Gardening for Community Spaces, Shop Fronts and Nature Strips
Gardening in the public realm occurs in range of ways. This page describes where and how Council supports:
- Community Gardening
- Nature Strip Gardening
- Main Street and Shop Front Gardening
Community gardens provide a great way for local people to connect with each other whilst providing people with a source of nutritional food. Council supports community gardens as venues that promote active and engaged communities, encourage sustainable living, and build community capacity and resilience. There are a number of established community gardens in Yarra Ranges. These include:
- Healesville Community Garden
- Morrisons Community Garden
- ECOSS Community Garden
- Chirnside Park Community Kitchen Garden
- Upwey LInk Community Kitchen Garden
- The Bridge Community Garden Centre
- Birdsland Community Garden
- Tecoma Community Garden
- Warburton Community Garden
For information and contact details on the planned and established community gardens in Yarra Ranges, click here. Community garden resources are available further down this page.
Nature Strip Gardening
Council is developing Urban Nature Strip Planting Guidelines, which will provide planting specifications that take into account access, sightlines and maintenance issues. Once these guidelines are endorsed by Council they will be made available from this web page. In the mean time see the link on the right hand side of this page Guide to Nature Strip Planting.
Main Street and Shop Front Gardening
Council garden beds in township main streets are planted and maintained by Council. Shop front planting needs to be in movable planter boxes that are treated in a similar manner to kerbside furniture and moved indoors at closing. For more information see page 15 in the Streets and Roadside Trading policy, there is a link on the right hand side of this page.
Community Garden Resources
The Australian Community Gardens Network is an informal, community-based organisation. Their website has a great range of resources for setting up a community garden and can help new groups think through issues such as water and power supply, shed / storage, security and fencing, establishing rules for users and setting criteria about who can use the garden.
Sustainable Gardening Australia is a not-for-profit, non-government organisation dedicated to changing the way Australians garden. On their website you can find a range of gardening fact sheets for the home gardener.
Permaculture Melbourne is a member based non-profit association, that promotes the sustainable development of Melbourne and supports a range of local and special interest groups across Victoria.
Landshare Australia brings together people who have a passion for home-grown food, connecting those who have land to share with those who need land for cultivating food.
Grow it Local is a celebration of backyard, balcony, community and window-sill farmers. The site allows people to share their growing and gardening tips and also opportunities for sharing your produce with others.
Starting a Community Garden
When starting up a community garden you will need to consider a number of factors including:
- Establishing and setting up a group, types of organisational structures and whether incorporation is appropriate. You can speak with the Community Development Unit: Jessica Adams, Yarra Valley on 9294 6866; Chris Risely, Central &Upper Yarra Townships on 9294 6123; Simon Williams, Urban & Mt Evelyn, Montrose, Coldstream on 9294 6835; or Amanda May, Hills Townships on 9294 6741.
- Demonstrating community need and support for your community garden. You should consider who you would like to join your group, who lives in the area and who potential members might be. You could even consider getting a petition together of people who are interested or talk to local groups and schools about how they could be involved. You can speak with the Community Development Unit, see contacts above.
- Speaking to and learning from other community garden groups. Anouk Hengeveld, Community Climate Change Officer on 9294 6184 can put you in touch with similar groups.
- Determining what your selection criteria is, for the land you would like to use. For example do you want your garden to be centrally located or near public transport?
- Looking for potential sites and consider them against your selection criteria.
- Finding potential land and identifying the landowner. Council’s online map system can help you identify if the land is public or privately owned.
- Talking to the landholder about permission to use the land. Council may be able to help you contact the landowner, you can speak with the Community Development Unit. If the land is Council owned, then Council will have a preference to work with incorporated associations, who are able to get appropriate incurances and are able to ente rinto a (low fee/ no fee) lease agreement. Planting in the public realm without permission can result in plantings being removed. You can discuss Council land options with Recreation Services Executive Officer Ben Bainbridge on 9294 6758.
- Finding public liability insurance. You can speak with Council’s Environment Volunteer Support Officer, Sarah Fowler on 9694 6287 for information about what type of insurance support Council can provide.
- Managing the site. You can speak with Council’s Parks and Facilities team on 9294 6280.
- Accessing training for your community garden members. Community organisation training is available through Council’s Community Training Calender. For more information you can contact Lou Sbalchiero on 9294 6335 and the Environment Volunteer Support Officer, Sarah Fowler on 9694 6287
- Raising initial and ongoing funds. You can speak to Council’s Community Grants and Projects Officer Jackie Elward on 9294 6386