Community Gardens

July 2008

Fact Sheet In recent years, many hectares of land on NSW social housing areas have been devoted to community gardening.
Over 20,000 residents have participated in the scheme, sharing valuable skills and friendships as they work to improve their local environment. All over NSW, abandoned back-lots, wasteland and balconies have been converted into areas growing vegetables, fruit and flowers.
It is illegal for an officer of Housing NSW to ask for money or favours or other benefits of any kind in exchange for helping you with your housing needs. It is also illegal for you or anyone else to offer money or favours or other benefits of any kind to an officer of Housing NSW in exchange for helping you. If you have any information regarding this, please contact Housing NSW’s Business Assurance Unit on 1800 806 206. Housing NSW may refuse the provision of further housing services to anyone who has engaged or sought to engage in corrupt or illegal conduct.

• given tenants (some of whom had never gardened before) a genuine sense of pride and achievement from their accomplishments • improved people’s understanding and appreciation of their physical environment. This initiative unites communities and builds confidence and social interaction amongst social housing tenants.

Greening areas
Over 130 gardening communities are now involved in gardening projects. There are 95 community gardens on or near NSW social housing areas from Toongabbie to Taree. • Community gardens at Waterloo, a highdensity public housing estate in inner-city Sydney, have revitalised community life and improved the local environment. The raised garden beds in Solander allow older and less mobile people to garden. Waterloo’s diverse population, (including people of Russian, Vietnamese and Indonesian backgrounds) have grown a range of vegetables ‘from beetroot to bok choy’. • The popular community gardens in Riverwood in South Sydney have attracted broad public recognition. Tenants have won gardening awards, and are known for their strong cooperation on the gardens. • Bidwill community gardens in Western Sydney have used old railway sleepers to raise garden beds to a height which enables less mobile people to garden. Compost bins are used to recycle waste. • In Minto in south-west Sydney, the community gardens are also used for social events such as barbeques and annual celebrations. Vegetables are plucked fresh from the gardens and put straight on the fire. These communal gatherings boost the sense of community in the area.

The gardens form part of the Housing NSW’s community renewal program. This program aims to build safer and stronger communities, and encourage tenants to play an active role in local decision making. Housing NSW is working with a range of partners to ensure the best possible services and outcomes for people in social housing. A range of organisations, including The Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney Water, the Department of Commerce, University of NSW, local government, and private sponsors, have provided support for the community gardening scheme.

Growing communities
The gardens have boosted community life in social housing areas. By providing a range of activities and attracting strong community involvement, the gardens have: • increased tenant involvement in community life • encouraged greater interaction and stronger communication between tenants of diverse ages and backgrounds • provided an outlet for healthy exercise and an equally healthy food source • allowed tenants to acquire a range of vocational skills – in gardening, planning, teamwork, resource allocation and decision making

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Community Gardens
July 2008

Interpreter Services
If you have difficulty understanding English, contact the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 131 450. The Translating and Interpreting Service will telephone Housing NSW for you at no cost. If you are hearing impaired, please contact the TTY Service on 1800 628 310. Arabic Chinese Russian Spanish Vietnamese

• Community gardens in regional areas, including Windale and Taree, are a focal point for people to share valuable gardening skills, produce and friendships.

Contributors to Community Greening include
Yates and Co Department of Commerce Friends of the Gardens Eden Gardens and Garden Centre Andreasens Green Oasis Horticulture Northcote Pottery Hickmans Nursery Taree Blacktown Council Campbelltown Council Canterbury Council Fairfield Council Holyroyd Council Liverpool Council Muswellbrook Council Parramatta Council Penrith Council Randwick Council Taree Council South Sydney Council Sydney City Council Wyong Council Arthur Phillip High School Auburn North Public School Brier Rd Public School Cabramatta Public School Claymore Public School Cleveland St Intensive English High School Currens Public School Eastlakes Public School Granville South High School Guise Public School Maroubra Bay Public School Marrickville West Public School Redfern Public School Samuel Terry Public School Sarah Redfern High School Telopea Public School Thomas Acres Public School Toongabbie West Public School Tregear Public School Willmot Public School Youth off the Streets Schools at Surry Hills and Merrylands

The Road Ahead
Housing NSW is committed to Community Greening, a partnership between Housing NSW and the Botanic Gardens Trust, that aims to provide support and expertise to housing tenants who wish to establish their own flowerbeds and vegetable plots on vacant, common land. In future years it will: • develop or extend community gardens in public housing areas with particular focus on each of the priority locations identified by Housing NSW (Claymore, Macquarie Fields, Mount Druitt, Killarney Vale/Bateau Bay/Tumbi Umbi, Bathurst/ Orange and Dubbo) • focus on community gardens in rural areas • expand existing community gardens to meet the demand from tenants for additional allotments, and to encourage more tenants to get involved • develop strategies for the gardens to become self-sustaining over time • continue to build partnerships with other service providers • better link community gardens to Housing NSW’s tenant employment and training programs.

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