On its 25th Birthday, UniSA’s Community Garden Project on the Mawson Lakes campus has finally taken root.
Community Service Learning Course Coordinator, Andrea Duff says the team of green thumbs never lost their motivation over the lengthy two years it took to complete the unijam “quick win”.
‘Dr James Ward, Dr Delene Weber, Dr Sharolyn Anderson, Facilities Management Unit and Grounds staff are really pleased to see the garden come to fruition,’ Ms Duff says.
‘After hundreds of responses on unijam, the ‘quick wins’ are now complete.
‘And I’m happy to finally have my fig tree,’ Ms Duff jokes.
The orchard of exotic fruit trees includes an avocado and blood orange as well as an experimental guava tree.
Program Director, Dr James Ward says the fruit trees are a great starting point for bringing the community into the gardens.
“We have replaced five trees with eleven fruit trees and the next step is to put in raised vegetable gardens along the paths and near the bike shed,” Dr Ward says.
“The fruit trees are low maintenance and ever green, so it’s sustainable as students come and go.
“The garden is also in a space that is accessible to everyone.
“It’s close to the staff and students of environmental science and natural and built environments, as well as the planetarium that is often visited by school groups and the public,” says Dr Ward.
The Grounds Staff put in many extra hours over the weekends to get the area prepared for planting.
Trees had to be removed, holes and trenches dug, soil excavated and replaced with nutrient rich soil, and an irrigation system installed.
“We hope to promote student involvement and engage with the broader Mawson Lakes community,” says Head of Facilities Management, David Varga.
“Because we hold community classes on campus, the location couldn’t be more ideal.
”So long as we make sure we’ve got a core committee of people, these gardens have huge potential,” says David.
The community garden presents a unique opportunity for students to use their discipline knowledge, but also as an extra-curricular project to be involved in.
Environmental student, Amber Michael loves to spend time in the garden and now has the chance to do it on campus where much of her time is spent.
“Spending time in a garden is really relaxing,” Amber says.
“I also know that I have a community engagement topic to choose later in the year, so when I saw the sign I knew this was going to be the perfect project for me to get involved with,” she says.
The gardens are a place for community to meet and enjoy eating produce says Ms Duff and can also involve students in projects, promoting and planning.
Thanks to Ahmad Hakim for his images.