Community gardens provide space and support for people to garden together. They come in many different shapes and sizes that reflect the community they exist in. They are often started and run by volunteers, with support from whomever owns the land and a diverse membership of people seeking space to grow, and company to garden with.
Perth City Farm is acknowledged as Perth’s first community garden and we’ve helped to seed many other gardens in Perth. We really love community gardens! Our staff and volunteers are involved in many other gardens local to where they live and we support the community garden scene wherever we can.
Community Gardens in Perth
We have a wonderful diversity of community gardens in Perth. They differ in size, operating model, member base, programming and funding model.
Community Gardens Australia have a Garden Search Tool you can use to find all listed gardens.
Some great Perth Community Garden examples include:
- Hilton Harvest: Just next to Hilton Primary School this garden has individual plots for members, as well as communal plots, chickens and fruit trees, and a wonderful intergenerational gardening program called Buds and Blooms.
- Earthwise Community: The gardens of this old pink church have been transformed by volunteers into sustainable communal gardens featuring quirky recycled sculptures, ponds, compost, an op shop and meeting room.
- North Fremantle Social Farm: At this garden staff and volunteers grow lots of produce market garden style, and community members pay an annual membership fee which entitles them to harvest what they can eat.
- Girrawheen Community Garden: This very new community garden is in a very public space between a library and community centre and grows some unusual plants reflecting the diverse cultures in the area.
Starting a Community Garden
Most community gardens start because a group of residents decide they want a communal garden close to where they live. Other times, the local council or a school might initiate the project. Getting started can be tricky as the process may rely on volunteers to make it happen, with no or minimal financial resources.
Perth City Farm have run consulting projects to support communities to vision, design and install community gardens. To learn more about this service head to our Consulting page.
The following websites have some good information on how to start a community garden:
- Starting a garden checklist
- Gardening Australia segment ‘Starting from Scratch’
- Book ‘Growing Community — starting and nurturing community gardens’ available via download at the end of the article
- ‘Funding Your Community Garden‘ report by Anne Goodall. WA specific information on funding avenues
- A collection of fact sheets on getting started.
Benefits of Community Gardens
Quite simply- community gardens grow healthy communities. At the individual level they improve their member’s physical, mental and spiritual health, and at the macro level they improve entire neighbourhoods.
Research shows us that community gardens can lead to:
- Increased consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables
- Increased social connections between neighbours
- Increased physical activity (always a hole to be dug!)
- Reduced anti-social behaviour
Community gardens can even be catalysts for economic redevelopment of neighbourhoods, and they allow people to practise ‘community living skills’ like reciprocity, mutual trust, collective decision-making, civic engagement and community building.
Read more about the research.
How Perth City Farm can help your community garden
We love to share what we’ve learnt about community gardens. We can help you via:
- Consulting. We’d love to help you vision, design and install your garden.
- Our Farm tours are a great way to learn about our garden- how it’s designed and operated and all the components like the composting, chickens and reticulation.
- Volunteering Opportunities. Our volunteers learn lots about community gardens by working in ours! Gain first-hand knowledge of how we run with the chance to ask lots of questions and connect with other garden enthusiasts. Head to our Volunteering page to get started.
Community Gardens Australia (website)
WA Community Gardens Network (Facebook group)