Coffs Harbour Regional Community Garden
Where: Combine Street (close to where it intersects with Pitt St.)
Coffs Harbour Community Garden was established just over a decade ago. Phil, the president, has been there from the beginning. He was a little dubious of the site to start off with. “All I could see was the stormwater drain, all the mosquitos. Then Costa (famed host of Gardening Australia) turned up. He said, ‘What do you reckon? How amazing’s this!’ He could see it’s potential”.
In the years since it’s grown into an oasis, tucked away in a suburban street. Phil takes me for a walk through the food forest – so diverse that it feels like a botanic garden. Bananas, Guava, Black Sapote. The food forest, and the garden more broadly, is inspired by Permaculture design and the principles of earth care, people care, fair share. One example of this is the welcoming of recently settled refugees. They are encouraged to come and grow food from their homelands. In a plot tended by four African families are crops like pigeon pea and cassava – hardy and nutritious, but not often found in the local supermarket. A more recent project is the creation of a seed bank that will allow locally adapted, heirloom seeds to be passed on to generations of gardeners to come.
I speak to a volunteer who’s been gardening for sixty years. She’d love for more people to get involved, to come and experience the joys of putting their hands in the soil. “It’s wonderful. I love being here. When you improve the soil a little bit, the plants come up absolutely gorgeous. Just takes a little bit of love. Everything just takes a little bit of love”.
Words by Mel Hunter.
Contact Coffs Community Garden