Page 639 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 9 March 2011

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developments and identifying appropriate sites to develop community gardens in established suburbs;

(b) by developing a standard licence arrangement for the Department of Territory and Municipal Services or private land owners to enter into with the operators of community gardens;

(c) by facilitating group insurance provisions for operators of community gardens;

(d) by providing funding for:

(i) a support person to help coordinate the expansion of community gardens in the ACT;

(ii) a grants program to help meet the costs of new community gardens; and

(iii) gardening/food growing training, open to all members of the community;

(e) by assisting public and community housing tenants to be involved in community garden projects;

Community gardens are basically a wonderful thing, which is why I have moved this motion today. As the first part of the motion says, community and household gardens make positive contributions towards food provision, social inclusion and environmental sustainability in the ACT.

One of the things about community gardens is that they grow two things: they grow people and they grow plants. I am particularly clear about that, having gone to the community garden conference at the uni of Canberra last year. One of the interesting things I discovered from that was that the main aim in life of most of the people with community gardens who were represented at that conference was growing the people there. There were community gardens for refugees, particularly for refugees who had been previously rural based, for people who had acquired brain injuries and for people who had had a stroke—all sorts of things. Growing food was important, but making a community and a community that worked together and ate together was the primary part of what they were doing.

In Canberra we have quite a few community gardens but, as I will be arguing, not enough. DHCS in fact have a couple of community gardens in their housing, quite a few of our schools have kitchen gardens, and then of course there is COGS, the Canberra Organic Growers Society, which has 11 very popular community gardens throughout Canberra. These gardens do a lot of things. They teach people how to garden. This is one of the arts which probably people my age grew up with. When I grew up in Canberra, everybody gardened. Vegetables only came from Sydney once a week. If you did not garden you did not have fresh vegetables—it was as simple as that—and the trucks that came in of course were not refrigerated or anything like that and it took them all day to get from Sydney. It was pretty hopeless.

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