Camperdown community garden flourishes

Community stories: 28 February 2020

The Camperdown Community Garden was originally established in 2009. Through research and analysis conducted in 2017, it was identified that the Camperdown Community Garden had not been functioning in a way that allows this community asset to fulfill the space’s academically established benefits like “enhancing the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being necessary to build healthy and socially sustainable communities.” Considerable work in rebuilding the management and physical structure of the garden was required to address this. 

Much of the local rural area, in Victoria’s south-west, supports the dairy industry which has been impacted by the drought. As a result, the Camperdown & District Community House was seeing an increase in demand for emergency food relief and social support services. Camperdown is a strong community however, the impact of mental health issues, social isolation and drug and alcohol abuse has significant impact on social cohesion and health and wellbeing.

As part of a revamp, the Gardiner Dairy Foundation’s Working in Dairy Communities Small Grant allowed the Camperdown & District Community House to vastly improve the community garden space.

Four new above ground garden beds were designed, built and installed, with additional soil and compost to replenish depleted existing beds. A new accessible gravel path at rear of garden and around the new accessible garden beds was also added.

New garden guidelines and signage was also implemented, allowing individual gardeners to communicate and connect with the broader community. Using the boards, for example, to communicate what they are currently planting, or why they are planting what they are planting, when the produce will be ready to harvest, or other useful and educational information. 

New tools were also purchased that will be usable by people of diverse abilities.

“A friendly and inclusive community / stronger social fabric” has been identified as the primary outcome achieved from this project, with the following being the main reasons why this was identified as the primary outcome, and what we believe the most successful elements of the project to be.

This project was a tremendous success and a delight for everyone who participated in the process.