At a public meeting in May 2006, a group of community members began developing the vision for a community garden in Mullumbimby. People of all ages and abilities gathered their ideas, pictures, dreams and expertise with and created a shared goal.
After negotiations with Byron Shire Council, we finally secured our current 2.19 ha (5 acre) site, which at the time, was just a grassy paddock.
In August 2008 we held our Welcome to Country and Opening Celebration but due to a bureaucratic oversight, on site activities were closed down just 2 days later.
While we waited for council to catch up, we busied ourselves making compost and watering our herb spiral and fruit trees planted the opening with buckets
We also did a lot more research and created our “Future Directions” site and management plans. These were based on information and experience gathered from other community gardens around the Australia and our own aspirations.
The lease with Byron Shire Council was finally signed in April 2009, however it wasn’t until water was connected the following August that growing food could begin in earnest.
It was the tenacity and persistence of our community in holding their vision, offering their diverse range of skills and knowledge and coming together to laugh, learn, dig and play that has resulted in the creation of our now, award winning community garden.
As the organization grew, we went through a series of governance progressions resulting in the creation of Mullum SEED inc. (Mullumbimby Sustainability Education and Enterprise Development).
With its environmental organisation registration, Charity and DGR status, Mullum SEED “umbrellas” MCG and now 16 other groups in our community. This backing has been invaluable in evolution of our garden.
Mullum SEED and MCG base our decision making processes on Dynamic Governance principles, otherwise known as Sociocracy. While operating under standard structures and guidelines for incorporated associations as required by NSW Government, the Federal Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission and other government departments, we weave in non-authoritarian organizational operating systems that empower people to make clear and better group based decisions within their established “pods and hives” (subcommittees).
Openness, transparency, patience and clear communication are the key to harmonious relationships between our various stakeholders operating both on and off our site.
The wide range of programs and projects offered by MCG now provides activities for people of all ages and abilities and supports the diverse social fabric of our community . These activities are reliant on what people have to offer at any point in time and the flow and variety is ever changing.
We do from time to time, as finances allow, pay contractors, project managers and faciiltators to run certain activities but as whole MCG is managed and maintained by volunteers with no paid staff. We have no concurrent funding other than membership fees, and rely on fundraising activities, donations and project based grants to keep the “wheels turning”.
Our garden is not a club only for members, It is open to the public 7 days a week join in our activities or just wander around and take in the peaceful ambience. It is a popular destination for tourists, family outings, picnics, birthday parties, dog walks, bicycle rides and even romantic, hand holding interludes.
We have been the catalyst for more community gardens in the Northern Rivers region of NSW, and also beyond. Regularly we greet national and international visitors who have heard of our wonderful facility through their networks and we openly share our ideas and experiences with them.
Our slogan “growing to share and sharing to grow” sparks many a deep discussion about how we can all cultivate a positive and healthy future. Our Food for All program, presents challenges on various levels,. We grow organic produce in communal garden plots, available 24/7 for just a
donation There are many lessons in non-attachement as we let go of control , however there is also great heart felt joy in helping people in need and introducing others to the superior tastes of fresh organic fruit and vegetables.
MCG has become a living, interactive platform for encouraging sustainable practices. With our ground breaking composting toilets, our solar powered office through to our hands-on workshop and programs we learn about soil health, biodiversity, revive ancient skills and crafts and incorporate new technology and ideas. We showcase what can be achieved when community comes together and we empower others to dream big, open their hearts and see what they too can do “back home”..
Together our community has created a very special facility but there is still room for new ideas, new projects, friendships and connections. Mullumbimby Community Garden welcomes you to come and join in the fun.