New policy to help locals set up community gardens
  • Thursday 03 February 2011

Sunshine Coast residents will soon have the support needed to plan and establish places where people can come together to grow fresh food, to learn, relax and make new friends.

Sunshine Coast Council today endorsed the Draft Community Gardens Policy and Draft Community Gardens Guidelines to provide a clear framework in which to operate and make decisions about the establishment and management of community gardens.

Community Policy and Programs Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay said the Draft Community Gardens Policy articulates council’s commitment to establishing community gardens and provides guidance towards appropriate site selection.

"With an increasing number of groups wishing to establish community gardens, together with increasing demands for the use of council owned or controlled land, council has a significant role in ensuring there is effective planning and establishment of community gardens," Cr McKay said.

"The Draft Community Gardens Policy and Draft Community Gardens Guidelines will ensure a consistent, equitable and transparent approach to processing all community gardens enquiries and appropriate support is provided to community groups towards setting up suitably placed gardens."

The draft policy articulates council’s commitment to managing community garden enquiries through an "Enquiry Management Framework" and provides guidance towards appropriate site selection through the "Community Garden Site Selection Criteria".

The Enquiry Management Framework outlines a straight-forward process to handle enquiries and process community interest relating to the potential establishment of a community garden on council owned or managed land.

The Draft Community Garden Site Selection Criteria provides both council staff and the community with strong considerations for initial site selection to ensure community members are directed towards the most appropriate sites for potential community garden development.

Cr McKay said community gardens were places for learning and sharing about sustainable living practices, and for community building through shared activities.

"Community gardens are unique forms of public open spaces which are managed by the community primarily for the production of food and to contribute to the development of a sustainable urban environment," she said.

"Community gardening is seen as a valuable recreational activity that contributes to the health and wellbeing of the wider community and provides a wide range of environmental, social and educational benefits."

Following today’s endorsement of the Draft Community Gardens Policy and Draft Community Gardens Guidelines, a trial implementation will be undertaken for further assessment.