Holistic local sustainability; food, water, energy, money, people

It all seemed so nice…

The community garden was established by Cornerstone Living with the help of local historian and bush carer Beryl Roberts. It officially opened in July, 2016 and OCCA (Oxley Creek Catchment Association) officer Lyn Whitfield arranged public liability insurance for a small fee per plot. Here’s a quote from the developer’s webpage (link above) from back in September, 2016:

“This community garden is a great way for neighbours to meet each other and foster a sense of community pride, while also giving people the chance to grow their own produce,” Peter Russo, MP State Member for Sunnybank, said. “I hope there are plenty of green thumbs within the group and look forward to see the garden grow.”

Since the opening, residents have been getting out in to the garden and meeting one another, creating friendships and a blossoming sense of community.

The benefits of gardening
As well as giving you an opportunity to grow your own organic fruit and vegetables, gardening is also good for your wellbeing. It gives you a chance to exercise among nature and has also been linked with improved mental wellbeing.

In a time when we are constantly engaged by technology, gardening is a beneficial outlet for your mind.

One recent study from the University of Michigan found that after an hour in the garden or interacting with nature, the memory performance and attention span of participants increased by 20 percent.

If you have kids, gardening teaches them about nature and where their food comes from. Growing food can be a good boost for a child’s sense of self-confidence and is a great way to get them to spend more time outside.

Joining the Cornerstone Community Garden

The community garden consists of 45 plots that are available for yearly rental. There are still some spaces available for rent and you can reserve yours by calling Janet at the Sales and Community Centre on (07) 3345 7127.

Have you been getting out and about in the garden? We’d love to see your photos – simply share them on Facebook or Instagram and be sure to tag us.

Happy Gardening!

How true! However, within a year the garden had fallen into disuse.

I was there when the “community garden” was installed and was one of the first to get a plot in exchange for a $10 membership. There were 15 others who also each had a plot. I was very keen to get this going, organising working bees and free mulch drop offs etc. Except the developer had no intention to really get this to work. They were just using it as a marketing tool. As I was too engaged with the garden, they asked me to stop coming and sent me back the initial $10 in the mail. I was absolutely dumbfounded at the time. Never ever have I seen an organisation put a stop to progressing a project like this. After I was told to leave, others lost interest as well.

Gabriele Duffy
Gabriele Duffy

The developer and its body corporate property manager did nothing to inform residents of the garden’s existence or in any way facilitate it. Then, in 2019, we stepped in. We discovered the property managers weren’t even aware it was their responsibility and thought the garden was on Council land.

We have worked for years, making people welcome, cultivating the garden together and sharing the harvest with us. Nurses and horticultural therapists have referred their clients to us. A local Probus gardening group has taken an interest. We only ask that when taking produce from the garden, keep others in mind. Do some weeding while gathering cherry tomatoes for your salad! We forego the administration of plot allocations and fees in favour of the simplicity of sharing in the work and the harvest. We grow food that is easy and popular; herbs such as sweet mint, sage and rosemary, fruit such as strawberries, papaya and dragonfruit, vegetables such as sweet potato and lots of greens. We meet every Sunday in the afternoon (4pm in summer, 3pm in winter). You’re welcome to potter around any time, any day. There are tools in the shed for all to use, including pots, fertilizer, stakes, wire mesh, rakes, spade, shovels, a hoe, a lawn mower and other gardening implements. There’s also a BBQ! There’s a big compost bay for organic kitchen waste. We welcome your scraps.

Hard at work eating

Hard at work chatting

Hard at work posing

SIGN THE PETITION to save the community garden

From the beginning, the Cornerstone Living Body Corporate Property Manager had no instructions to oversee the community garden, not even grounds-keeping, let alone including it in any resident-wide communications. As local Councillor Steve Griffiths stated at a community BBQ meeting at the garden in February, 2020, “Council’s experience is that community facilities like these need the oversight of an organization for them to work.” True, depending on the suburb. In some suburbs community gardens can spring up without commercial or official input. They are places where a sense of community is strong and climate change registers as a personal responsibility. There, food security and local resilience matter. Laudable as it may seem for a developer to install a garden, if it isn’t a response to residents’ requests and isn’t publicized or facilitated, what other than a marketing ploy can it be? Not a well-researched ploy, it would seem, given the target has largely been the Sunnybank sub-culture, many of whom feel linguistically and culturally distant to the mainstream. Our friendly garden crew make it easy for them to overcome their reticence to engage in public, IF they walk through the area and show an interest, but more facilitation is needed. Permaculture is not a thing in China – business and building is, as is to be expected of a recently industrialized nation.

Claire Garton, local Greens candidate

“It’s no secret I’m a fan of gardening, permaculture, and urban food production 🌿🌶🍉
I stopped by the Cornerstone Community Gardens and Dutch House Coopers Plains Brisbane Qld today at their BBQ lunch and working bee 🐝
The site is unfortunately under a constant threat from a property developer, but that’s not stopping this passionate group of urban gardeners. If you live in the area why not get involved and join the energy and rewards of this great little community project”

BACK TO THE Dutch House Community Gardens page.

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