WORKS START TO BUILD COLLINGWOOD CHILDRENS FARM GARDENS FOR THE WHOLE COMMUNITY

Collingwood Children’s Farm Community Garden update 15/02/2022

The much-loved Collingwood Children’s Farm Community Gardens will be redesigned with the new  gardens providing an accessible and safe space for everyone. 

General Manager of Collingwood Children’s Farm, Ms Conor Hickey acknowledged community concern  about the decision to recreate the gardens following a Worksafe notice late last year.  

“We understand some of the existing community gardeners are disappointed with this outcome; but these decisions have been led by the need to ensure community safety and that the site is accessible to  all,” Ms Hickey said.  

WorkSafe issued a notice last year instructing the farm to remediate the existing gardens by 15 March  2022 as the land was not accessible or safe and the structures in the gardens had become hazardous. 

Work to remediate the gardens has begun – with horticultural contractors onsite to recover items that  plot holders have asked to be retrieved. Consultation on the design of the new gardens has also begun  and the farm encourages all members of the community – including plot holders – to get involved. 

Any inorganic and organic materials will be recycled where possible. The site will then be graded,  reinstating the existing and natural slope of the land and a safe working gradient will be created for  future works to be undertaken.  

It is important to note that the works are restricted to the existing community gardens area of the Farm.  The rest of the farm will continue to operate and is open for visitors and community groups. 

“As the population and density of the area grows and becomes more diverse, it is vital that everyone  who wants to be involved in community gardening has a place to go and a community that will embrace  them,” Ms Hickey said. 

“So many people in our area don’t even have a balcony, let alone a backyard! We don’t want to be running decades long waiting lists for plots anymore, we want people to get involved now, especially – in line with our mission and purpose – children, people with disability, seniors, and those in our  community who are experiencing adversity. 

“This is a community space, and we want it to be safe, accessible and inclusive for everyone in our  community. 

“This will still be a working farm, not a corporate space as suggested by some stakeholders. Following  the design of a new community garden with stakeholders input, we can’t wait to welcome the public to  visit us, experience a real working farm and get their hands dirty!” 

Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio said the Andrews Labor  Government had allocated $860,000 to the committee of management to redesign and rebuild the  gardens to be a safe and accessible place for everyone.  

“This is an opportunity to redesign the gardens with the whole community in mind and comes from a  need to ensure accessibility and community safety,” Minister D’Ambrosio said. 

All members of the community are invited to help design the new community gardens. To get involved in the consultations, register your interest at https://farm.org.au/get-involved/community-gardens/ 

COMMUNITY AT THE HEART OF REVITALISED COMMUNITY GARDENS

Collingwood Children’s Farm Community Garden update 09/02/2022

The Collingwood Children’s Farm community gardens will undergo the first large-scale investment and refresh since they were established more than 40 years ago. 
 
The design brief for the revitalised community gardens seeks to maximise the Farm’s core and original purpose:  To create a beautiful, productive food growing space that maximises safe access and participation at the site for children and vulnerable communities, in line with the Farm’s overarching aims. 
 
The Farm was established to drive social inclusion for children and disadvantaged persons. A wide range of programs operated by the Farm have been transformative in the lives of thousands of members of vulnerable communities, including at-risk youth, people with disability, seniors and women and children who have experienced family violence. 
 
As the designated land managers, the Collingwood Children’s Farm is committed to ensuring that children and disadvantaged people have full access to a rustic community working farm that provides diverse training programs, opportunities for therapeutic horticulture and a connection to the land in an inner city setting. 
 
The Farm is therefore committed to ensuring the community gardens are safe, accessible and inclusive; and are excited to begin consultations with the existing community gardeners and the wider community to ensure the gardens are truly a place for the whole community. 
 
The Farm’s decision to refresh the gardens has arisen from the need to ensure community safety by clearing the current community gardens which have been deemed unsafe by Worksafe.  
 
The Collingwood Children’s Farm understands that some of the community gardeners may be disappointed that WorkSafe has issued a notice resulting in the clearance of the existing gardens, however we hope that their passion for the space is carried over into helping with the design and refresh of the new community gardens through the consultation process. 
 
A draft design has been produced to illustrate what a refreshed community gardens could look like. The final design will be informed by community consultation and will be a welcoming space for people of all abilities, including children, to garden communally. 
 
The refreshed community gardens will include a safe, productive space for the current community gardeners to continue to share their expertise and passion for gardening with the whole community. 
 
Works to clear the existing site will commence on 14 February 2022, and the garden refresh project will begin following community consultation. 
 
The Collingwood Children’s Farm Committee of Management thanks the Victorian Government for its ongoing support and commitment to renewal of the community gardens site.