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Community Gardens

Ballarat Neighbourhood Centre manages three community gardens: the Ballarat South Community Hub Garden, the Delacombe Community Garden, and the Sebastopol Community Garden.

We are about healthy living, recycling waste, being active, reducing budgets, making friends, saving water, and most of all, living, teaching, giving, sharing all things garden. Many people from all walks of life join in our gardens for projects, work experience, social connections and community volunteering.

We thank our volunteers who every week give generously of their time. They have helped create wonderful community spaces for us to grow our food and for them to garden with likeminded friends. We hope they leave after every visit with a great sense of accomplishment from the work they do.

Join a Garden Group

Community members interested to share or learn gardening skills are invited to be involved in our garden groups or as Garden Caretakers.

The garden groups meet for 2 hours every week, focusing on key jobs, such as managing garden beds, planning projects, composting, raising seeds or propagating plants, planting and harvesting produce, and having cups of tea.

Garden Caretakers are volunteers who help in our gardens on other days of the week, assisting with set tasks such as watering, weeding or maintenance on a regular basis. 

There is no cost. Tea and coffee are provided.

Therapeutic Horticulture in our Community Gardens

Therapeutic Horticulture (TH) is gaining attention as a unique and effective intervention which can provide tremendous physical, psychological, and emotional benefits for people with a wide range of physical and mental health challenges.

We manage our gardens using a Therapeutic Horticulture approach designed to:

  • foster social connections, boost self-esteem, and create a sense of belonging.
  • create opportunities to engage with nature helping to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
  • encourage participants to use their cognitive skills such as problem-solving and decision-making, helping to improve memory, increase attention span, and stimulate mental growth.
  • improve physical wellbeing, strength and endurance through physical activities (digging, planting, and weeding).
  • provide access to fresh produce to take home or to share in our community meals programs.
  • educate about sustainable and environmentally friendly gardening practices and principles (composting, recycling, and rainwater harvesting).

Ballarat South Community Hub Garden

Located in Tuppen Drive Sebastopol, this community garden like all our gardens is a work in progress. Started in 2015 with a few spud boxes, many incredible community members have contributed thousands of hours to establish, grow and renew herbs and vegetables.

Today a small group of volunteers maintain the garden gathering each week to chat and garden together whilst growing food for the various Ballarat Neighbourhood Centre community cooking and learning programs.

In the early years volunteer activities included:

  • developing the native garden;
  • adding a table, bench seats and totem poles;
  • installing lighting, CCTV cameras and shade sails; and
  • a patterned concrete ‘floor’ for the outdoor meeting/eating area and other infrastructure.

In 2018, the community garden was repurposed to become the Our Kitchen Social Enterprise Community Garden growing food for community lunches.  Since then, we have:

  • rebuilt the garden beds several times to ensure their suitability for growing food;
  • added an orchard;
  • installed the ArtBox; and
  • repainted the totem poles and ArtBox with indigenous art.

We thank our sponsors and supporters who have helped grow our garden: Ballarat South Community Hub Committee, Ballarat Permaculture Guild, the Native Plant Society, Bunnings Hardware, Waubra Wind Farm (Acciona Australia), Ballarat Foundation, Work for the Dole Program, Phoenix P-12 Community College, Victorian Government, Haymes Paint, Rotary, Raintree Artist Deidre Rosier, our local nurseries Formosa Gardens, Avalon Nurseries and Navigators Nurseries, schools, businesses and contributors, and our incredible community members.

Delacombe Community Garden

Located in Nandiriog Drive Delacombe alongside the Doug Dean Reserve, this garden came under the Ballarat Neighbourhood Centre management in July 2023 when the organisation started managing the Delacombe Community Hub.

Despite having existed for several years, since the 2020 pandemic the small garden has not been maintained. Today most of the garden beds are now beyond repair and a project commenced in mid-2024 to rebuild this garden.

This rebuild will include a change to how the garden functions. Initially a community garden where community members had ‘ownership’ of individual beds, the redeveloped garden will embrace our Therapeutic Horticulture community model. Going forward volunteers and the community will be responsible for the whole garden, growing food to share and for use in the Our Kitchen Social Enterprise community lunch program.

Sebastopol Community Garden

Affectionately nicknamed the ‘Big Garden’ by staff, this garden is a collaboration between Phoenix P12 Community College, the City of Ballarat, Regional Development Victoria and the State Government.

Located in Spencer Street Sebastopol on the College grounds, this garden will become a community, training, and market garden for the Sebastopol community. When complete in 2024, it will be the home of Our Garden Social Enterprise running Gardening Up Jobs and other training programs.