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Draft Community Gardens Policy (2019)

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Community Gardens play an important role in the life of our community and in improving health and wellbeing. They also promote knowledge of, and access to, fresh, organic and locally produced fruit and vegetables. As well as promoting sustainable gardening practices, building food literacy and strengthening community connections.

The Greater Bendigo Environment Strategy 2016-2021 highlighted the importance of choosing locally grown, unprocessed, seasonal food as the most effective way to reduce our environmental footprint, eat healthily and support the local economy. This includes learning to grow our own fruit and vegetables or joining a community garden, with an action of the City’s Environment Strategy recommending that the City “encourages and supports urban agriculture by developing policies and guidelines for community gardens, community orchards and nature strip food gardens.”

Engagement undertaken as part of developing the Food System Strategy highlighted a number of issues and opportunities with regards to community gardens, as well as triggering multiple enquiries from community members or community groups requesting the establishment of a community garden.

There are currently no guidelines in place to guide an appropriate response to these requests and a draft Community Gardens Policy has been developed to address identified issues and provide a clear set of guidelines for both the community and staff.

It’s important to have a policy around community gardens that clearly sets out the rights and responsibilities of all stakeholders involved in community gardens, as we want these gardens to be successful and proudly owned by our community members.

The draft Policy has sought to address key issues identified with community gardens in Bendigo, including:

  • Approaches required to consider contaminated soil
  • A need for community ownership of community gardens as opposed to Council driven
  • A need for support of surrounding neighbours and a compatibility with surrounding land uses
  • Clarity of roles, rights and responsibilities for the City, Community Garden Groups and community members

The draft Policy is available for community comment until November 15, 2019. Comments on the draft are welcomed and members of the City’s Active and Healthy Lifestyles team are happy to meet with you to discuss the draft Policy in greater detail.

To have your say, or for more information, please contact Matthew Kerlin, Coordinator Strategy and Policy, on 5434 6000 or email [email protected]

We welcome your feedback.

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