Community gardens

Community gardens are places where people grow food, create habitat and connect with nature and their local community.

Inner West Council encourages you to get involved with an existing community garden. Council can also support you to establish a new community garden.

Community gardens can help you:

  • Learn about the many benefits of growing your own food
  • Connect to nature
  • Turn food and garden waste into wonderful compost to grow more food – the full circle!
  • Meet new friends
  • Get your hands dirty and stay active and healthy
  • Help you reduce waste – only pick what you need, and no packaging

Community gardens in the Inner West

Visit the existing community gardens page for a list of established gardens in the Inner West.

Existing community gardens

Establishing a community garden

Before establishing a community garden, we encourage you to spend time in an established community garden to understand what's needed to start a community garden and keep the garden going strong.

Permission is required from the land owner to establish a community garden. Inner West Council supports a "bottom-up" approach, where community members form a group and approach Council or other landholders for access to land and assistance.

Inner West Council is in the process of merging its legacy community garden policies. For the time being, differing policies apply depending on the suburb in which you want to establish a garden.

For more information about community gardening, contact Council’s Urban Sustainability team on 02 9392 5341 or email anne.abbott@innerwest.nsw.gov.au.

Safety precautions

Inner West Council supports community gardens in all types of spaces, but this is balanced with a need for community safety.

All Inner West gardeners should assume that soil is contaminated until it is tested and verified as safe. What is a park now may have been a petrol station, industrial site or a waste incinerator in the past.

Common contaminants in the Inner West include heavy metals such as lead (usually from paints and leaded fuel use) and hydrocarbons (usually from petrols and imported soil that may contain burnt material – a very common practice in the past) among others.

As a precaution, assume all soil is contaminated before gardening and take appropriate measures to protect yourself, your family and other community gardeners. 

The NSW government's "Stay Safe from Lingering Lead" resources include videos and fact sheets with tips on how to minimise your exposure to lead while gardening. 

  • Test soil you plan to grow in. Vegesafe provides free heavy metal testing and is a good first step.
  • Grow vegetables in raised garden beds with clean soil
  • Always use gloves
  • Wash your hands after immediately after handling soil
  • Mulch, plant or pave or turf exposed soil
  • Contact Council if you plan to garden somewhere in public in the Inner West.

 

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Page last updated: 14 Aug 2020