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Community and Pumpkins

By Narelle Martin, Burgoigee Creek Landcare

How can people in small communities make linkages with other groups?  Bowmans Murmungee is a community without a shop, school or church but it does have a rebuilt hall, and an active community, including the Burgoigee Creek Landcare Group. We lie in the triangle between Everton, Beechworth and Gapsted, along the Great Alpine Way.

In April this year we had a festival: the Giant Pumpkin Competition and Harvest Festival! This was our first try at a festival, and we have decided to do it again.

We had three reasons to have the festival: build resilience, expand community networks, and raise money for the local community. We also wanted to have fun.

How did we manage? Well, a tick in all the boxes.  We had people working together in the lead up and during the festival, who didn’t know each other very well when we started. People learnt new skills, and met others outside of the usual networks. We managed to get a facebook page up, and engaged with people in ways we hadn’t before. We had visitors from all over the place come on the day, and universal feedback that they had a great time.  People wanted to know where they could get seeds so they can grow giant pumpkins for the next festival.

On the fund raising side, we made a profit! The money raised will be used for a mental health program, and for the two community halls.

Our winning giant pumpkin was 112 kilos, grown by Craig Orton of Gapsted.  This year we have seeds from a variety of sources, including some from a pumpkin over 300 kilos!

So here is an invitation to the wider community: please join us and have fun with growing a giant pumpkin. Bring it along to our next Giant Pumpkin and Harvest Festival on Saturday 26th of April 2014 at the Bowmans Murmungee Hall.

November, after the last frost, is the time to put seeds in. Giant pumpkin seeds may be obtained through me (040 8897790, or email nmartin.thec@bigpond.com) and other members of the committee (until we run out), as well as Diggers and other commercial seed providers.  In addition to the biggest pumpkin, we are also looking for the most attractive pumpkin, and the most unusual pumpkin.  

Happy growing!