Community Gardens

Starting a Community Garden

Community gardens are a great way to meet like-minded people and learn about gardening. The establishment of a new community garden takes time, perseverance, and a broad set of skills. Experience with document preparation, people management, finance and regulatory compliance, plant propagation and growing are examples of skills that would be useful in setting up a garden. 

Consider joining an existing community garden to learn about how they operate and understand what skills are needed before establishing a new garden group.

Council supports community gardening as a valuable recreational activity which contributes to the health and well-being of people and provides a range of environmental, social and educational benefits. The information provided below will assist you and your group start a new community garden journey.

Things you should know

Community gardens currently operate within or adjacent to the Ryde Council area. The people running them have a wealth of knowledge and experience about how to organise and manage people to create and operate a shared garden enterprise. You may wish to contact one or more of these existing garden groups to find out how they operate to inform the preparation of your garden proposal.

You will need a core group of 3-5 people with the different skills outlined above to share the work to get your project up and running. Initially, your group’s focus will be on thinking about and documenting your proposal in preparation for its construction. Later the focus will be on the long-term management of the garden and its members.

A community garden may be established on a council reserve or on land owned by another organisation (e.g. school, religious body, social support organisation) with the approval of Council. Obtaining Council approval to construct and operate a community garden is the first step in the establishment of a new garden.

How to Start a New Garden

Talk to Council’s Development Advisory Service for guidance on how to prepare and lodge a development application for a community garden on either Council owned or private land. The development application process page shows the steps that you must follow to construct and operate a community garden on private land.

The Development Advisory Service can advise on the suitability of your preferred location and what information you will need to attach to your development application.

Obtaining development approval will take time. Understanding the steps in the approval process and ensuring that you have supported your application with sufficient information will help to minimise the time it takes to assess and approve your proposal.