Mandurah Community Gardens

  • Mandurah Community Gardens
    Mandurah Community Gardens
  • Mandurah Community Gardens
    Mandurah Community Gardens
  • Mandurah Community Gardens
    Mandurah Community Gardens
  • Mandurah Community Gardens
    Mandurah Community Gardens
  • Mandurah Community Gardens
    Mandurah Community Gardens
Introduction

Mandurah Community Gardens (“the Gardens”) is a place where people come together to grow and share produce, seeds, gardening knowledge and experience. This public open space offers the Mandurah community an opportunity to socially connect with people from a range of backgrounds, ages and cultures, and share a common bond centred around gardening. The Gardens aims to improve physical and nutritional health, mental health and wellbeing; and contribute to environmental sustainability, food security, social inclusion, education and training, economic development, cultural vitality and community resilience. In 2009, the City of Mandurah responded to interest and inquiry from community by supporting the development of a community garden. The project did take over two years to set up with finding a suitable location with sufficient space and accessibility, as well as developing a committee with committed volunteers. The garden is now established, a process which took took five years to come to fruition. Currently, the Gardens grows herbs, flowers, fruits and vegetables. Organic principles apply to the Gardens which prevents the use of chemical pesticides and herbicides from the plants. The Gardens also showcases composting and worm farming systems.

Description of project

The Gardens is located east of Mandurah in the south west of Western Australia in a suburb called Coodanup. The Gardens was developed by a small but committed community group, supported by the City of Mandurah.  Funding was also provided by Royalties for Regions through Peel Development Commission that allowed the development of key infrastructure including a shed. The City of Mandurah allocated a significant amount of time and resources to the development of the project, including project coordination by a Community Development Officer. In 2013 the City handed the project over to the newly incorporated Mandurah Community Gardens Inc.

Once the need for community gardens was identified and funding was allocated by the City of Mandurah, it took several years to gain traction, as challenges emerged including availability of suitable land on which the gardens would be located. The City of Mandurah had a number of potential sites however came to an agreement and memorandum of understanding with Coodanup College (Department of Education) as the site of the Gardens.

In 2012 the Gardens became incorporated and thereby autonomous from the local government and establishing a self-directed committee under the Association Act 2015 (WA). Transition to an incorporated body was essential in order to seek and secure further grant funding. Since the Gardens became incorporated, it has received a number of funding grants. These include:

  • LotteryWest funding $15,000 – toilet and plumbing costs.
  • Department of Local Governments and Communities of $9,900 for guest speakers, events and workshops.
  • City of Mandurah Partnership funding for three years and $12,000 for workshops, signage, equipment and events.

More recently, the Gardens has received additional funding to purchase equipment, limestone pathway upgrade, shelter and seating and educational workshops and events.

The Gardens encourages everyone to work together for the purpose of maintaining a functional and cooperative space. The Gardens can only survive and thrive through participation and involvement from members and the community. All members and plot holders pay annual fees that cover consumable costs of the garden. The Gardens works on an annual membership fee and plot allotment scheme. Paying members enjoy the benefits and responsibilities of membership. All members will have access to the Constitution that governs the Association. Members have the opportunity to assist with the community plots and attend working bees. Members receive free produce or seedlings, garden emails/newsletters and attendance at educational workshops, social events, networking and gardening skill sharing.

Plot holders have exclusive access to allocated garden beds within the Gardens. Plot holders have the opportunity to:

  • Plant, enjoy the produce of, and care for, their allocated plots.
  • Assist with the community plots and attend working bees.
  • Receive produce or seedlings if available, garden emails/newsletters.
  • Attend educational workshops, social events, networking and gardening skill sharing.
Project team
  • Committee members
  • City of Mandurah
  • Department of Local Governments and Communities
  • LotteryWest
  • Department of Education
  • Volunteer members with a broad range of social and gardening skills, experience and knowledge
Project cost

The initial costing for development of the Gardens was in excess of $50,000 covering installation and resources. Since the opening of the gardens a universally accessible toilet and ramp was installed on site costing more than $25,000.

Health value

The Gardens provide recreational opportunities that facilitate physical activity and nutritional health, as well as psychosocial benefits via interactions with the outdoors, growing plants and links with community kitchens.

Mandurah Community Gardens has extended the health value it provides to the community by offering a number of educational and health workshops these include:

  • Foodbank WA’s Garden to Plate Program – funded by the City of Mandurah and hosted by the gardens this program costs around $3,000 a year to deliver with facilitator fees, light catering and workshop materials.  The workshops can be less expensive with donated materials and free facilitation.
  • Calendar of events – monthly activities that involve physical activity and learning about gardening (composting, worm farming) and/or cooking demonstrations. The Gardens also opens every Friday and Saturday for visitors to come and explore and seek further information. 
Economic value

The Gardens is the largest in the Peel region and has the potential to provide local economic development, and social enterprises (nursery, markets, café, and training programs). The Gardens supports the engagement of active aging seniors, in turn making Mandurah a desirable place to retire. 

Environmental value

The Gardens provides an excellent example of a community organisation that operates and promotes living and consuming in a sustainable manner. The Gardens also offers local solutions to climate change, provides organic waste management solutions, showcases sustainable technologies, and contributes to food security through local, community food systems and greening of urban environments.

The Gardens showcases a compost system. Educational signage is installed at the compost area to educate visitors as to the best means of composting green waste materials.

The Gardens showcase the use of organic gardening techniques and avoid the use of synthetic chemical fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides. Where possible, permaculture principles are integrated and organic and permaculture principles include such practices as: building healthy soil to reduce pest and diseases, use of organic practices such as crop rotation, companion planting, mulching, watering and integrated pest management.

Social value

The Gardens is inclusive of all people and encourages interaction regardless of age, education, language or ability. The social benefits include opportunities for the development of friendships and a reduction in social isolation.  The Gardens has over 1300 visits per year and there are five agencies who accompany clients who are disabled.

Furthermore, the Gardens is a supportive environment that promotes social inclusion of a range of people from multicultural backgrounds. Local Mandurah people are encouraged to meet and develop friendships, exchange ideas, and develop links between individuals and groups. The Gardens provide opportunities for community events and social occasions.

Use value

The Gardens provides ‘outdoor classrooms’ for informal learning. The Gardens partners with Foodbank WA to run the Garden to Plate program, which is a monthly healthy eating and gardening workshop. In 2015, participants of the workshops reported that they had changed the way they manage their garden and majority of the 2016 participants reported that they consumed more fruit and vegetables since attending the workshops. 

References

Claire Nettle (2010). Growing Community: Starting and nurturing community gardens. Health SA, Government of South Australia and Community and Neighbourhood Houses and Centres Association Inc.

Growing Communities WA project (2008 – 2010) - support from Lotterywest, City of Swan and Town of Cambridge: http://communitygardenswa.org.au/media/articles/Resources---Resources-To-Download/Benefits-of-CGs.pdf