Community Garden for Yinnar and District – June. 2011

An exciting community project has been bubbling away at Yinnar since the beginning of this year – the creation of a Community Garden.

The Yinnar & District Community Association (YDCA) have successfully secured funding for the garden through the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust Community Based Garden Project.  This project aims to assist communities affected by the 2009 Victorian bushfires to rebuild and regenerate through gardening activities.  The Yinnar community are working closely with Sustainable Gardening Australia (SGA), the project managers, to establish this garden, not just for Yinnar but for all residents of the wider district.

The garden location is planned for the area of land at the rear of Art Resource Collective (ARC) Yinnar who are very supportive of the project.  They hope that an area for growing pigment plants for artists and a small performing arts space will be incorporated into the final garden design.

Latrobe City Council (LCC) has also lent their support to the project and is assisting the community to obtain a licence for the land from Department of Sustainability & Environment (DSE.)

Sustainable Gardening Australia’s Project Manager, Elaine Shallue says, “This project is unique in that from the very beginning we are working to deliver on the community’s vision for the garden.  We have held a number of community forums over the past few months so that we can get a real sense of what this garden should be.  Whilst it will have a strong focus on produce gardening, it will also reflect the strong artistic nature of the community and their love of the indigenous flora and fauna of the area.”  The ultimate garden design will reflect these values.

Four community gardens will be created under the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust Community Garden Project.  In addition to Yinnar, other gardens will be established in Jindivick, near Neerim South, Toolangi in the Kinglake Ranges and Beechworth in north eastern Victoria.

Whilst the project budget covers all of the infrastructure requirements for the garden, the community is expected to provide volunteers to help with building the garden.  Catheryn Thompson has been appointed the local garden facilitator to ensure that the garden is supported through its first stages.

An important element of this garden is that the garden plots will be communal and that other community groups will be encouraged to come and participate in the garden and grow what they want.  You don’t have to be an expert gardener to participate.

The garden will also provide regular FREE workshops on the first Sunday of every month, starting with a Sustainable Gardening Design workshop on June 5th, World Environment Day.  This workshop covers all elements of sustainable design for the home garden and will be run by Wendy Clarke of Dirtscape Dreaming.  Wendy is and award winning designer who loves sharing her extensive knowledge and experience of design with others in a practical and positive way.  Wendy specialises in inspiring others to create ‘special places for people to dream’.

All workshops will be held in the SwitchRoom ARC Yinnar and will run from 1.30 – 3.30pm. Other workshops for 2011 are:

Sun, Jul 3rd – Fruit Tree Selection & Care

Sun, Aug 7th – Organic Pest Control

Sun, Sept 4th – Growing Summer Vegetables

Sun, Oct 2nd – Composting & Worm Farms

Sun, Nov 6th – Effective Garden Irrigation

Sun, Dec 4th – Backyard Biodiversity

For further information on the Yinnar & District Community Garden, please contact Catheryn Thompson, Yinnar & District Community Garden Facilitator on  0435 048 153 or email

Recently, a “Community Garden Tour” was conducted to visit 3 community gardens that have been established at Ringwood, Nunawading and the Ashburton Permaculture Garden where we met up with members of the Jindivick community garden. Each garden had its own style, however the Permaculture garden, although the newest, was the group favourite.

Catheryn Thompson
Yinnar & District
Community Garden Facilitator
0435 048 153