For many years, I have been interested in urban farming and its intersection with architecture and urban planning. The future of cities depends on food and water security, as well as social sustainability. A year-and-half ago, I was invited to join a group of Taringa neighbours and form a community garden. To me, this presented the perfect opportunity to try a practical application of my ideas and interests.
We formed a committee with the mission to create a space for the community to gather, cultivate food locally and educate the community to adopt sustainable practices.
There are no guidelines about how to start a community garden on Council land. Our process of community consultation started through surveys where local people expressed what they would like to see in the community garden.
At the same time, our community development officer helped us to develop a mission and vision for the garden. We have learned a lot about community engagement and stakeholder management this last year, from maintaining community engagement through events like Clean up Australia to approaching local community groups to develop partnerships.
With the help of our local MP, Councillor and other local community groups, like Vera Street Community Garden and the Cubberla Witton Catchment Network, we secured land in Perrin Park to develop the Community Garden and a composting hub.
The site comes with a lot of challenges from flooding, soil contamination and a nearby bat colony, but we are happy to be able to apply sustainable practices in our community. Some of these challenges have been addressed through council-proposed garden bed selection and design. These designs will be available through the Council website for future community gardens.
Our composting hub is currently operational and the garden bed prototypes are established. We are in the process of funding grant applications to build more garden beds and start the garden. Our collaboration with Council continues to create a community garden model that can be replicated to other sites across Brisbane. We hope that with the lessons we learned during our process we can inspire and help other community groups.