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From little things big things grow

Friday 15 April 2022

Take a stroll around the Glenelg North Community Garden (GNCG) and you will notice a definite buzz in the air.

And not just because of the garden’s recent addition – in the form of a beehive which is a shared initiative between the garden’s founder Michael Dwyer and the William Kibby VC Veterans’ Shed next door.

Wander down the pathways and you will see volunteers tending to the plots of veggies or watering seedlings. Or you might encounter one of the eight resident chickens scratching around for food.

Speaking of food, the chickens will approach you if they think you have some to share – but they are highly valued members of the community garden. That is because of one major contributing factor; their poo.

“The chickens are important and I got them as I wanted their poop,” said Michael, who set up the garden almost 10 years ago with sustainability as the garden’s motto.

“Compost is fundamental to the garden and that’s fundamental to recycling.”

Pam Sando, one of the garden’s members, describes the community garden as a “treasure”.

“It’s so beautiful and relaxing and everything tastes so much better,” she said, referring to the vegetables and fruit grown there.

That focus on sustainable, seasonal, home-grown produce is also the ethos that led to the creation of the North Brighton Community Garden (NBCG) in early 2019.

And although it’s far younger than its counterpart at Glenelg North, it’s just as abundant, well-utilised and blooming beautiful.

There is a sensory garden, fairy garden, arts and crafts group and communal garden beds that can be shared by members of the garden (who pay just $10 annually, which is the same for the GNCG).

Beau Warren helped design the garden and loves every aspect of it.

“It’s not just about growing things – it’s the social aspect, and education and showing people that you can grow things at home... along with connecting with your local community and sharing ideas and experiences,” he said.

Alex Miller secured the initial grant funding to set up the garden when she was in her teens and couldn’t be prouder of how it’s grown.

“Along the way you hear stories of how meaningful places like these are to people and that really does make you feel good,” she said.

“And I think in a time when fence heights are increasing, backyards are getting smaller, you don’t know your neighbours, places like these are really important.”

The Glenelg North Community Garden is open on Thursdays and Saturdays, 9.30am – 1pm and holds a plant sale on the last Saturday of every month.

The North Brighton Community Garden is open every day of the week, with a new members’ orientation on the first Sunday of the month at 11am.

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