I spent Wednesday afternoon being conducted around the PCYC community garden(s) at Sandgate/Deagon.
There are in fact two gardens:
- A 'community garden' next to the PCYC (Police Youth-Citizens Youth Club) --see map -- that houses a mix of allotments both communal and (very cheaply) rented.
- A 'market' garden in the middle of the next door racecourse and horse training track.
On hand -- as you'd expect --plenty of horse poo.
With a lot of effort from locals in the 4017 postcode, the enterprise seems very productive and is well serviced by essential inputs like irrigation and fertilizers, mulches and tools. Already the horticultural mix is supplying weekly local footpath produce stalls as well as servicing nearby food outlets with extremely fresh 'no sprays' vegetables.
As urban farming goes this is a serious project, blessed with the happenstance of space, established community networks, a engaged PCYC, the support of Queensland Racing...and manure.
Since I've been long time active in community arts in the locale through my work with Artrageous Community Arts (my wife still serves as president there) and I've known and worked with my guide for the day out, Mike Crook, for some time -- I am familiar with the back story to this stunning urban farming achievement.
The initial green thumbery began at the backyard of the proactive local community centre -- SANDBAG -- before consolidating the PCYC partnership and space. The 'market garden' in the middle of the racecourse was a later initiative, having begun only in July, 2013.
Today these spaces serve as a hub for networks and functions -- the local high school, recently arrived refugees, kids under court orders, and, of course, keen neighborhood gardeners. The gardens' impetus is a sharp and ongoing reminder that our food is being held hostage to alienating takeaway and industrial farming and serves to remind us what collective community action can achieve..