Funds raised from 2022 Edible Garden Trail heads back to our local community

Young people using forks in a raised garden bed

Following the success of of the 2022 Central Coast Edible Garden Trail, funds raised through ticket sales are now directly benefiting the Coast’s Community Gardens and people living with a disability.

Organisers said “In terms of community impact the 2022 Central Coast Edible Garden Trail has been a huge success and after putting some funds aside for the 2023 Trail, we have over $6000 available to invest back into community projects.

Our aim to help community gardens and disadvantaged young people on the coast is being realised. As a project of Permaculture Central Coast we’ve been able to draw on a wealth of knowledge and a healthy network to create an outreach program as well as give a direct donation to each community garden.

The outreach program has been designed by Sue Bradley of In8lygood and SWAMP Central Coast. By building authentic relationships across multiple organisations, the program supports community gardens and disadvantaged young people, in this case, people living with a disability, by providing engaging workshops.

Collaboration has been key with 15 organisations involved including the Central Coast Edible Garden Trail, Permaculture Central Coast, 9 community gardens, You Connect, Options Disability, and Synergy Permaculture.

Over 9 sessions in 9 community gardens, permaculture teachers Kerrie Anderson and Matt Silavant will facilitate hands on workshops for You Connect and Options Disability participants.

The first session held on Tuesday 2nd May took place at Woy Woy Peninsula Community Garden. During the session participants took a hands on approach building hugelkultur beds. A hugelkultur bed is a gardening technique used to create raised beds using logs, branches and other woody material. Starting with layers of wooden logs, then large sticks and branches then smaller sticks, participants layered mushroom compost, coffee grounds donated by local cafes, beautiful chunky compost made on site by the wonderful community garden volunteers, and finally finished off with finely sieved compost to create a nutrient rich and free draining growing medium which was planted out with herbs and edible flowers.

It was an engaging and lively session with lots of laughs and smiles as a diverse group of people built a productive growing space. During a mid-session tea break, we enjoyed freshly squeezed guava juice made from guavas harvested in the community garden, juiced by a volunteer and brought back to the garden to share.

Kerrie Anderson, Facilitator

Participants commented that the skills and techniques they had learned could now be applied in their own gardens, especially as the hugelkultur beds have the benefit of requiring less soil to establish.

Hugelkultur workshop at Woy Woy Peninsula Community Garden in May 2023

The second session held at Wyoming Eco Garden on Tuesday 9th May was another wonderful experience. Facilitator, Matt Silavant commented:

We had a great couple of hours refuelling a pre-existing raised bed, which was recently harvested with the no-dig gardening style. The participants had great fun joking and laughing whilst they learnt the ins and outs of preparing and setting up a no dig garden, getting their gloved hands dirty throughout the workshop.

No blood or tears were shed but a good time was shared!

With 7 more sessions to run across the coast over the next 8 weeks, Kerrie and Matt will be sharing more exciting skills and permaculture techniques.

Permaculture Central Coast is committed to caring for the earth, caring for people, and the fair share of resources. We are delighted to support this program which helps the participants connect with our environment and each other. The Edible Garden Trail and Permaculture Central Coast are not just about growing food but also about growing community and we are looking forward to seeing what other initiatives we can grow together next year. I hope you can join us.

Clara Peto, President of Permaculture Central Coast.

About the organisations involved:

The Woy Woy Peninsula Community Garden run by PEG at 85 Moana St, Woy Woy is a
beautiful place to share friendship and knowledge about organic gardening and food growing. The garden has regular working bees every Thursday, plus the second Saturday and last Sunday of each month, all starting at 8.30am. All welcome.

You Connect is a not-for-profit organisation that supports people living with a disability, have complex behaviours and/or have mental health diagnosis that impact their day-to-day functioning.

Options Disability Support offers flexible and structured, living, work, social and recreational supports for adults with a disability.

Synergy Permaculture is run by Kerrie Anderson who is a Permaculture and Meditation Teacher and is passionate about influencing others to make informed choices for a more sustainable future.

Matt Silavant is a site supervisor at Options Disability, focusing on connecting with community and nature to smash NDIS and personal goals.

Permaculture Central Coast are an enthusiastic group of volunteers that work together to
encourage more people on the NSW Central Coast to learn, practice and teach permaculture. We want to inspire people everywhere to get more permaculture happening on the ground.

The Central Coast Edible Garden Trail is a project of Permaculture Central Coast and is a
ticketed, self-guided weekend event in gardens on the NSW Central Coast. The 2023 event will be held over the weekend of 21 + 22 October 2023.

Other community gardens involved in the program include Wyoming Eco Garden, Wyong
Community Garden, Narara Eco Village, SWAMP Central Coast, Bateau Bay Community
Garden, Kariong Eco Garden, East Gosford Community Garden and Kincumber Eco Garden.