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ELF Community Garden Group:

The ELF Community Garden Group established a permaculture community garden at the Environmental Learning Facility in 2005. The Group is made up of volunteers who love to garden socially, a number of whom are members of ECCO.

The Environmental Learning Facility and surrounding community garden can be found in the north eastern corner of the Orange Showground. Visitors are welcome to drop in and have a look around at any time.

However, the best time to visit is the second Saturday of each month between 9.30am and 1pm. This is when the group meets for its monthly working bee, and there will generally be someone to show you around. It also coincides with the monthly Orange Farmers Markets, which are generally held at the Orange Showground as well.

Membership of the group has changed over the years but the group continues to maintain and develop the garden, providing an opportunity for members to garden with others, share knowledge, experiment with new gardening techniques, and enjoy the local produce grown in the garden. The current group coordinator is Haidee Nelson. You can be added to the email list for the group by sending your details to Haidee: haideenelson@hotmail.com

Why a Community Garden?

Many people donít have enough space or knowledge to garden food plants for themselves or their families. Collectively, however, a community does have the skills, ability, time, knowledge and creativity to make a garden grow.

Gardens are wonderful places to revitalise. They are a place to be active or quiet, watch things grow, learn from others, teach each other, actually have a softer footprint on this earth, talk about the week, meet new people and harvest food youíve never tasted before. There are always things to do Ė from transplanting fragile seedlings to forking over the compost.

What is permaculture?

Australian ecologist Bill Mollison and his student David Holmgren created the term "permaculture". They came up with the word, which is the contraction of the phrase "permanent culture" or "permanent agriculture", in 1978. Both the mentor and student developed concepts that can aid humans to create enduring agriculture systems.

Mollison and Holmgren thought that people's great dependence on hazardous industrial agricultural procedures destroy the environment. As such, they developed permaculture so that humans can use ecology to design comprehensive systems of food production, applicable technology, community development, and housing without harming the environment.

Different permaculture designs have various uses. Farmers can use a permacultural framework to sustain their lands. Individuals can also build systems, such as rain catchment, solar aquatic ponds, and constructed wetlands, to efficiently utilize and re-use water. Edible landscaping, trellising, improving soil fertility, reducing pollution, and using resources responsibly are also among the common methods connected to permaculture.

One doesn't have to be an expert to use permaculture because it has numerous practical applications. A person can make his own permaculture garden for additional food production. If households will use the ideals of permaculture, they can efficiently use land, like creating a sustainable garden, to meet their needs to eat healthy foods and drink safe water.

Permaculture is also not only for those who live in the rural areas. Urban permaculture gardening is now practiced to help people who live in the cities minimise using industrialized agriculture to improve food supply.

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