The Balam-Balam community garden comprises a number of communal plots, a market garden, herbaceous border, hot house and indigenous bushfood garden. The garden supplies produce to the local Community Grocer market held weekly at the Carlton public housing estate and to migrant and refugee students at Carlton Neighbourhood Learning Centre studying English.
On the fourth Saturday of each month at 11am, they have a working bee. They also welcome people during the week to help out. If you’re interested in getting involved, contact them.
The garden includes a community compost hub where you can contribute your food scraps to be recycled into nutrient-rich compost for the garden. Ask them for a food scrap container if needed. During business hours, enter via the back gate and deposit your scraps directly in to the compost hub. Outside business hours, place contents in the green bin (you will need to contact them to get the code to the lock).
Enquire about buying a bag of compost for $5 and seedlings for your garden grown in the Balam-Balam community garden when available.
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.
The garden was incorporated in November 2014, and is entirely run by volunteers. The three main aims are:
1. To develop an open space community fruit and vegetable garden for individual community members and community groups who want to engage in, and learn about, sustainable gardening practices.
2. To provide a meeting place for individual community members and groups to develop a community gardening identity.
3. To promote the Bellfield Community Garden within the Bellfield neighbourhood, and across the Banyule council area and neighbouring council areas, and to form strong community partnerships to enhance and influence the success of the garden.