A year ago I wrote a post about the vacant land on the corner of George and Charles streets. Now the City of Yarra has announced that the site may become a new community garden. As the land is apparently owned by the Department of Human Services, permission from the government will be required. I think it’s a great idea. What do you think?

georgecharles a new community garden for Fitzroy?

a new community garden for Fitzroy?

8 thoughts on “a new community garden for Fitzroy?

  • 15 January 2010 at 3:02 pm
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    This would be brilliant! A nice addition to the guerilla garden boxes that have sprung up around Fitzroy.

    Jetsetting Joyce

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  • 16 January 2010 at 2:14 pm
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    Awesome!!! So great to use a vacant block of land for a community initiative.

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  • 18 February 2010 at 12:19 pm
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    Initially loved the idea too. Although after some consideration have totally changed my mind. I live in Charles street and we use that block frequently as do Smith St employees for a quiet lunch break, dog walkers who are not permitted to have dogs in the playground. My son is learning to ride his 2 wheeler there as he’s not willing to have an audience witnessing his tumbles. We recently had a birthday party at home and all raced to the corner block for three-legged races, giants treasure and and statues. Yes, we could have done it in the park across the road, but we chose ‘our block’ as there were no roads to cross for the quick dash home for the loo (need we explain to this group who has suddenly popped up to tell us where we should be playing??) . After attending the meeting re this proposed community garden last week, I was very disgruntled to have others redirecting my children as to where they should play. At the moment his block is an already green, much valued open space for the whole community to do with what they will. I don’t look forward to it being accessible to only those who were on top of the waiting list for the first round of plot holders. How many does the land have space for….10 people? Those of us who had objections at the meeting were then made out to be garden hating freaks who have no regard for the betterment of the environment and community relations. The selling point then became the importance of interaction with people living in the Condell Street flats. It was again assumed I had no contact thus far with my neighbors and this garden would be a natural integration aid to rectify this situation. I am acquainted with several inhabitants of the flats. Have shared lemons and mint with my Condell street friends and in turn been invited to a Vietnamese feast, sampling the likes of nothing I’ve tasted at Coconut Palms! We have done each other favors as neighbors do, and all without stifling access to the block on the corner. I am very community minded and I love gardening, particularly edibles. But please green up a space that NEEDS greening. Find a carpark, an old industrial site….don’t use our block. The Fitzroy Primary School has a wonderful kitchen garden program, but the resources only stretch to employing the garden teacher for one day a week. Her passionate struggle includes upkeep of the garden, interactive cooking skills and educating each class in her one short weekday(some classes miss out). Kate is in desperate need of volunteers, the gardens are amazing with structures beds, mini orchards, water tanks, but desperately need more hands-on contributors. If only the organisation who have proposed the new community garden in Fitzroy would take up station at the school (only 2 blocks away) where beds are already up and running, we could fulfill everyones needs. Community enhancement, socialising, nurturing gardens and relationships, educating the children to respect their environment/own health/their school. I feel my proposal is good for everyone, and of course several residents of Condell St flats attend Fitzroy Primary and more parents from the flats could be encouraged to not only integrate more with the wider community, but also the school they are already affiliated with. This way the block would remain open and accessible to all and, now that it’s become so famous, perhaps have a mini makeover with the funds saved. Is anyone with me ??

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  • 21 February 2010 at 1:05 pm
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    Canonical Nimby seems a pretty fancypants label. I’m amused. Did I mention that Fitzroy Primary School happens to be my other back yard ?

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    • 21 February 2010 at 2:47 pm
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      I suppose the main issue is whether the block can continue to be used by everyone or, as you suggest, a food garden will mean it is used by only a few.

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  • 22 February 2010 at 2:28 pm
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    Why not work together to improve / create a community space. I’m a member of a community garden and we are all part of the community that we live in! So kids on their bikes, visitors are all welcome. We even planted fruit trees along the fence, and leave spare produce in a basket outside, so the produce could be shared with those who may not wish to join.

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  • 23 February 2010 at 1:52 pm
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    Mark W appears to have missed the lady’s point and just gone for a pretty cheap and lazy line.

    The community garden debates is far from a NIMBY issue, in fact the LACK OF A BACKYARD is the issue — i’d imagine, for community gardeners and those looking to preserve open space alike.

    Some residents use open space as their backyard. Open space can offer just as many opportunities to meet and communicate with your neighbours as a community garden. The debate is should we replace one with the other just because having a kitchen garden plot is the latest groovy thing for one section of the community? It’s my view also that community gardens are best when they reclaim land that is otherwise of no use to the community.

    Still, no sign yet of any of these yarra community garden groups doing the hard yards to identify land not already public open space … or even using their undoubted lobbying skills to touch up the corporates for some under-utilised land.

    And just why are they so resistant to investigating other ways of providing community gardening? things like …

    – street planter boxes that could actually reclaim roadspace,
    – more trees cutouts with gardens at their base,
    – or pitching in at the under-funded local state school and public housing gardens as suggested?

    All good ideas that are rejected out of hand because it doesnt seem to fit one particular strand of ‘community gardening’. surely its not just about having a little plot of your own? or is it? As for the charles street site, well im not sure about that one now. given the land is owned by the dept human services i fear all that has been achieved is highlighting to the ministry that they have a block worth $500k on their books. If its not turned into a community garden now it may well end up in private developers hands. a loss for everyone.

    The debate across yarra unfortunately seems to have developed a ‘with us or against us’ feel to it … those ive heard speak about preserving open space do not appear to be opposed to community gardens as such, but believe the open space is an asset that should be protected. i obviously agree. the north carlton site in particular seems to have raised conflict.

    What the ‘green’ community as a whole should be doing is ensuring the spotlight is shined back on yarra council for flogging off carpark sites to private developers, or the state government for vandalising the world heritage listed carlton gardens for five weeks of the year by turning it into a trade show for bunnings and the like. These are the battles that the incorporated gardening groups should be helping fight , instead of questioning the community mindedness of those with a different view about public land.

    The proponents of community gardens are very keen to talk up the greening of the inner city (and so they should) but they should not be surprised at the level of concern when their plan is just to replace trees, grass and open space that some people enjoy with their own particular selection of vegetables. Find some bituman and turn that into something spectacular — you’ll be cheered from the rooftops — anything else, including bagging those who question the grand plan, really is just cheap and lazy.

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