June 12 - 18, 2016: Issue 267

Peninsula Community Gardens: Woolcott Reserve Newport

Peninsula Community Gardens: Woolcott Reserve, Newport (Associated with Council)

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/newportcg

A community garden is any piece of land gardened by a group of people, utilising either individual or shared plots on private or public land. Community gardens provide fresh products and plants as well as contributing to a sense of community and connection to the environment and an opportunity for satisfying labor and neighborhood improvement. They are publicly functioning in terms of ownership, access, and management, as well as typically owned in trust by local governments or not for profit associations.

The health benefits of being outdoors and engaging in physical activity are well known. Being able to pick fresh herbs from the garden to add to a salad, or see tomatoes grow, or, in season, harvest a nice ripe pumpkin for soups, pies and roasted vegetables, even while in a suburban setting, means the freshest produce available is at your fingertips - in fact, your hands have made this harvest a reality.

In late July 2015 the former Pittwater Council approved for exhibition the draft Community Gardens Policy and nominated Woolcott Park, Woolcott St. Newport (off Gladstone St.) as a potential site. 

At the Council Meeting of Monday 2 November, 2015, reiterating having always supported establishing community gardens in Pittwater, Woolcott Reserve was formally adopted for use as a community garden at the meeting. Council put aside compost bins, a worm form and a little boat for the garden.  It is hoped that this will be one of many established throughout the area.

The Woollcott reserve group wished to fill the boat with herbs to share with the local residents and began with a cake stall to raise funds in order to pay for the materials and soil to establish raised garden beds.  In January 2016 they did just this. 

Now the group wishes to let more people in Newport know they are welcome to join in. If you haven't grown up with a Kitchen Garden outside your door, this is your chance to be part of one.

This week we share a small insight into 'growing community' - quite literally!

What is a community garden and what are the benefits?

A Community garden is defined by the Australian City Farms and Community Gardens Network as ‘an area of shared land where people come together to cultivate fresh food, to learn, relax and to meet new friends’.

The design, development and management of community gardens in Pittwater is subject to the Pittwater Community Garden Guidelines and will be funded by the community garden members.  While the community gardens will take up an area of land within the parks, the parks will remain open for everyone to visit and enjoy.

Why and when was the Newport Community Garden formed?

The Newport Community Garden group came about after local resident and founder/CEO of 1 Million Women, Natalie Isaacs held a 'Recipe for Change’ afternoon tea at her home to get local women thinking about how we could make small changes to live more sustainably. We jointly came up with the idea of a community garden and formed a group to start looking at possible sites. Active local resident Selena Weber had already been doing some work with Council and together we submitted several sites to be considered. 

After Pittwater Council’s survey and then draft plan for 'Public Space and Recreation’ was released it became clear that there was a lot of support for a Community Garden. Pittwater Council organised a residents meeting in 2014 and Woolcott Reserve was identified as the first site, hopefully the first of many to be established around Newport.

What services does it provide?

Although still in its infancy, the garden provides a communal space for residents to meet, converse, garden, grow, build, plan and eventually to harvest and eat the vegetables and herbs! All local residents are invited to bring their compost to local bins and worm farms. We have applied for a grant to build a shed for storage and seating.

Whom may apply to use these services – members?

Any local resident can become a member. All members of the community are welcome to come and enjoy the gardens as they develop and expand.

Where is the Newport Community Garden?

The garden is at Woolcott Reserve just off Gladstone street, near the heart of Newport village.

What are the hours for meetings and work parties?

The last Sunday of each month, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Are there any plans to develop other services?

We currently have two high school students taking part in their Duke of Edinburgh who volunteer at the gardens. They are currently in the process of preparing notices about composting.

We hope to be able to establish compost days and compost bins for the units surrounding the reserve which will be able to contribute towards the sustainable and recycling nature of the garden and what’s grown there.

At a recent meeting we also discussed having Pickling and Jam making days during the cooler months. We’ll have more details on this soon.

What are you growing in the Woolcott Reserve, Newport Peninsula Community Garden ?

At present we are growing lettuce, rocket, pumpkins, beans and herbs - with more to come.

How/whom should people contact if they want to get involved in the Newport Community Garden ?

President:  Samantha Tubridy peninsulacommunitygardens@outlook.com or Treasurer: Selena Weber selenawebber@hotmail.com or Jude Knottjude.knott@me.com

Starting Your Own Community Garden

Community gardening is growing in popularity.  Most areas in Sydney now support community gardens.  Community gardens and permaculture are part of a global shift towards sustainable lifestyles and development.  Some of the benefits of community gardening include:


 - Provide fresh, organic and nutritious herbs and vegetables or flowers.

 - As an excellent form of physical activity, building core muscle strength.


- Provide places for people to meet and make new friends.

- As places where people can work together with a common purpose, and develop new skills.

- Provide a sense of community and belonging.


- Bring diversity of landscape types to parks that are generally mown grass.

- Reinvigorate open spaces with new purpose and activities.

If you are interested in joining an existing group or establishing an additional group, please contact us via:

• Write to:  The Manager, Pittwater Council, Community Garden Proposal, P.O. Box 882, Mona Vale  NSW  1660          

• Email: pittwater_council@pittwater.nsw.gov.au