Local Community Digs “Beginning Food Gardening” Workshops

By Alexia Thomson & Karen Hewitt

2020 has been a year of surprises – including a global gardening boom as COVID-19 made visible the fragility of our food supply systems. Many have turned to growing food to provide for our families, reduce our food miles and to boost mental health after far too many online meetings.

But what about those who have little or no topsoil, destructive pets, are renting or less mobile? Raised beds are a great option to make food gardening more accessible, and in order to promote them and begin fostering food security in the region, Transition Tamar (in conjunction with the West Tamar Council and in partnership with Tamar NRM) held two free workshops at the end of October and mid-November down at Windsor Community Gardens in Riverside to demonstrate the process of building raised beds and which easy-care seedlings participants could start their food-growing journey with.

Transition Tamar are part of the global Transition Network and a local group of Permaculture Tasmania, and only began organising early this year to work towards increasing community awareness and resilience in the face of climate change, biodiversity loss and the problems that are associated with them.

The community group will eventually have four showcase teaching beds down at the Windsor Community Gardens – the new beds (collaboratively designed, built and filled in conjunction with the West Tamar Council), are an affordable model for the home gardener to reproduce, whilst also complementing the design of existing pre-fabricated beds onsite.

These first two workshops looked at some of the many value-for-money and simple sleeper-bed designs, what soil mix to fill beds with and which easy-to-grow foods a beginner food gardener was pretty much guaranteed success with. Along with how to take care of plants going forward, the workshops were designed to be “one-stop shops“ to support householders starting on reaping the many benefits of growing their favourite foods and savouring the sweet taste of home-grown gardening success.

Early in the New Year, workshops demonstrating Wicking Bed construction and gardening for the summer months will run, to hopefully be followed up in Autumn with some preserving and/or mushroom growing workshops.

You can follow Transition Tamar’s Facebook page to be kept up to date with all their events, as they begin to realise their Vision for “Launceston and the Tamar Valley region to become a connected & resilient community through sustainable living, localised food production, circular economy and regenerative development.