There's plans to expand the reach of the Goulburn Valley Community Gardens - starting with the development of one in north SheppartonBy Riahn Smith
Expansion plans are on the horizon for a community garden project and co-ordinator Susan Hose
She’s involved with Goulburn Valley Community Gardens
Already there are four potential sites lined up.
Ms Hose is excited about the prospect of reaching more people in the Goulburn Valley area.
‘‘We want to network with the ones that are already in place and we want to build further beds around Shepparton,’’ she said.
‘‘We have so many places that are just ugly, blank pieces of dirt that could be used for something beneficial (but) there’s so much to do just to get set up — public liability insurance, all the grants, the equipment.
‘‘If we can say we’ve already got this in place
Community gardens provide locals groups and individuals with the chance to grow their own food while being supported by other, like-minded people.
The North Shepparton site hosts a mix of private garden beds and those open to everyone, as well as everything you need to nourish an organic fruit or vegetable crop.
Ms Hose said the project could offer valuable lessons and skills in self-sufficiency.
‘‘With all the talk about climate change, whether you believe it or not, the gardens are actually essential for keeping environments safe as well as keeping people healthy,’’ Ms Hose said.
‘‘If we have problems with food scarcity, if we’re building our own gardens
But it’s not only the environmental or health outcomes the organisation is looking for — for Ms Hose, many of the benefits are found in personal growth and the development of community connections.
She recalled a recent incident where a group of kids at the North Shepparton Community Hub united over their devastation when their strawberry plants were vandalised.
‘‘They’re really tough kids, the ones that have fallen through the cracks, that have had a tough life and don’t care about anything (and) they got really upset because somebody had been ripping up the strawberries and dumping them on the ground,’’ Ms Hose said.
‘‘They were picking the plants up and putting them in water and trying to look after them.
‘‘To me, that is such an amazing thing. I get tingling just thinking about that because they’re taking ownership.’’
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