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Inverell Community Planting Bees

What if we could strengthen our community by planting plants together?

Yaama (Hello). Nhalay baa muluumay (Here is a place of plants) - Gamilaraay language

Community Planting Bees is an Inverell Community Gardens project, in a partnership between GWYMAC Landcare and Campfire Coop, and funded by the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) through it’s Tackling Tough Times Together program.

It is part of a two year Move & Grow project strengthening community whilst relocating the Community Gardens. It’s a passion project of Campfire member Jane O’Brien and now a passion project for all of us!

There will be 6 Planting Bees in all, to help create new gardens and shade at the new site. COVID and other shifts and changes have impacted the project. We’ve adapted and built momentum.

A team of volunteers are working with Campfire hosts to invite local people from diverse backgrounds. It’s joyful work, and already there are new friendships forming, and people are connecting with each other and nature.

Seventy people of all ages joined the first planting bee in NAIDOC week, July 2021, all welcomed to Gamilaraay country with a smoking ceremony by Uncle Kelvin Brown. Together we planted 66 indigenous Sheoaks and 3 Grass trees ‘Dhalan’. This was a great way to share our care for country.

The spirit continued when new people joined the second planting bee in late July, planting 36 Kurrajongs, and setting up a watering system.

We use Circle practice to meet each other at the start of each day, before getting into work and fun, and we ‘check out’ at the end. Here’s some of what people shared at the end of each day.

  • Enjoyed the fresh air and kids energy

  • Thoroughly exhausted in a very good way, energised for the future, renewed purpose

  • Great coming out in the sun, a break from a tough year, part of a group, got to meet new people

  • Great to get to plant a tree for the future

  • Grateful for people that have put this together, their design and vision and help

  • Feeling really grateful that here are people you can turn to, all from different places being a community together

  • Connectedness, I’m part of something people, country and land, more than happy, in harmony at the same time

  • Emotional - we moved from individuals to the collective: Uncle Kelvin Brown

Yalu (farewell)

In the words of ...

Lovely, especially with the kids. I teach Aboriginal language and had an opportunity to talk with the kids about NAIDOC week and care for country.

Tanya Keenan

I was encapsulated by that parcel of land where we were today. I blocked out the rest of the world.

Rowan O’Brien

More ...

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