Growing food, growing community
The Cannery Arts Centre in Esperance, WA, is vibrant community arts centre delivering facilities, exhibitions and workshops to the Esperance region and its visitors. With the support of a $3,431 grant co-funded by Hannaford and Newman's Own Foundation via the Small Grants for Rural Communities program, the Centre created a vibrant community garden at the Arts Centre, transforming a barren area into an inclusive space for the community to meet, socialise and grow local produce. This multi-funded project had the full support of the Esperance community, and aimed to foster community inclusion, healthy eating and lifestyle and empowerment through the sharing of knowledge.
The grant from FRRR was specifically used to purchase materials to construct and fill garden beds, install a fence, worm farms and purchase garden tools and a shade marquee, as well as providing refreshments to volunteers at workshops and activities. The majority of the funds went towards the installation of the boundary fence around the perimeter, creating a safer environment for younger children to play freely within the designated garden area. The fence was made with palings individually painted and crafted by members of the community, which helped the Kitchen Garden to present itself as something owned by the Esperance community.
The supporting structure of the fence was put in place with the assistance of Max Employment, a local organisation that provides opportunities for people Working for Dole.
The worm farms and wicking beds were the product of a workshop organised by the community garden, and were created from old fridges during a demonstration in upcycling and sustainable living practises available within the Esperance community.
The community garden now also boasts new signage which provides visitors with a clear indication of the garden area with in the Cannery Arts Precinct, thanks to the grant they received from FRRR. As often happens in organisations relying on volunteers, this often meant that despite best intentions expected time frames were a challenge to uphold, however the outcomes are testament to the value of volunteers and the good will of the Esperance community.