How many community gardens are there in the City of Marion?
There are currently three established community gardens on Council land and one that is getting started. They are:
- Glandore Community Garden - managed by Glandore Neighbourhood Centre.
- Trott Park Community Garden - adjacent to Trott Park Neighbourhood Centre and managed by an incorporated community group.
- Marino Community Garden - managed by an incorporated community group.
- Oliphant Avenue Community Garden - an emerging community garden that will be a partnership approach between Council and a community group. The first stage will be a community orchard.
There are also a small number of community gardens and community gardening projects occurring on private land, usually in churches or schools. The main community gardens on private land that Council has been liaising with in recent years are:
- Clovelly Park Community Garden (on Department of Education land and managed by a community group)
- MarionLIFE Community Garden (on church land and managed by MarionLIFE Church).
What financial support do we currently provide to community gardens?
At present new community garden groups are expected to apply for community grants to fund community gardens. This is time-consuming process and means that it takes much longer for community gardens to get off the ground. In recent years Council has provided some in-kind support to groups starting community gardens on an ad hoc basis for things like site levelling the and mulch. However, community groups are required to cover the majority of the costs and labour for their garden. This is huge challenge for a newly established community group with limited capacity to raise funds.
How many community garden applications do we receive?
At present Council receives an application for a new community garden every few years. There is considerable community interest in community gardening and many enquiries about starting new community gardens. However, few of these enquiries translate into applications because individuals or groups are deterred once they realise the cost and amount of work involved.
Once established, community gardens tend to attract ample members and volunteers to share the workload. However, in the establishment phase of a community garden, the work tends to fall to a small number of committed volunteers.
What are benefits of offering additional funding to support groups in setting up new community gardens?
Community gardens are a significant community asset. They provide a range of social, cultural and environmental community benefits and are useful sites for building community connections. If Council were to provide more upfront financial support for community gardens to get off the ground, it is expected that Council would receive more community garden applications. It would also significantly reduce the financial and administrative burden on community groups during the establishment phase for new community gardens.
How much does it cost to start a new community garden?
The costs to start a new community garden vary significantly depending on the scale and type of garden. It is estimated that new community gardens cost between $10,000 and $50,000 to set up. This is usually spent over multiple years.
The typical costs for starting a new community garden are:
- incorporation fees and public liability insurance
- infrastructure such as garden beds, paving, fencing
- facilities such as shelter, seating, toilet, kitchen and meeting space
- garden materials such as soil, plants, fertilisers, compost, mulch
- irrigation and/or rainwater tanks
- garden tools and equipment
- site construction works e.g. levelling the ground
- storage shed for equipment and tools
- garden signage
Do community gardens pay for water?
According to the current Community Gardens Policy, community garden groups are required to pay for the water they use. It is expected that the community group will raise funds to cover water costs. However, the reality is that these costs are not currently being passed on to groups. If Council did pass these costs on it would be a significant financial burden for small community gardening groups with limited capacity to raise funds. The initial cost to Council is approximately $1000 to set up a separate water metre for a community garden as well as the ongoing administrative costs.
Other Councils such as the City of Charles Sturt and the City of Adelaide do not charge community garden groups for water use. These Councils have found that small community gardens generally use minimal water relative other Council parks and reserves.
What are the current licensing arrangements for community gardens?
Community groups must be incorporated and obtain a license to use Council land for a community garden. The annual license fee for community gardens is $300. This is usually waived for the first two years and then groups are expected to pay this on an ongoing basis. This is a significant amount for a small community group with limited fundraising capacity.