Camillo community garden lacks support among growing discontent


Sherrii Richardson with her son Zachary Pitham (10) in the Camillo Community Garden.  Picture: Marie Nirme         www.communitypix.com.au   d462370
Sherrii Richardson with her son Zachary Pitham (10) in the Camillo Community Garden. Picture: Marie Nirme        www.communitypix.com.au d462370

AS Camillo residents struggle to fund a local community garden, the City of Armadale has forged ahead with plans to plant its own in Kelmscott.

The Camillo Community Garden, behind Westfield Primary School was begun three years ago by the Camillo Action Group (CAG) and opened to the public in February this year.

CAG chairwoman Sherrii Richardson said no one from the City of Armadale approached the group about contributing to the community garden hub nor considered the Camillo plot as a possible location for its own garden.

“It struck me as strange because here we have a working group with an established garden, 10 garden beds, sheds, two rainwater tanks and connection to mains water and electricity, whereas as far as I know the Kelmscott plot is just a blank space,” Ms Richardson said.

Ms Richardson said the Camillo garden could be difficult to access, particularly for those with disabilties, but it would not take much to modify the area.

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“It would cost less than establishing a whole new garden anyway,” she said.

The Camillo garden was one of 12 community projects awarded a State Government grant last week for commitment to improving waste management in WA.

CAG will use the $320 stipend to build its own compost system.

Ms Richardson said that with the exception of small grants and fundraising events, they had received very little financial support.

“We desperately need more manpower,” she said.

“This year especially, we’ve found it hard getting the Camillo community engaged.

“It’s been tough times for lots of people so the garden has been left to a core group of active members.”

Ms Richardson said about five volunteers and their families spent one weekend a month on garden upkeep and at least a full week during spring harvest.

This season, the garden produced corn and broad beans raised from seed as well as tomatoes, potatoes, mango, citrus fruit and various herbs and salads. Currently the produce is shared among members only, but Ms Richardson hopes to one day supply all Camillo residents with fresh, healthy produce.

“To have the kids come down and grab a tomato straight off the vine, that’s the dream,” she said.

A City of Armadale spokesman said it was following up the matter.