MEMBERSHIP BASED ORGANISATION
Fig Tree Community Garden is located on the grounds of the Wickham Croatian Sports Club. We are an incorporated association ( Not for Profit ) currently operating with an interim Committee.
We are always looking for new and enthusiastic members to be a part of the Garden community.
New Membership forms are currently being developed that meet the requirements of current legislation.
A SEED IS PLANTED
Fig Tree Community Garden was established in 2004. The project was born out of common goals shared by a small group of committed community members who wanted to growing things organically and sustainably, help grow and bond community relationships and improve the environment. Craig Manhood, one of the main instigators of the garden explains:
‘We advertised in the local Landcare newsletter, inviting interested people to a working bee at the Morrow Park Bowling Club, where the garden was initially established. Unfortunately we had to relocate the garden after the Bowling Club closed, but it offered us an opportunity to learn from the mistakes made in setting up the original garden. We conducted a workshop with about 25 of the regular volunteers from Morrow Park and identified our goals and set some priorities,’ Craig says.
A SAPLING GROWS
The garden was then relocated 500 metres away to its current site at the Croatian Wickham Sports Club in mid-2005. Unlike many other community Gardens, Fig Tree is a shared plot garden, meaning members are welcome to plant, maintain and harvest in communal gardens rather than allocated allotments.
Bill Robertson, who has also been an integral member of Fig Tree Community Garden, says that the garden offers people a way to connect with each other in a way that suits them.
‘People come in and help out the way they want to. They can garden, build – however they want to work, we’re not prescriptive,’ Bill says.
In 2006, Fig Tree Community Garden used grant funds and TAFE workshops to build a wood-fired pizza oven and stone barbecue and with the help of particiants in the Work for the Dole program, the awning off the storage containers, hothouse, giant worm farm, water tank installations, much of the giant chess board, sound garden, cubby house, kitchenette, wood storage area, paving and chook run were built.
A TREE BRANCHES OUT
Fig Tree Community Garden has a long history of providing a positive and supportive environment for volunteers, while also developing working relationships with a range of organisations such as JobQuest, Links to Learning, Toogoolawa School, Migrant Resource Centre, TAFE Outreach and Baptist Community Service and local pre-schools and playgroups.
The aim is to provide:
- organic food
- countless smiles
- shared garden knowledge
- skill development
- community networking
- cultural diversity
- sustainable development
- water wisdom
- waste reduction
- demonstrations of engaging community development
- hands-on work with a range of on-site gardening and construction projects
- social inclusion and therapeutic involvement
- stock of native and exotic food producing plants
- innovation and opportunity
Bill sums up the atmosphere of Fig Tree, '‘Fig Tree gives people a space in which to breath in a very supportive environment.’
Fig Tree Community Garden hosts a range of community events throughout the year and we’re always happy to hear about your suggestions for what you would like to see next. Let us know your ideas via our Contact Us page and if you'd like to get involved with the garden check out the Getting Involved page.
Listen to a great interview with Craig Manhood and Jo Plummer (former Garden Co-ordinator) via ABC1233 Newcastle from July 2009. It's all about starting your own community garden.