Move & Grow Inverell Community Gardens

How can we work together to create a flourishing Inverell Community Gardens for the wellbeing of all?

This bold project highlights the kind of long term work we are passionate about. Campfire member Jane O’Brien has been an active member of the Inverell Community Gardens since 2012 - with a deep passion for accessible and regenerative food systems, and access to healthy food for all. 


When the well-established Gardens needed to relocate to make way for a road, it became clear this was going to be a big project for a small committed group of Gardens members. Campfire Coop has partnered with GWYMAC Landcare to hold this two year project.


Our purpose is to create and enable the conditions for a new and flourishing Community Gardens, and a connected and mentally healthy Inverell community.  With funding from Hunter New England and Central Coast PHN, Inverell Shire Council, and FRRR Tackling Tough Times and many more, this is about infrastructure - drainage, road access, levelling, sewerage, electricity, toilets, shade - and a project to recreate the Gardens.


Anyone who has attempted to move a garden bed in their backyard may have a small sense of what it would take to recreate two acres of beds for an active Market Garden and community plots, compost, chook run and much more. All of this requires coordination, organisation and mobilisation on a large and sustained scale.


All of that is important. However our passion for the project came in the invitation to build community connection, shared leadership capabilities and strengthen individual and community resilience while moving the Gardens. What an opportunity to practice how we are together, while getting our hands dirty - literally!


We are learning so much about communities, how people work together and organise, how to deal with conflict that inevitably arises, and how to respond and adapt to change in complex times - Covid has given us great experience and practice in that!


There is a central team, the Gardens Committee, and many other smaller teams that are fit for purpose, a way of organising and getting things done, and practising collaboration.

So far we’ve co-designed and hosted a community conversation, project meetings, and hosted some online Groundwork training, to establish the project - purpose, principles, people and practices - how we’ll get our work done, and build relationships while we’re doing it. Jane and the Gardens teams are central to this work, and Campfire has supported with coaching, mentoring and skill development as needed and asked for, as well as holding the story of this project, to share and hopefully inspire others.


Longer term, we are building capacity to host circles, for people to come together in connection. A permanent outdoor space for this, a Sanctuary Circle, is part of the plans for the new Gardens.

The move to the new site continues, at the speed of Covid, the weather, and life. Learn more about the Community Planting Bees to create the new site here.


In the words of ...


Participants in the Community Conversation, February 2020

  • What a rich community - in resources, connection, energy and generosity!

  • What we’ve been able to achieve has been inspirational

  • I don’t want to leave. I feel really heartened!

  • Energised! I have depression, anxiety and PTSD and it’s hard to get out of bed some days. This is giving me a new reason to get out of bed in the morning.

  • Enlightened - a different way of working harnessing what we each offer. I imagine great things will come.

  • Looking forward - what a great day!

  • Deep appreciation for an already connected and healthy Inverell community - What’s possible if you do work together?


More ...


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