Mathew and I are visiting Tasmania and have been staying just out of Hobart at Dodges Ferry. Over the last couple of years we have watched with great interest a community garden space develop, complete with Pizza Oven and food co- operative. We went for a stroll on an overcast day to check it out again and were very impressed!
The Okines Community Garden was established in 2012 and is looking great. We wandered through well looked after lawns and pathways, signed beds with various plants clearly labelled for identifying culinary, medicinal and cultural uses. There is a big wood fired pizza oven which we were informed is fired up regularly for Friday soirees and garden gatherings.
The garden is situated next to Dodges Ferry Primary School and the Okines Community Centre. It is a hub where local school children learn about the environment, gardening and recycling. There are well set up worm farms and compost bays. One huge compost pile has been used to heat water running through irrigation pipes for a temporary shower!
We were kindly taken around the garden for an impromptu tour by a regular volunteer. She proudly showed us the Labyrinth, a grass pathway created to inspire a quiet contemplative space for people to sit (or walk) and ponder. We saw the beginnings of a mushroom garden, a shaded area of woodchips inoculated with edible mushroom spawn. Organic adobe forms make up garden walls and benches, there is a seating in a circle made up of large rocks around a firepit. The entire garden is full of beautiful details and hand made objects constructed with care.
A Food Coop is open a couple of times a week allowing members and guests to purchase bulk food and exchange information. The garden sells produce and seedlings on an honour system any time it is needed and is open three days a week with regular working bees and social events. Along with the school children, a group of senior citizens attend supported gardening sessions as part of the Dignity program. Special raised beds have been created to allow access for people in wheelchairs or walking frames. The garden is an inspiring and lovely place for all people.