Today, a couple of my children and I spent a very pleasant 3 hours in their school garden with two other families and their children. The kids gathered caterpillars and seeds and ate tomatoes before moving on to running through sprinklers and climbing trees. The adults dug and picked, sorted and trellised and everyone had a lovely time.
2014, for me, is the year of building community. When Thea and I started grow.eat.enjoy. we wanted to put edible gardens into homes (we still do). But as the years go on we move more and more into education and community gardening and I’m finding this a good place to be. When I’m at Razor&JOY, tending to their office garden, and staff come to sit amongst the plants while they eat their lunch; when I put a call out to the OzHarvest volunteers and people come from all walks of life to work in the garden with me; and when I make a connection with a parent from a non English speaking background who in turn brings others to our school garden and everyone feels happy and connected, I know, like Thea and I always thought, that gardening brings so much more than just good food.
So here’s to 2014, my year of growing good food and building community. If you’re in Sydney and need a little help doing either, let me know.
So when Louise Tran from Oz Harvest rang me and asked for a pop up garden to go along with their Feeding the 5000 event it seemed only right that the garden should be built from what would otherwise have been thrown away just as the lunch is.
We decided on milk crates which are not exactly throw away items (though they do seem to be thrown onto a lot of street corners) but they are easy to transport and will return to their intended use once we’ve finished with them. I then contacted a number of seed companies to see if they had any seed that was no longer saleable. Yates and Green Patch came through with a lot of seeds, still viable but not saleable.
The kids at Randwick Public and Stanmore Public spent a lot of time sifting compost and planting seeds that were placed into their green houses and watered with harvested rainwater. Once the seedlings were of a reasonable size they were transferred to larger containers and then to their current home in the milk crates. The milk crates are lined with newspaper and old green bags and filled with compost from Randwick Public School who have a fantastic compost system mainly to compost the huge amount of leaves they sweep up daily from the playground.
If you’re in Martin Place on Monday come along and have a look at the garden. What you’ll see is a garden grown from harvested plants, scraps and sourced seeds. This garden’s life is short lived in Martin Place but will continue after the event. The crates will return to be cared for in the two public schools and will hopefully find a permanent home in an Oz Harvest garden some time soon.