A handful of backyard gardeners are calling on fellow Eaglehawk locals to take pride in their patch by turning the township into the city’s biggest veggie patch.
Borough locals have been meeting monthly to discuss how to take the Incredible Edible Eaglehawk initiative from idea status to the streets and they’ve decided the way to do it is one patch at a time.
As such, a planting day later this month will see a neglected, weed-infested garden bed beside Eaglehawk IGA in Victoria Street transformed into a fragrant patch of herbs.
It will hopefully be the first step in the greening of Eaglehawk.
The idea was initiated by Eaglehawk local Lisa Pola, who heard about how the township of Todmorden in the UK turned its luck around with lettuces, spinach, tomatoes and fruit trees.
Locals of Todmorden have transformed all their neglected public nooks and crannies into edible gardens, and in turn, transformed the way they, and others, view their town.
Todmorden is now a thriving tourist destination and pin-up place for how to boost community pride.
“The plan is to start small and see how far we can take it,” Lisa says.
“We want to keep it simple to start with, so we’re going for hardy herbs.
“Things that don’t need a lot of water. We’ll start small and see what happens next.”
Lisa has enlisted a small group of supporters, and over 100 facebook friends, to get behind the idea of Incredible Edible Eaglehawk.
One of those is health broker Jen Alden, who is sharing her experiences of community gardening to help get the project off the ground.
“I’ve got a particular passion for food systems and improving access to locally grown, healthy food,” she says.
In a past job Jen was chief executive officer of Cultivating Communities, which looked after community gardens in Melbourne public housing estates.
“I managed 20 gardens down there.
“It was a magnificent experience and really inspired me to see what’s possible locally,” she says.
If all goes well, shoppers at Eaglehawk IGA will soon be able to buy a lamb roast, then stop outside the building to pick their own rosemary, free of charge.
The idea is these gardens are cared for by, and shared among, the community.
“It’s watch and wait,” Lisa says of this first step.
“We want people to notice it, this will be a demonstration patch and from there the community will hopefully branch off.”
Lisa is being mentored by the people behind Incredible Edible Todmorden.
She says one of the UK township’s residents will be visiting Eaglehawk soon to share their story.
If you’d like to be involved, just turn up outside the supermarket from 10am on Saturday, October 27.
Bring your own tools and if you can, your own donations of hardy herbs like rosemary, oregano and thyme.
Gravel Hill Gardens will also pitch in with some plants, and IGA has donated some cash towards the cause.
All it needs now is some Eaglehawk elbow grease.