Change your region Benalla

  • Here we grow!

    A couple of weeks ago, I attended a really inspiring meeting of residents interested in setting up a Community Gardens Network in the Moreton Bay region. There was a great turnout from people with an amazing range of skills to offer. I have to admit, I was there for selfish reasons. One of my lifelong ambitions is to be a really good gardener, more specifically, a veggie gardener. I want to grow stuff and then cook it. I want to have such an abundance that I can leave free seedlings out the front for passers-by and share tomatoes and cucumbers over the fence with my neighbours… You get the idea. So far my attempts have been, well, meagre. I have harvested a bowl-full of broadbeans, a handful of spindly carrots and some pretty impressive Asian greens, but we’re not exactly self-sufficient. It’s quite clear that I need some guidance – and what better way to get access to experienced gardeners than a community garden? At the meeting, I was surprised to learn that “food insecurity” is an issue in our region. Food insecurity is “irregular access to safe, nutritionally adequate, culturally acceptable food” (source: The problem is exacerbated by having healthy-food retailers few and far between, easy access to fast food and inadequate public transport. I suppose I didn’t realise this was such an issue for people in my community because I am fortunate enough to be both healthy and mobile. Every Sunday, I visit both the Lions Club Market at the showgrounds and the Redcliffe Jetty markets to stock up on fresh fruit and veg for the week. But if I happen to miss the markets, I know how hard it is to find cheap, good quality produce around here. If you dig around (sorry, bad joke) you’ll discover there’s quite a lot of community gardening going on in Rddcliffe. There’s heaps of information on the Moreton Bay Regional Community Gardens Network website, and if you click on the link below you can find out where these groups of green thumbed individuals meet.  I also know of another group at the Redcliffe Botanical Gardens, email for information. Community gardens in Redcliffe The most inspiring speaker at the meeting was Bruce Molloy, founder of Veggie Village ( a massive community garden at Peregian on the Sunshine Coast, and also Edible Landscapes ( His story is fantastic – a graphic designer turned veggie guru with a passion for helping people grow their own at home. Bruce outlined the procedure involved in setting up a new community garden, and – to be honest – it’s a pretty daunting prospect. But he also pointed out that community gardening comes in many forms. Starting with your neighbours – share produce over the fence and grow different things so you have something to swap. I’m so lucky to live next door to an ex-farmer who is constantly offering me lettuce, carrots, beetroot, bananas and more. I think she’s taken pity on me and my limp tomato plants. Another form of community gardening is what’s known as “community shared agriculture”, where seasonal produce is delivered to your door. Food Connect is a fantastic service that delivers farmer-fresh produce into Redcliffe on a Thursday, find out more on Then there’s a movement called Permablitz, where a group of friends or like-minded people get together and spend a weekend transforming someone’s garden into a vegetable growing haven. Get inspired here: But of course all the best intentions begin at home, so I’ll carry on with my little veggie patch and get involved in some of these wonderful community groups. And hopefully I’ll grow some knowledge along the way.

    Published: Nov 15, 2010 4:01pm by johegerty

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