Cropped: Many Ballarat Community Garden members can supplement main meals with fresh food they’re growing. Photo: EDWINA WILLIAMS

True community in the garden

April 3, 2020 BY

SHEILAGH Kentish couldn’t be prouder of her Ballarat Community Garden community.

Challenged by the shifting health and social climate, Mrs Kentish, the group’s chairperson said her gardeners, young and old, are really looking out for one other.

“Some are offering to water people’s gardens, and help weed and care for them too. It’s still warm so it’s a crucial time of year. The new seedlings need looking after,” she said.

“One of our ex-gardeners made contact and offered to help with shopping and chemist runs. We have some people who aren’t on email, so we have people assigned to give them a phone call so they’re up to date with what’s going on.

“It’s so lovely to see this community really supporting each other in very difficult times.”

The Ballarat Community Garden has had to enforce some “draconian rules” regarding social distancing and hygiene, but Mrs Kentish said all involved have been nothing but positive and supportive.

“Everyone has to wear gloves all the time, bring their own tools, the tool shed is off limits, and there’s only four people allowed at a time,” Mrs Kentish said.

“There’s a roster for mowing and whipper snipping around the edges, to keep it under control, otherwise it will be like The Secret Garden in three months’ time.”

Throughout the pandemic, and beyond, she said gardening will be vital for the mental and physical health of many.

“I think it’s important for people to maintain some control in their lives and know that not everything’s been taken away or shut off.

“The Community Garden is a relatively safe place to go to, you’re not going to be close to anybody, it’s out in the open and people can feel like they’re doing something positive and constructive towards their own food production,” Mrs Kentish said.

“People have put in their new crops. They’re still getting tomatoes because the season was strange, there’s pumpkins, zucchinis, silver beet and herbs. They’re supplementing their main meals a lot.”