Flinders University Community Permaculture Garden
Introduction to the Community Garden
The Flinders University Community Garden was established in 2001 by friends of the Flinders Environment Action Group (FEAG), and in 2011 will celebrate its ten year anniversary. Since its inception, the garden has been supported by many hundreds of volunteers and in-kind support of the university and wider community. It has played an important role in fostering student leadership, knowledge and learning regarding sustainability and environmental awareness on campus.
The site has been supported as a major project of the Flinders Environment Action Group (FEAG), with assistance from the Students Association. The Flinders Environment Action Group (FEAG) gratefully acknowledge the contribution and support for the community garden by Flinders University over the past ten years, in particular the support of the Environment Committee, Grounds and Maintenance and Administration staff and 24 hour Security Service. We look forward to continuing to collaborative towards sustainable universities and communities for the future.
The Community Garden is a 0.2ha site adjacent to the Sturt campus, and features fruit tree orchard, vegetable gardens and a revegetation project. Some of the fruit and nut trees in the orchard include apricots, apples, plums, mulberries, figs, olives and citrus trees, and rare fruits and nuts including ice cream bean, feijoa, jujube and white and black sapotes. The garden is constructed according to Permaculture principles, which encourages creating productive landscapes which promote diversity, stability and resilient natural ecosystems, whilst nurturing human health and interaction with nature.
Original Objectives, Permaculture Garden Project
||Provide a location for members of the FU community to participate and learn about Permaculture principles and organic gardening techniques.
||Recycle food waste from the FU Union through a composting green waste system.
||Produce and distribute food on campus.
||Efficiently use rainwater collected on campus.
||Contribute to the maintenance and enhancement of biodiversity on campus through the establishment of indigenous plant communities.
||Increase knowledge, participation and community learning in gardening and Permaculture.
Site Establishment and Development
From an empty plot of land the site has evolved significantly in the last 10 years. The initial project involved olive tree removal, earth moving for swale development and soil reconstruction. In-kind support has been provided by Flinders University in the past with site approval, olive removal, rainwater tanks and mains water use. In 2005 the garden collective worked with the University to develop information signs for the gardens. Four council grants have been successfully applied for, including:
> $1,500 Mitcham Council (2002)
> $2,200 Urban Forests and Biodiversity Project (2002)
> $500 Marion Council (2002)
> $2,000 Marion Council (2004/2005)
Over time the project has expanded to includes planting and maintenance of many fruit and nut trees, irrigation system, two ponds, raised garden beds, compost system, worm farm and revegetation zone. Many of the fruit/nut trees planted in the last five years are now maturing and fruiting, and the space is now abundant with trees, birds and wildlife. The project has been maintained entirely by students and volunteers through regular workshops and working bees, and supported by expertise from community garden enthusiasts and the Permaculture Association of South Australia (PASA).
Future project possibilities include a straw bale gazebo to function as an education space on the site. Other possibilities for future projects include expansion of the garden into unused tennis courts, incorporating the garden more strongly into university curriculums and working with Yunggorendi to expand Indigenous awareness and bush foods into the space. A previous grant application lodged by then Indigenous Officer Elijah Bravington presents us with a good working model of how this could be achieved.
The site has a strong history of facilitating student learning, including courses in Permaculture Design, organic gardening, composting, worm farming, fruit tree maintenance, no-dig garden beds, revegetation, as well as hosting tours and interactive workshops with the on-campus child care centre, ASMS School and Outdoor Education classes. The space has helped give students practical experience in sustainability, environmental awareness and healthy living, whilst fostering leadership and student vision at Flinders.
For further information contact:
mob- 0437 167 989
email- Katherine.Negrin@gmail.com or
mob- 0434 823 534
If you are interested in Community Gardens in other locations, check out our articles below.
Ridley Grove Community Garden, Woodville Gardens South Australia
Noarlunga Downs School Community Garden, Noarlunga Downs South Australia
Fern Avenue Community Garden, Fullarton South Australia
Community Gardens are a great way to share knowledge, skills and a love of gardening, as well as the benefits of physical activity in the outdoors, the social and community benefits and the wonderful food you grow! Well worth getting involved!