Saturday, 28 May 2011

At Friday night's meeting

At Friday night's meeting, in which over twenty people participated, we resolved to meet on every second Saturday of the month, from 10am - 12 noon, to continue to garden together on a more regular basis. In the summer months this would coincide with the Harvest Swapmeet.

Albert St garden (next to the library)

We also resolved to continue working on a plan for a permanent food system at Rea Lands Park, in the form of a low maintenance food forest, while continuing to grow raised-bed vegetables beside the library. Jill Berry has been reinstated as our contact in council, which is a positive step from the CEO, and bodes well for better relations between us.

Patrick spoke of the food forest model, as a longer term community resource, growing fruit and nut trees which will be mulched with underplantings of perennial vegetables, herbs and berries, a larger version of what Patrick, Meg and Zephyr created in Sydney last year:

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Today's story

Pic Adam Trafford
Today's front page story, from here.

Rea Lands Park protest
The Advocate
24 May, 2011 02:06 PM

DAYLESFORD residents held a protest on Thursday morning against the sale of one of the last public parks in Daylesford.

More than 40 people attended the peaceful protest at Rea Lands Park, which was gifted to the Daylesford community in the 1980s by long-term resident Betty Rea for specific use as a community park.

Patrick Jones, who organised Thursday's protest, said he believed Hepburn Shire Council was selling the park so the site could be used for a civic centre.

"Rea Lands Park should be left as a park out of respect for Betty. Legally, the council can probably sell in, but morally they shouldn't," Mr Jones said.

"This park is a great picnic place, the local kids play in it and mothers' groups use it as a meeting place."

Mr Jones hopes to hold talks with the Hepburn Shire Council about the possibility of re-establishing the community food garden from its temporary site near the Daylesford Library to Rea Lands Park.

Hepburn Shire Mayor Rod May said while the council was sympathetic to the community food gardeners' concerns about the park, he said their protest on Thursday was premature.

"The council has said it would look at disposing of poorly-utilised assets and the Rea Lands Park comes under that category. But at the council meeting on Tuesday, the council said it would leave the door open to consider the park for the community gardeners," Cr May said.

"There will be ongoing negotiations to see if the council finds the community garden compatible with its own direction for greater sustainability within the shire."

Friday, 20 May 2011

Thanks Jodie!

This screen grab is representative of how community is beginning to dig in. (Jodie and her family gifted top soil to the community garden at Albert street.)

The digital and microbial interplay...

Click for bigger.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

First peaceful protest (in honour of Betty Rea)

After we discovered council was thinking about selling Rea Lands Park, and that our questions about this were refused an airing at the last council meeting, we staged our first protest yesterday.

Dharma school students, who are studying Social Justice issues this term got to work making positive placards. They were all about the generosity of a past town elder who left us an incredible gift – land for public will.

The community and the media turned out with a glimpse from the sun. The message was simple – honour the late Betty Rea's gift to the community!

We would like to work with council to develop a food garden at Rea Lands Park, but first we need a guarantee that Betty Rea's generosity will be respected and celebrated.

!!! Rea Lands Park to be sold?

After we started working with Hepburn council, building relationships with council officers and councillors, we found out that other members of council seemed to be acting against us. Annoyed by this we wrote to the CEO of Hepburn Shire Council, Kaylene Connrick, asking 4 very specific questions. We asked that these questions be raised at the next council meeting, however Kaylene Conrick refused to read them on the grounds that they were embarrassing and insulting to council officers, effectively silencing us. So here they are, now available to the public [pls nb I have omitted council officers names, except for the CEOs]:

dear kaylene,

i write so as the following questions be considered and respectfully answered by council tonight at the ordinary meeting in creswick.

1. a fortnight ago two council officers met to discuss with the daylesford community food gardeners (dcfg) potential sites for a permanent community food garden. a third officer did not show at that meeting and sent no apologies. the upshot of our meeting with the first two officers was that rea lands park was the most suitable site for this community endeavour. the third officer then submitted a recommendation completely antithetical to this position with no community consultation. as this officer is a community development officer, why then was she so actively working against community interests?

2. what has been your role, as CEO, in swaying this recommendation, working against community interests, and in taking one of the sustainability officers [who we were forming good communications with] 'off the case', just when this community group were starting to engage with council? it seems that this is a purposeful sabotaging of relations, and a negation of officers who are trying to forge good relations in the community. can you please tell us why this evidently deliberate sabotaging has occurred?

3. dcfg is a growing group of social gardeners wanting to create positive responses to climate change and energy descent with no money required from council and our insurance covered by share (sustainable hepburn...). a large scale civic centre with new council offices which requires enormous amounts of energetic and economic inputs is not essential to the well-being of the people of the shire, nor does it go any way to build resilience against ecological and energetic crises. we believe rea lands park is being sold to fund such an unimportant and costly exercise. are you recommending that rea lands park be sold to fund the new civic centre or some other council project? what is more important than food, energy and water security in our shire?

4. rea lands park was gifted to the community for community use. this park's heritage lies with the rea family, particularly betty rea, who was the community benefactor. does council not believe that morally it has an obligation to honour this generous legacy from a past elder of the town?


on behalf of dcfg

First design session Rea Lands Park, Daylesford

As we can only garden at the Albert Street garden temporarily, we have started to look for a permanent site, working with council sustainabilty officer Jill Berry and infrastructure manager Peter Reeve.

We had a good scout through the town of Daylesford looking at available sites for permanent food production. We found Rea Lands Park. Perfect site. Deep volcanic soils, North facing, protected from the south, and a site gifted by a Daylesford elder to the community in the eighties for community use.

Here is a topographical map obtained from council that Patrick Jones has added to, drawing up the suggestions made by David Holmgren and the community after the first design session.

Click for bigger.

A second celebration

National Permaculture Day celebrations at the Daylesford Community Food Garden in Albert Street (next to the library).

This event was hosted by Daylesford Community Food Gardeners (DCFG) and Hepburn Relocalisation Network (HRN).

Thanks to our friends SHARE (Sustainable Hepburn Association), Daylesford CFA, Hepburn Council and local residents for their support!

Costa brings more love (to our first action)

Our first action