Magnetic Island North Queensland
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A young koala's beach adventure

November 30th 2008
Towards an MI Community Garden Project

In support of a sustainable future on Magnetic Island, Magnetic Times has opened a new section devoted to the Magnetic Island Community Garden Project. In it we plan to place articles, related to the project, which has been developing in recent months, as they come to hand. Following is a message from organiser Katrina Goudkamp and notes from the group's first planning workshop.

Community Gardening Newsletter
Thanks to everyone who participated in the community garden workshop on Saturday (8 November). It was a great turn out of 25 people with lots of discussion and great ideas. Sue has kindly typed up the notes about what was discussed at the workshop. The notes include a comprehensive list of what we hope to achieve!

You will notice in the workshop notes, three main groups have been formed to continue the momentum. These are:

Group 1. Establish a sustainable effective group to coordinate this project (project convenor - Michelle)

Group 2. Provide opportunities to increase knowledge and skills relevant to food gardening (project convenor - Brett)

Group 3. Investigate options to access land and resources (project convenor - Lorna)

If you were unable to attend the workshop and would like to be involved in any of these groups, please contact me, Katrina Goudkamp .

Small group meetings will be held in the next couple of weeks, prior to the next large group meeting.

Next large group meeting: Saturday 6 December 2008 @ 11:30 am, Uniting Church in Turnbridge Street, Nelly Bay

First community garden action!
Lorna and Martin have set up a community compost bin at the back of their garden (access from Warboys St, Nelly Bay) for anyone who would like to contribute their food scraps (no meat or dairy please). They have placed a sign on the community compost bin so it is easy to find.

Hope to see you at the next meeting, if not before.

Kind regards
Katrina Goudkamp

Towards a Shared Vision
Notes from Magnetic Island Community Gardening Workshop
Saturday 8 November 2008

On Saturday 25 October, 25 Magnetic Islanders attended a community meeting to discuss the viability of establishing a community garden. At this meeting, participants agreed that a workshop was needed to explore the concept further and to identify appropriate strategies and structures to support the development of a community garden. The workshop was advertised through the Magnetic Island Community Development Association (MICDA) newsletter and the Magnetic Times

A document, Community Gardens Good Practice Guide*, was circulated to the group prior to the workshop. Additional copies were available at the workshop for people who had not attended the initial meeting.

The Workshop Process
The workshop focussed on the following issues:

* What do participants want to achieve through their involvement in a community garden project?
* Is it possible to achieve some of these objectives in other ways? (Especially given that the process of establishing a community garden will take a considerable amount of time and energy)
*How can we establish a sustainable effective group to coordinate this project?
What can we do in the short-term (1-3months) to address some of these issues?

1. What do participants want to achieve?

*Opportunity to work in a garden - access to caged land
*Opportunity to share maintenance of a garden
*Engagement with others in a community setting
*Access to fresh, local, organic, inexpensive fruit and vegetables
*Access to good compost and worm casts
*Opportunity to effectively use and share existing knowledge in relation to food gardening in the tropics
*Opportunity to develop an educational facility to promote, support and inspire food gardening on the island
*Opportunity to develop a "model garden" to demonstrate the possibilities in terms of land management on the island
*An aesthetic space (artistic, creative space) that incorporates community art as well as a garden.
*A community space (eco-friendly community building with kitchen?) that can be used for meetings, events and other community purposes
*Integrating animals that can assist the garden (eg chickens) into the design and functions.
*Propagation of native plants to encourage residents to choose natives over introduced species.
*The opportunity to promote locavorism and the "slow food movement"
*The development of a healing garden, (eg therapeutic herbs etc) to promote alternative approaches to traditional medicine
*Opportunities for seed saving and sharing
*Commercial possibilities (seedlings, worm castings, other fertilizers, produce)
*Access to communal tools, equipment and resources
*Establishing tropical fruit forest(s)
*Longevity and sustainability (lease security/permanency, infrastructure)
*The possibility of integrating WWOOFing (Willing Workers On Organic Farms) into the project

It was agreed that many of these objectives could be achieved through activities other than a community garden as most were concerned with a broader concept of "promoting community gardening". Given that the establishment of a community garden will take a considerable amount of time and coordination, it was agreed that it would be worthwhile for the group to be working on many of these issues alongside the process of establishing a community garden.

2. What can we do over the next 3 months?

2.1 Establish a sustainable effective group to coordinate this project

The following issues were raised:
* We need to"formalise" the group in some way to be able to access and manage land, funds and other resources.
* We can establish a new incorporated community group or we can form a sub-group within MICDA
* A major advantage of locating the group within MICDA is that Public Liability
* Insurance costs will be absorbed by MICDA
* We need to decide how the group will be structured and how we will make decisions (majority? consensus?)

The workshop group agreed to establish a "sub-group" to:
*Investigate and report on how we can establish a working group within the Magnetic Island Community Development Association (MICDA)
*Develop a proposal on how the group could be structured internally in terms of:
Membership & membership fees; Roles and responsibilities; Decision making processes; Information systems

Group Convenor: Michelle
Members: Nicole, Trish. Katrina, Steph, Suzy, Lorna, Sue, Dani

2.2 Provide opportunities to increase knowledge and skills relevant to food gardening

One of the major themes that emerged was the desire to learn and/or share knowledge and skills in tropical food gardening. The group identified the following strategies that could be implemented to develop opportunities for group members to increase skills and knowledge:

* Organise community workshops on gardening and food production
* Organise visits to island food gardens and develop opportunities for "working bees" so that participants can have "hands on" learning experiences
* Establish a system to share educational resources (books, magazines etc)
* Establish an E-Newsletter to provide opportunities for members to share information.
* Work with MICDA to establish a market stall (fundraising, promoting community gardening, etc)

It was agreed to form a sub-group to develop these strategies further.

Group Convenor: Brett
Members: Barb, Ean, Chris, Katrina, Steph, Suzy, Wendy

2.3 Investigate options to access land and resources

The following issues were raised:
* There appears to be potential to link people who need help with their gardens with people who wish to garden but have no suitable land.
* There are a number of potential sites for a community garden on the island
* It might be feasible to establish a garden in more than one bay

It was decided to establish a working group to: Identify and report on possible sites

Group convenor: Lorna
Members: Mish, Dani, Chris, Charlie (?)

3. Where to from here?
Convenors to arrange a meeting prior to the next "large group" meeting on Saturday 6 December.

Details of these meetings can be circulated to all people on the list so that other interested people can attend.

To contact the group email Katrina here:

To add your comment,
or read those of others, see below

Towards an MI Community Garden Project
Jenny Stirling
November 30th 2008
Fantastic. If done properly and it looks as though it will be, this could serve as a model for other communities to follow in Townsville. And I am not just talking about suburbs. Various community groups could also interested. Greg Boyd's group 20/20 based at Heatley High has promoted these ideas in schools around Townsville and has had a terrific reception. So I expect if the MI community takes ownership and sees the value, then it will be a success. And even if 'success' means people will be growing fruit and veggies at home rather than the community gardens, then that is a great outcome for sustainability. Well done to all concerned.
Sylvia Hayes
December 17th 2008
I will be living in Horseshoe Bay in Feb and would love to be involved with your gardening group. Regards, Sylvia

What do you think? Send us your comments.

Readers comments
Syl Hayes In reply to Fair raises $15,000 for school
What a wonderful outcome for the school! I had a great time face-painting with Luke and Sasha, met lots of kids and parents,scored some great books at the Trash n Treasure stall, and even remembered to vote. Everywhere you looked people were enjoying themselves...such a tribute to the organisers. Well done!
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