was average for a working bee and the group’s dedication to finishing construction of the garden was strong.
“That’s how many people usually come. Last month on a pouring, cold, rainy day we actually had 30 people turn up and work hard that whole time,” Ms Hallam said.
“We had (garden) beds we rented on George Street from the Mawarra Community Gardens, and by running working bee and workshop days there we’ve built a membership of 200 people.”
The community is continuing to grow, pulling volunteers and respect from those living near the park.
“People have helped just because they’ve walked past, seen that there are a lot of people here building the garden and end up coming to the next working bee,” Ms Hallam said.
“We’ve had locals bake us cakes and walk past and ask ‘what do you need?’
“We’ve said ‘yes, paint would be great’ and so we’ve been donated paint.
“We’ve been donated lots of things from people who are just living around the Eastern Park area.”
Volunteers are learning valuable construction and gardening skills while helping out.
“We’ve worked on building this garden with community help and volunteer time just so the community feels they are a part of owning the garden,” Ms Hallam said.
“They can come through in the years to come and say ‘hey, I built that bed, I built that stone wall.'”
“We’ve run a few workshops, like… we had stone wall craftsman John Champion come down and show people how to build a stone wall, so all the stone walls you see were built by volunteers.”
The garden is overseen by Growing Together Baw Baw, which was granted $118,000 by the state government and $39,400 by the Baw Baw Shire to build the site.
The funding means there is a concrete completion date for the gardens.
“We’ve got to have this finished by the end of October because our grant funding means we have an end date. We have to have things done by then,” Ms Hallam said.
“We’re having a grand opening on Sunday 26 October as part of Gardivalia, and we’re hoping everything can be done by then so we can really showcase the garden.”
The designs of the garden have been updated during the build process to improve access to the garden with input from disability support services Scope and Vision Australia. Changes include the installation of a tactile map and wayfinders around the garden.
The introduction of aquaponics to the garden was another change – fish will be kept to help add nutrients to the garden.
Ms Hallam called out for anyone able to help with construction to come along to a working bee.
“We need people with hands and time to spare who can come down, even if it’s just for an hour or half a day to help build the garden,” Ms Hallam said.
“It’s all very well we’ve got these working bees to help building the garden, once the garden’s finished then the fun really begins because then we start running gardening workshops.”
Anyone interested in volunteering can visit the group’s website, growingtogetherbawbaw.org.au.
The group can also be found on Facebook.
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