10 years ago, we had a vision for a diverse network of thriving gardens spread across Alice Springs that are supported by communities and offer opportunities for local people to learn, grow, harvest and heal. Now, with the launch of a new garden at the Centralian Middle School and plans for more on the way, we are finally seeing the Alice Springs Community Garden Network grow.
The seed of an idea
The Alice Springs Community Garden (the Garden) started as an idea and a small group of dedicated people meeting in cafes in Alice Springs in 2007. The Arid Lands Environment Centre was involved in this group.
Today, the Garden is a thriving hub of activity with community gardening, workshops, events and working bees. The vibrancy of the Garden reflects the care and love that people have, and continue, to put into it over the past 10 years.
From little things big things grow
More than 10 years and many seedlings later, ALEC is excited to announce the launch of the Alice Springs Community Garden Network, with the new garden to be located at the Centralian Middle School in Gillen.
The Centralian Middle School is excited about this project and students have been growing seedlings in preparation. Principal Paul Van Holsteyn says the school is proud to be a part of such an important community initiative.
"Centralian Middle School is constantly looking at ways we can be more involved in our community and this community garden will provide our teachers with the opportunity for more hands-on teaching with our students in regards to nutrition, teamwork and environmental awareness.”
Work on the new garden in Gillen will be kicking off soon and we will be enlisting the help of a volunteer green army to mulch, weed, dig and sow as part of regular Community Garden Working Bees to convert the patch of land that is currently overrun with buffel and couch grass into a productive, fertile space.
Food from this newest garden will help to grow Food for Alice, the weekly local produce market connecting Alice residents with locally-sourced, ethical produce, backyard growers and suppliers.
A budding garden network
The garden at Gillen is just the beginning and the garden network will look to foster new and emerging gardens at Ilpeye-Ilpeye Estate, Araluen Cultural Precinct and Tangentyere Community Centres (supported by Amern Mwerr Garden Project).
“ALEC is committed to building sustainable food systems for arid land communities. With the growing demand for local produce and the knowledge of how to grow it, this exciting project will bring people and organisations to work together to improve people’s access to and awareness of local food gardens.”
A garden network across Alice Springs means more community events aimed at providing local residents with opportunities to learn about best arid zone gardening practices and sustainable desert living.
Hundreds of people came down to the East Side Garden as part of the 2020 EcoFair for a Garden Gurus tour and a vegetarian lunch put on by Community Garden volunteers.