Community gardens are renowned for cultivating a sense of pride and achievement within the communities they lie, and the Bourke Community Garden is no different.
Part of the CDP’s Activity Yard for over 20 years, the garden space was revived in 2020 when Gavin Gibbs took his position as Site Manager in Bourke. With his vision along with the help of many members of the community, the Garden was brought to life.
Together they built multiple raised beds, installed watering systems and many different vegetables were planted.
Built as an Activity Based Program, the Garden is designed to encourage all people from the community to join in. Fostering community ties while promoting physical and social wellbeing, anyone and everyone is welcome to participate. Over the years it has even provided job seekers an opportunity to work and gain the necessary requirements needed to qualify for their benefits. Now, as part of a larger Community Development Program, the garden helps employ two full time workers and provides fresh produce to members of the community free of charge.
Local dietician, Charlene Noye from Bourke Aboriginal Corporation Health Service, also came on board, seeing how good growing fresh fruit and vegetables could be to the health of the community. Working together, Charlene’s team now provides the resources needed to keep the garden going while the REDI.E team provides the labour.
With Charlene’s help, the Garden caught the attention of the University of New South Wales, who is now proving a new type of bed system called Wicking Beds. Perfect for the oftentimes dry climate of Bourke, these new beds water the plants from underneath, saving water that would have been lost to evaporation.
Not only is the University providing the new beds, they will also be sending students to Bourke to provide a 10-week maintenance program, educating the workers on the beds, how they work and how they can be fixed if needed.
Community coming together in times of need
A staple of the Garden is helping locals when they may need a bit of a hand. This is exactly what happened in March 2020.
Covid-19 sent Bourke into lockdown in 2020 and again in 2021. With people not being able to leave their houses, the team at the Garden continued to provide produce to members of the community. Each week, a minimum of 5 people would receive fresh fruit and vegetables. Different elders and townspeople were chosen by Gavin and his team based on who needed it most.
At a time when fresh produce was scarce and leaving the house was a scary thing, this free community service was greatly received.
Brighter things to come in 2022
Now, with early 2022 seeing higher than normal rainfall the Garden is thriving, with wet conditions helping to produce plenty of cucumbers, zucchinis and citrus fruit. And now as we approach the change of season, the team is busy preparing the garden beds for the winter crops. We are very excited with what we will be able to provide the community with in the next coming months. Stay tuned!
This initiative is funded/supported by the Australian Government.