Click here to read an interview with Jess Ness.
Central Ringwood Community Centre, Bedford Park, Rosewarne Lane, Ringwood.
This project began as a dream of the manager at the Central Ringwood Community Centre when she spied an empty unused sunny patch of grass that begged to be filled with plants and people. This site used to be a skateboarding park that was filled in and left. A group of volunteers (led by brother-and-sister team Robin Hallett and Jess Ness) have been working to develop it into a community garden. They aim to develop and maintain the site as the primary sustainability centre in the Outer East of Melbourne.
There is an open public space with fruit trees, herbs and a bush tucker garden whose fruitful harvest is free for all to enjoy. The communal garden beds are keyhole shaped and of an ergonomic height designed for up to 10 people each. There are companion herbs beneath the fruit trees to serve as organic pesticides, soil remediators, and pollinator attractors. Everything will be labelled so that the public can learn from what is growing, and members of the garden can share their knowledge and passion for gardening, thereby building a sharing economy. Their plans also include: wicking beds; a seed library; a covered area for teaching, potting, cooking, events, etc; and a play area for the children.
They run many workshops and classes at the garden. See their Facebook page for details.
The garden’s partners include the local Rotary (TTM), Mullum Mullum Indigenous Gathering Place, Heathmont College, Ringwood Secondary College, The Box Hill Institute, and the social enterprise Elishacare. The inclusion of schools and community groups is helping to build a strong sense of community ownership.
A management committee has been established, in the form of a sub-committee of the Central Ringwood Community Centre’s Committee of Management.