New Gisborne Community Garden was established in 2014, on land owned by the Gisborne Church of Christ, by an enthusiastic team of like-minded people. The team had two major aims in mind for the garden, both centred around the ideal of "community":
- The garden was to be a place where local people could come together to grow fresh fruit and vegetables, learn about gardening, meet, chat and share some food and a cuppa or two.
- The garden was to be productive; to make available an over-abundance of food, which could be shared with people and families in the local community in need of support or encouragement.
Today, the team, the garden and the dream continue to grow.
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The journey so far...
Work on the garden commenced in 2014, following redevelopment of the church building. Fences and raised beds were built, using salvaged timber from the old car park and church extension works. Soil was barrowed into the beds and mixed with composted horse manure and chicken litter, donated from friends. While much of this work was carried out by people from the church, we were grateful to be assisted also, by people on community correction orders, who really caught the vision and laboured willingly alongside us.
Our first major harvest, in autumn of 2015, saw a bumper crop of tomatoes, silver beet, spinach, eggplants, zucchinis, beetroot and more.
Development of the garden continues, with new beds being constructed in the area behind the fenced development, and extensions to the watering system. We’ve learned some important lessons along the way and improved crops are the result. We’re also experimenting and learning together about new and sustainable gardening techniques, such as wicking beds.
A 22,000 litre water tank provides ample water for the garden in the drier months. A wood-fired oven was also built so that on celebration days, the food from the garden can be cooked and shared.
Produce from the garden has been distributed to help meet needs in our community, through groups such as PS My Family Matters and CareWorks SunRanges, or directly to families and individuals known to us through our own contacts.
Our aim continues to be the use of our surplus land to encourage community around the growing, harvesting and sharing of produce. The garden provides community, healthy exercise and enjoyment for the participants and supplies of healthy vegetables to help meet needs in our local community.
Above all, the garden is intended as a resource for the community, so we encourage wide participation from anyone interested. Additional land can be made available for the garden, depending on the level of interest.
Some of our surplus produce has been cooked into family-sized meals for families under short-term stress (for example, due to illness) and there are opportunities for interested people to become involved in this too (our "cook-ups" are great fun).
One concept that has not been explored yet is to rent out beds for people without space on their own properties. If anyone is interested in this, we’d be pleased hear from you.
Bush Tucker Garden
We often talk about our indigenous plants, what they are, will they grow, what are their uses and how to prepare them. In the autumn of 2015, we planted a “bush tucker” garden, under the guidance of indigenous elder Joanne Russell. The aim of the garden is educational.
The plants have not been tended, but left to fend for themselves as they would in the bush and it’s been interesting to watch their progress. We’ve had a few losses, while some have grown vigorously, considering the soil conditions and lack of water during the summer. Some will need to be replanted. The Bush Tucker Garden continues to be a source of interest and learning for our team.
Why get involved?
Becoming involved in community gardening has many benefits. It’s a great way to connect with your community and form new friendships. You can learn about growing fresh produce, decrease your food costs and be inspired to live on a more healthy diet. Gardening is also a great way to exercise, enjoy the outdoors and alleviate stress. There are opportunities to develop new skills, and participate in community celebrations.
How to get involved
Give us a call, send us an email, or just drop in. Over the past year we’ve been meeting on Wednesday mornings at 9.30am and finishing with morning tea at about 11.00am.
There is no formal structure—whoever turns up has the choice of several jobs and how much energy you put in is pretty much up to the individual. It’s noticeable that there is a happy, positive attitude which rubs off as people work together and it’s been great to welcome parents and their young children to the team recently. It may also be a quiet time to chat about life issues with another gardener. Morning tea is normally a time of lively debate.
Volunteers can come and go as they wish. There is no cost involved.
How to find us
New Gisborne Community Garden is located at 31 Saunders Road, New Gisborne, next door to the Church of Christ.
The team can normally be found pottering around the garden from 9.30am on Wednesday mornings, but you can often bump into a member in the garden on other days.
John Randles 0417 546 462 or
Gisborne Church of Christ: 5428 4213
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