Halcro Street Community Garden

Design Feature
Type of Project
Local Government Initiative
State
Queensland
Location
Regional

The Halcro Street Community Garden was created in 2011 to promote healthy food behaviours and reduce social isolation among a number of at-risk target groups in the Hervey Bay area, including seniors, people with a disability, low-income earners and those who are new to Hervey Bay. The garden is located adjacent to the Halcro Street Community Centre, in the middle of existing and new residential estates.

A community garden and so much more

In 2011, Fraser Coast Regional Council proposed the development of a community garden in the Hervey Bay area, which was to be funded through the Healthy Communities Initiative. In 2012, the concept was advertised, and a public meeting was held to register interest in creating a garden alongside the existing Halcro Street Community Centre. 

The response to this proposal was positive, and an organising committee was subsequently established. The committee comprised local interested individuals, representatives from community-based organisations and the Council.  Prior to the opening of the community garden, consultations with the public, adjacent residents, the Fraser Coast Regional Council, media and local business occurred. These discussions informed an agreed strategy to implement the project. 

Halcro Street Community Garden is a place where people come together to grow and share produce, gardening knowledge, stories and experience.
Halcro Street Community Garden is a place where people come together to grow and share produce, gardening knowledge, stories and experience.

The development stage of the project required council consultation to ensure that all aspects of the garden met legal and statutory requirements. Soil testing was additionally required on the site. An outdoor designer was employed to produce a proposal of the garden layout that Fraser Coast Regional Council later implemented. Links were also made with a local employment training program who agreed to carry out some of the construction such as the paving and building of garden beds.

Residents work collaboratively with their neighbours, local government, and local businesses towards a common goal, thereby creating a network of social support from a diverse group of community members. 
Residents work collaboratively with their neighbours, local government, and local businesses towards a common goal, thereby creating a network of social support from a diverse group of community members. 

By 2013, the organising committee was able to officially open the Halcro Street Community Garden to the public. An informal working group maintains the garden and works in conjunction with the Fraser Coast Regional Council to oversee its day-to-day operations. The volunteers offer their knowledge, expertise, skill and time to take care of the hands-on components whilst the council employees assist with the associated paperwork and finances. 

The garden offers a two-pronged approach to community engagement via the provision of plots for hire by individuals and organisations to grow their own produce, as well as the delivery of demonstrative garden projects by volunteers. 

By providing a number of at-risk groups with plots within walking distance of their homes, the garden facilitates chance encounters between residents and fosters a sense of community ownership. 

The mixed-use, community facility additionally supports a healthy built food environment through opportunities to:

  • Learn gardening skills to produce fresh fruit, herbs and vegetables at home.
  • Participate in activities that improve knowledge of nutritious foods.
  • Attend gardening and nutrition information sessions which are provided in conjunction with key stakeholders in food and nutrition. 

Furthermore, produce grown from the community garden is often donated to local charities that coordinate food programs to the local community, or shared with garden members and Community Centre patrons. This promotes a social connectiveness and sense of place for plot owners, and reduces the concern of social isolation within at-risk groups.   

Evaluation processes include formal and informal processes carried out through discussion with involved stakeholders.

Project Team

  • Fraser Coast Regional Council – Healthy Communities Lifestyle program
  • Fraser Coast Regional Council – Seniors in Focus project
  • Fraser Coast Regional Council – Councilors 
  • Transition Towns Hervey Bay
  • Volunteers
  • Local Businesses
  • EPIC Employment Services
  • Local Community-based and Disability Organisations

Project Cost

  • Set-up cost $75,000. On-going costs are covered by plot hire and fundraising.
     

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