Lettuce Grow - Balaklava Community Garden Project, SA Healthy Towns Challenge Grant Winner 2018/19

SA Healthy Towns 2018-19 - Lettuce Grow - Balaklava Community Garden Project

Applying organisation

Wakefield Regional Council

Towns/communities where project is situated

Balaklava community and Pinery, Owen, Avon, Port Wakefield, Halbury and Hoyleton.

Grant purpose

To increase the community’s knowledge and skills in gardening and healthy eating, increase opportunities for physical activity through gardening, and increase community networks.

Target population

Balaklava community and its peripheral towns, including a focus on schools and childcare centres.

External partner and their role

Flinders University: Flinders University nutrition and dietetics students delivered community nutrition workshops and supported evaluation processes.

Project outcomes

The project established the region’s first community garden, which was also used as a pilot program for future community gardens in the Wakefield Regional Council area.

The project involved the development of a community garden in Balaklava, built from the ground up, and supported by the establishment of an ongoing community garden management committee.  Complementary programs included a 40 week Green Gym program, delivered through Conservation Volunteers Australia and programs run by the local kindergarten and schools.  The Green Gym engaged with the wider community, with the aim to increase their fitness, physical and mental wellbeing or simply to allow them to connect with other people or nature. The program included building the garden, propagation, vegetable gardening and composting, as well as a healthy eating workshop hosted by a Nutrition and Dietetics student from Flinders University.

Twenty-five community members attended a free workshop, hosted by Trees for Life, and invited members to explore the newly established garden and learn about wild pollinators, beneficial bugs and native garden plants.  As a result of the success of this session, a variety of workshops will be hosted in the garden in the future.

Now the garden has been established, additional community members, groups and organisations - such as schools, the library and a local charity - have expressed an interest in running targeted programs through the garden.

Future plans for the garden include installing a shade shelter and introducing chickens to the space for additional fertilising and produce benefits.  The community has invested in the garden through donations of garden building materials and volunteering of time.

Evaluation of the garden to date showed there was an increase in community members’ physical activity levels and improved fruit and vegetable intake which will contribute to the overall goal of reducing obesity and improving mental health and wellbeing through the social connections the garden offers.

Photo courtesy of Wakefield Regional Council