Community gardens idea grows at Ocean Shores
SHARA Gardens co-ordinator Suzanne Staples saw the need eight years ago to start up a community garden at Ocean Shores.
She and her friend David Hall found a bare patch of ground next to the kindergarten, about half an acre of land, and started growing ... enthusiasm as well as food.
About 300 supporters were at the opening of the gardens.
"The idea was to bring the community together and grow organic food," Suzanne said.
"We're auspiced under Mullumbimby Community Gardens and we lease the land from council.
"Anyone who's involved can harvest and we have 'food for all' gardens that the locals use.
"We have a bit of a problem with some people picking before the crop is ready but we are now dealing with this with signs to let people know when the crops are ready.
"There are currently private plots and memberships available for a very reasonable price."
Also on site is a medicinal herb garden.
People on the Work for the Dole scheme help care for the gardens.
"We have a regular playgroup here once a week," Suzanne said.
"Members can book the large table and benches - donated by local woodworker Stan Ceglinski - if they would like to have a function at weekends, by texting me.
"We just love the fact that we're growing food, people can harvest it and meet here.
"It's more like a park, a social meeting place. We've had quite a few festivals.
"At the moment we've got a Crabbes Creek man who does pop-up lunches, like paella or yum cha, on the last Sunday of the month. He also does salads and beautiful tarts."
Suzanne says funding for the gardens comes mainly from grants.
"We've had local builders donate their time and council has just given us $10,000 for a toilet," she said.
"We would like to build a pizza oven, then we can have pizza nights.
"We're really happy with how it's turned out."
Shara Community Gardens is on Shara Boulevard, North Ocean Shores.
Anyone wanting to volunteer on the committee is welcome to call Suzanne on 0431151950.