By Fiona Hughes, Chairperson of the Albury Wodonga Regional Food Security Network
Community and school gardens are popping up everywhere around Albury-Wodonga and the Hume Murray Community Gardening Collective is supporting this movement by providing a social setting for those interested in food gardens to learn from one another.
Community gardening is a valuable recreational activity that is a vital element of community food security and can contribute to community development, environmental awareness, positive social interaction, community safety and community education. They provide a setting where people of different ages and cultures can come together to grow fresh food, to learn, relax and make new friends. The benefits of community gardening include easy access to fresh, nutritious food; a sense of achievement that comes from growing some of your own food; making friends with people in the neighbourhood; learning skills in sustainable living practices; strengthening the social and emotional wellbeing of the community; healthy outdoor exercise and improving the local environment.
There are three different types of community gardens which you can be involved in or establish yourself, these include shared gardens where gardeners work together in the whole garden, taking a share of what they grow, allotment gardens where individuals or families have their own garden bed in a large community gardening space, and backyard gardens which involves collecting and sharing backyard produce within your neighbourhood.
The Hume Murray Community Gardening Collective was formed as a result of the current community garden movement. The Collective is a subgroup of the Albury Wodonga Regional Food Security Network and aims to provide an avenue for information sharing and support specifically for community and school gardens. Bimonthly mornings teas are hosted by alternating community gardens as an opportunity for participants to swap stories and ideas. The group has so far held four morning teas at Thurgoona Community Centre, Birallee Park Neighbourhood House, St Stephens Uniting Church in Wodonga and National Environment Centre, Thurgoona.
The next Hume Murray Community Gardening Collective morning tea is being held on Wednesday 9th November 10am at West Wodonga Primary School Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden. For more information on this group please contact Sue Brunskill on 02 6043 6712.