In the greater city of Geelong, the Lara Lions Club is helping the local Community Garden and Art Precinct make their education goals a reality.
Community gardens have become a vital part of modern life, and in the town of Lara, in the greater city of Geelong, Victoria, the idea has well and truly taken off.
Lara Community Garden and Art Precinct organiser Natalie Vervest says their garden is a little different to the norm. “Some members rent a plot to grow food, and we have common areas that other members can be part of,” she says. “Because we’re on the high school’s land, we also operate a hands-on learning group for some of their students. Unlike other community gardens, which are often locked away, this is an open garden that people can walk through freely; it’s open to the community.”
The one thing missing had been a permanent shelter – until the local Lions Club stepped in. Now, a $1000 Community 100 grant means construction is about to begin on the much-needed shelter. “We didn’t have sufficient shade over summertime, so this opens up the possibility for more things to happen in the garden during the hotter months,” says Natalie.
The Lara Lions Club loves contributing to the community, and takes particular pride in those projects which help their local youth. Barrie Wynn, the club’s media liaison officer, says, “One of our biggest projects is the Licola Wilderness Camp for disadvantaged kids; it might be kids whose parents have cancer, or who for some reason or other have a need. We send the kids to the camp for a week and they have a ball.”
Natalie is earnest about the positive impact Lions have had for their project. “It wouldn’t be possible for us to do this without grant money; it’s a wonderful opportunity from the Lions Club,” she says.
More than just a garden, the community is utilising this space to help them learn more about leading a healthy lifestyle. Building the shelter opens up greater educational options, both for kids and adults, including an outdoor classroom and ongoing education for the wider community. “One of our goals has been to include the local students as much as possible, and we knew that they could use it as an outdoor classroom if we could provide an outdoor shelter,” Natalie says. “It will also provide an area to provide workshops and run a food swap. All which fits with our goal of providing healthy eating and sustainable living within our community.”
For more information on the Lara Community Garden & Art Precinct, call
0414 817 020 or visit facebook.com/Lara-Community-Garden-Art-Precinct-101455039913132/. To contact the Lara Lions Club, go to laralions.org.au