Project faces the chop

Courtesy of Torch Publishing - 12/4/2006

Project faces the chop


A gardening education project for seniors at Riverwood may end early due to insufficient funding.

The Riverwood Community Garden scheme recently presented the second in its series of monthly garden education seminars for participants.

But unless more funding can be secured, concerns are held that it may be forced to finish in June instead of December, says senior horticulturist Murray Gibbs from the Botanic Gardens.

Mr Gibbs told the Torch that external funding must be found if the outreach program is to continue until the end of the year.

The statewide program is offered on Tuesdays through the Riverwood Community Centre in a partnership between the Sydney Botanic Gardens and the NSW Department of Housing.

Program participants are mainly Housing tenants from a diversity of cultural backgrounds including Arabic and Chinese, who have been allocated individual garden plots located near the Riverwood wetland area since 2000.

Each seminar has been designed to cover such topics as propagation, soil improvements, natural pesticides, native plants, crop rotation and composting over the course of the Botanic Gardens program.

“We’re working with the tenants on establishing community gardens,” he said.

“We’re working with a lot of multicultural groups… It’s one of the biggest and most active gardens (in our program). They’re as keen as mustard.”

Canterbury Councillor Karl Saleh said he has not been informed of the funding problems but wanted to reassure participants that the program would continue one way or another.

“I think it’s a great program and really, I’d be disappointed if the funding finishes,” he said.

“Working with the community on this training is just one aspect of the garden program. We’ll work together with another agency to provide the gardeners with efficient training and support that includes Canterbury City Council and the TAFE Outreach program.”