One of our favourite reads over summer has been ‘Happy City’, a book by Charles Montgomery. The book draws on initiatives in urban design that have transformed the lives of urban populations. It’s been a fascinating read and to the dear friend who brought it to our attention, we are eternally grateful!
At Victory Gardens, we see first-hand the benefits that gardens bring to the lives of people of all ages. The Hunter St Mall Victory Garden, once a tired and uninspiring spot in the Newcastle CBD is now a lively, rambling edible garden, enjoyed by many living and working in the area. Our corporate, residential and aged care installations have also been well received by staff, families and elderly residents.
But what is at the heart of why people love getting their hands dirty? We decided to dig a little deeper and explore the scientific evidence around gardening and its impact on health and wellbeing. What better place to start than Montgomery’s book.
“Happy City” by Charles Montgomery shows us how gardens, big and small, perform an important role in our health and wellbeing
…We can’t believe we almost missed this auspicious occasion!!! Yep! It suddenly occurred to us while on a short break that Victory Gardens first birthday was just about to pass by unmarked! Whoops!
It has been an incredible journey getting our social enterprise off the ground and wouldn’t have been possible without the generosity of our supporters and collaborators.
When we embarked on the creative process of establishing Victory Gardens we knew we wanted to revolutionise Newcastle. We wanted to provide simple solutions for city food production. Twelve months on we now have projects rolling out in residential, corporate, aged care and public spaces. We couldn’t be happier.
Our placemaking project at the Hunter St Mall has enabled us to meet many like-minded people. We hope this is the beginning of many more projects like this.
So here’s a little visual diary of the last 12 months which acts as a reflection of how far we have come in a short amount of time and how much further we have to go.
Explore our website for more information about the packages we offer for you to start your own edible garden.
Original sketches by the wonderful Liz at https://www.facebook.com/artfulscribbles
Experimenting with wicking beds with Group D http://www.groupdcreative.com at The Esplanade, Newcastle Beach
Artwork by Pocket Design ready to go up at The Hunter St Mall
Hunt & Gather Markets
Rooftop planting in the city
East End Edibles with Connectability Disability Services
Hunter St Mall Victory Garden
Victory Gardens follows an array of farmers and growers on Instagram and there was one we have been super keen to catch up with and feature on our blog. Newcastle Greens (@newcastlegreens) packs a whole heap of greenie goodness into every Instagram post!
Newcastle Greens delivers a unique range of microgreens, wheatgrass, edible flowers and baby leaf to restaurants and cafes around the Greater Newcastle area. Owner and grower Elle Brown was kind enough to share her journey which began with the extended family pitching in to help build a greenhouse in the backyard of her Waratah West home.
Radish and pea shoots
As a mother to a toddler and a teenager, Elle started her home-grown business just over a year ago. She is still waiting to catch her breath. The business has taken off and she’s loving it.
When graphic designer Liz Knapp and husband Greg decided to make a sea change to Newcastle from their farm in Main Creek Dungog, they brought a bit of country life with them and the results are stunning.
Liz, a mother of two, and owner of design company Artful Scribbles, says she didn’t originally set out to re-create a country feel in her garden but plants that were dear to her, such as Gymea lilies, and an eclectic array of farming equipment and furniture came with them which helped to give this garden its relaxing rural atmosphere.
The Victory Gardens team has been gathering as much local information as possible about community gardening as we embark on a process of establishing a small edible garden in the Hunter St Mall in Newcastle Australia.
Growing is underway in the Hunter St Mall
In the several months it has taken to realise such a dream, we have engaged with many community gardening enthusiasts, change agents and place makers who have offered a hand and their knowledge, to help set this inner city garden off on the right foot. It feels good to have tapped into this generous and lively community as we approach spring and the launch of the garden in September.