The “Feed My People” community vegetable garden is a project of the Moree Uniting Church, which is located on a disused lawn tennis court at the church. The garden aims to provide a safe meeting place in Moree to produce food and build community.
How did the garden come about?
In early 2010, the church, with the aid of the North West Plains Resource Minister, began a process of reflecting upon opportunities and possibilities for mission. A team of five people at the church has since driven the community garden project. They research community gardens, consulted with the church and broader community, and conducted a feasibility study. The first and second working bees were held in October 2010.
Why did the church get involved?
The church embarked on the project as a way of reaching out to its local community and trying to meet some of their needs. The church has a particular heart for the marginalised, and hopes to establish relationships between families, famers, retirees (there are many retired farmers in the town who have no opportunity to grow food), the elderly, the aboriginal community, and needy individuals who face food insecurity. The church also sees the garden as an opportunity to exercise good stewardship of God’s creation and to practise sustainable living.
What goes on at the garden?
The garden site is 640 square metres. Raised beds (for individuals and community groups), plantaboxes, a plant propagation area, play and family area, water tanks, and mounded gardens are planned. The local TAFE campus (Moree College) runs horticulture courses, and is interested in using the garden as a training facility. Expertise from community members, such as retired farmers, will help to establish and maintain gardens and to build food growing skills in the community. Excess produce will be given to local charities.
What is the organisational structure of the garden?
The garden is managed by a church committee, and plots will be allocated to individuals and groups both inside and outside of the church.
How does the garden link with other activities of the church?
The church currently supplies tinned and long life foods to local charities who support the needy. Produce from the garden could supplement these non-perishables, and those who benefit from receiving them could also be involved in food growing. The church sees the potential for the garden to be used for worship, prayer, meetings, lunch and other fellowship activities.
Who is involved in the garden, and what community partnerships have been involved?
The garden committee has been building relationships with a variety of local groups and organisations, including Fairview Nursing Home, the local TAFE, the Botanic Gardens, and the local aboriginal community.
What are the funding needs of the garden and where does the funding come from?
The church is aiming to make the project self funding. The church has been awarded a $1500 ABC Open Garden Scheme Community Garden Grant, and a Synod Mission Resource Fund grant of $3,327 to complete stage one of three stages of garden construction. Some congregants have already made donations and the church is seeking soil and fill from the local council.
What challenges were faced in establishing the community garden, and how were these addressed?
The challenges were getting the whole church on board with the project and everyone finding a way to participate regardless of age or expertise. Also, potential community partners come with their own set of agendas and time frames. The committee is now looking at the best way to structure the management of the garden before dividing up the beds for use.
Address: 19 Frome St, Moree, NSW 2400
Garden website: http://moreeunitingchurch.org/community-garden/