Fig Tree Community Garden in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia is a project by the community and for the community. There is just one garden at Fig Tree Garden, and all are welcome. The philosophy behind the garden is learning, sharing, helping, community, play, environment, organic fresh food, creativity, recycling, events, and safety. Bear these in mind when you enter and your enthusiasm, ideas and knowledge are welcome!
Fig Tree Community Garden was launched in July 2005 following the closure of the local bowling club and subsequent relocation of the community garden operating there. At the time, Fig Tree included a network of 50 individuals and a number of organizations including Links to Learning, Toogoolawa School, Migrant Resource Centre, TAFE Outreach, and Baptist Community Services. This association of individuals and groups relocated the garden to the current site at the Croatian Wickham Sports Club.
Fig Tree Community Garden was created using the principles of asset-based
community development. Residents and other partners in the network approached the challenge with an asset orientation, and each partner was acknowledged as an important contributor to the new garden. Before the garden was moved, the group conducted a workshop involving around 25 regular volunteers. A concept plan was developed from the workshop in which features of the new site and their order of importance were defined. Fig Tree Community Garden has had extraordinary success in reaching out to the community through individuals and through community groups. Currently there are 109 individuals registered as volunteers at the site, in addition to individuals who have contributed plants and other resources to the site.
When you visit, your first act in the garden should be to pick a strawberry, a piece of celery, a bean or a pea and eat it. Not bad is it? If you don't feel like work today, that's OK because Figtree's members are happy for you to simply enjoy the food from the garden. If you would like to join the many volunteers who work to produce the food then you can do any of the following activities:
- Worm Farming and Composting
- Seed Saving
- Pulling Weeds
Or PLAYING. After all, it's not all about work. In fact it's more about play than anything. You may wish to have a game of CHESS while sipping a cool beverage from the bar. Perhaps a roll up on the BOWLING green would tickle your fancy. For the night owls the club hosts RAFFLES on Wednesday night and TRIVIA on Thursday nights. The KIDS CLUB HOUSE, the TYRE SERPENT and SAND PIT are strictly for kids (and kids at heart).
Download the paper, ABCD Meets DEF: Using Asset Based Community Development to Build Economic Diversity, presented at the Asset Based Community Development Conference at the University of Newcastle, Australia, December 2008.