With a new year upon us, many of us may want to get started getting better connected to where and how our food is produced – and connecting with your local community. Guest blogger Zak Baillie tells us more about the Macquarie University Community Garden.
Directly north of the confines of Macquarie University, the Macquarie University Community Garden and its patrons are growing an array of vegetables, fruits and flowers in a manner which promotes sustainability (pesticides are all discouraged), connectivity and above all nurtures an appreciation of the local environment and all that it can provide.
My motivations to start such a plot came from a childhood in the Blue Mountains and an interest in gardening and cooking. I met Mark (he oversees the garden) when I first started at Macquarie Uni and after about six months I finally pulled my finger out, got myself a plot (students, faculty staff and community members are all welcome to join), weeded it, stuck some seeds in -which miraculously germinated – and have since grown into plants which are starting to bear the fruits of my labour (ok, that was bad). Currently I’m growing coriander, lettuce, zucchini, parsley, carrot, silverbeet, radish, eggplant, garlic and some tomatoes.
The multiplicity of the plants being grown represents the greatest strength of the garden – the diversity of its members. The number of nationalities represented in the garden is quite staggering and it is this intercultural aspect of the garden which I’ve come to enjoy the most.
The garden is a common interest between an array of people whose backgrounds could not be any more different. We share a lot of our produce. I’ve been given plants by other members (not to mention that for students of Macquarie Uni all seeds are free!) and often I’ve come back to my plot to find that someone has tended to my plot (I’m very much a beginner and I’m being well looked after). Community definitely appears to be the primary focus for this garden.
At a time where space to grow gardens is becoming more and more limited (especially in Sydney!) spaces like these are essential for not only the plot in which to grow but also a place in which to meet and share.