Inner West Council supports community gardens in all types of spaces, but this is balanced with a need for community safety. All inner west gardeners should assume that the soil is contaminated. What is a park now may have been a petrol station, industrial site or a waste incinerator in the past.
Common contaminants in the inner west include heavy metals such as lead (usually from paints and leaded fuel use) and hydrocarbons (usually from petrols and imported soil that may contain burnt material – a very common practice in the past), among others.
As a precaution, assume all soil is contaminated before gardening and take appropriate measures to protect youself, your family and other community gardeners.
Council encourages citizens to establish their own community gardens.
Community gardens are places where people come together to grow food and connect with others. Local community gardens are located on many types of land, including schools, churches, community centres and parks. Two groups have been licensed to establish community gardens on council land, at Denison Road in Dulwich Hill and Francis Street in Enmore.
Permission is required from the land owner to establish a community garden. Council supports a "bottom-up" approach to community gardening. This is where community members form a group and approach council or other landholders for access to land and assistance. This is outlined in Council's Community Garden Policy Direction. The City of Sydney has produced a guide to Getting Started on Community Gardening, with a simple checklist to step you through what to consider when setting up a community garden. The guide includes valuable information on topics such as attracting membership, accessing funding, and designing the garden layout. Other useful resources can be found at the Australian Community Gardens and City Farms website.
If your groups wants to establish a community garden on council land or you'd like to join the local community garden network, contact the Community Sustainability Coordinator, phone 9335 2147 or at email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Council supports verge gardening through the Sustainable Streets program.
The following community gardens have been established in the Marrickville Council area:
Marrickville West Community Garden is a mixture of communal rotating beds, personal plots, a citrus orchard, an Australian native garden and a lawn surrounded by flower and fragrance gardens that encourage bees and butterflies to visit the garden. There’s also a wild corner where you can lie on the grass under the shade of a giant Port Jackson Fig and Camphor Laurel tree. There are worm farms, a native bee hive, compost bays, and a tool shed. There’s an information board on site and a Yahoo group to keep you posted on the garden’s happenings.
There’s a waiting list for the personal plots, but everyone is welcome to join as part of the garden group where you can learn about gardening and sustainable practices while waiting for a personal plot, if you would like one.
The Addison Road Community Garden is an unfenced, organic garden. As well as all the vegetables growing in the garden, there are also exotic fruit trees and native frog ponds with edible water plants. There is a pergola where the gardeners gather. The garden will soon be watered using a rain-fed irrigation system funded through Marrickville Council’s sustainability small grants program. The garden is a fine example of cooperative urban food growing incorporating community inclusion, education, waste management, biodiversity and permaculture. The garden has individual plots, community team shared plots, and community plots. The garden currently has individual plots available.
Wilkins Green was established to protect and develop the existing green space and habitat located on the western boundary of Wilkins Public School grounds.
Wilkins Green has become an important sustainable learning site featuring a school community food garden, chicken run, bush regeneration ridge and Aboriginal planting track. Many local schools and educational groups use the site. New members are welcome to participate in Open Gardens Days with access to communal garden beds.
Cottage in the Graveyard Community Garden is a joint project between Newtown local residents and St Stephens Anglican Church. The community garden aims to provide a welcoming space where residents of all ages and backgrounds can meet their neighbours, form friendships, grow vegetables, fruit and flowers, care for chooks and bees and harvest local honey. There is the opportunity over a cup of tea to learn and share knowledge of organic gardening and sustainable garden practices. All plots are communal and produce is equitably distributed. New members and visitors are very welcome so please drop in if you are interested.
Pete’s Patch is a space for all and was established to help the community meet, and friendships develop while helping tend the small, but thriving, garden. At the weekly lunch and working bees, community members can learn about sustainable veggie growing, composting, worm farming and healthy eating. All the plots are communal, shared plots.
Turtle Lane has around 25 flourishing plots, and a positive and collaborative atmosphere among its gardeners. Gardening is undertaken using organic principles. There is an annual schedule of working bees and monthly meetings, culminating in an end of year Christmas party. The gardeners determine the ongoing and future projects to discuss developments and issues relating to the garden at the monthly meetings.
The garden promotes a sense of community where trust, effort, knowledge, skills and responsibility are shared and where creativity, quality and the environment are nurtured.
Produce and expertise is actively shared amongst the gardeners. There is currently a waiting list for plots. Please contact us to get involved.
The Camdenville Paddock Community Garden occupies a generous, almost half-acre parcel of north-facing land surrounded by beautiful trees. The site is part of Camdenville Public School and through a land-use agreement, local residents and the school community manage the site.
Producing fresh, locally grown food, The Camdenville Paddock creates healthy recreational opportunities for residents of all ages to meet and work, to till the soil together and enjoy the harvest, to share information and experiences, and to build strong community relationships.
We are an allotment style garden with approximately 35 plots, a chicken coop, composting facilities, rainwater harvesting tanks and an outdoor learning area. There is currently a waiting list for plots, but we have communal areas open to all members. The garden is looking for new members so please contact them to get involved.
The Francis Street Community Garden is a pocket park conversion, taking up the back half of the park. The garden is unfenced and organic. The garden features shared common plots, a water tank, Gaudi-esque mosaic pathway, exotic fruit trees, olive trees, an abundance of herbs and a birdbath for the local Blue Wrens. The garden features artwork painted by the local children and a grassy knoll.
An oasis close to the busy intersection of Enmore and Edgeware Roads, this garden is a living example of community concern for engagement, the environment and urban food growing.
The Denison Road Community Garden in Dulwich Hill is Marrickville’s newest Community Garden, officially opening in August 2013. Council worked closely with the local community to develop a design and management plan for the garden. The community garden members were successful applicants for a Sustainability Small grant in 2013 which helped pay for material to build the garden beds.
The garden has built a strong membership and is establishing a thriving garden along with healthy compost systems, with the help of coffee husks sourced from a local coffee roaster. There are public foraging beds with vegetables, herbs and fruit trees at the front of the garden – which was paved using bricks salvaged from the Annette Kellerman Aquatic Centre refurbishment – and there are 12 communal garden beds for members. The garden is looking for new members so please contact them to get involved.
A new Plan of Management for Sydenham Green was adopted by Council in late 2013. Through the community engagement process for this plan it became clear that there was a strong community desire for a community garden to be included in the Green. Council is currently working with a core group of residents on designing and establishing the next community garden for the Marrickville Local Government Area.
If you would like to know more about the Sydenham Green Community Garden, please contact Stephen Roe at email@example.com.