After many months of preparations, a community garden for Deakin’s Burwood campus was officially opened in March. Special guest Costa Georgiadis of ABC television’s Gardening Australia, joined Vice Chancellor Jane den Hollander, academic staff from the Health Nature and Sustainability Research Group and the Deakin Sustainable Food Movement in a celebration held at the garden.
The establishment of the community garden came about as a result of research undertaken by the Health Nature and Sustainability Research Group – ‘Greening Deakin, Greening Communities: Setting up university community gardens’. The research conducted an online survey and interviews around campus to investigate the opportunities and barriers for developing a community garden on Deakin University’s Burwood campus.
A student-led group, the Deakin Sustainable Food Movement grew from this research, and has had a key hand in the development of the garden in conjunction with academic and Facilities staff.
The site will form a place for teaching, learning and research, as well as short courses on growing, harvesting and preparing food – but importantly, it also forms an important space for relaxation, community, reflection and contact with nature.
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The health and wellbeing benefits of community gardens are numerous, from mental health to nutritional health. For individuals, they provide an increased engagement with nature and a sense of belonging within the broader community, providing new social networks and a sense of collaboration. The added bonus is access to affordable fresh fruit and vegetables.
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