BENDIGO council has drafted a policy on community gardens following a surge of community interest.
The city received multiple inquiries from community members and community groups requesting the establishment of community gardens as a result of conversations about its environment strategy.
The strategy recognised the importance of choosing locally grown, unprocessed and seasonal foods in an environment strategy sparked questions from community members and community groups.
Learning how to grow fruit and vegetables and joining a community garden were among the suggested opportunities to source local and sustainable foods.
A report to councillors in this month's meeting agenda said there was no consistent approach to address requests for the establishment of a community garden.
"The draft policy aims to ensure a consistent approach to future requests," the report said.
Community engagement had highlighted a number of opportunities regarding community gardens, and a number of issues.
"Support groups to establish new community gardens in areas of need and interest," was among the opportunities, as was support for community food growing and swapping initiatives.
It was also recommended the city investigate re-establish a community gardens network.
Issues included volunteer fatigue associated with community garden maintenance and a limited number of community gardens in the region.
"Some existing gardens are running out of space for new residents to join and grow their own food," the report said.
The draft policy said the city would help find new community garden sites, as long as the proposal met a number of requirements.
They included the support of neighbours and demonstrated interest and commitment from a community group.
The draft policy outlines the roles and responsibilities of the city and community gardeners, highlighting that community gardens should be managed by the community.
The policy would be specifically for community gardens on land council either owns or manages.
Councillors will decide at next week's meeting whether to release the draft for public feedback.
- RELATED: What worries Bendigo residents
The October meeting will be new councillor Susie Hawke's first.
She will be sworn in as a councillor on Monday. "Recording of oath of office for Eppalock Ward councillor" features on Wednesday's meeting agenda.
Council will also decide whether to adopt the All Ages All Abilities Action Plan, which takes into account the priorities formerly covered by three plans.
These plans include the Positive Ageing Strategy, the Municipal Early Years Plan and the Community Access and Inclusion Plan.
Council received feedback from 11 people to an All Ages All Abilities Issues and Opportunities report, including concern that there was a lack of identified opportunities to address family violence.
"Concern there was a diluted focus on early years" was also among the key themes in the feedback.
Councillors have been recommended to adopt the finalised issues and opportunities report and action plan.
Wednesday's meeting starts at 6pm in the Bendigo Town Hall.
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