Pocket Fest celebrates 10 years of growth

ATHENA ZELANDONII

The Pocket Community Garden in Woolloongabba will celebrate its 10-year anniversary this Sunday with Pocket Fest, a special community festival and fundraiser.

The Pocket Community Garden

The Pocket Community Garden has grown both plants and infrastructure thanks to the dedication of local volunteers over the past decade. Photo: Athena Zelandonii

 

All members of the public are welcome to attend Pocket Fest to commemorate a milestone decade of gardening, as well as to launch a new community composting hub courtesy of the Brisbane City Council.  

The Pocket Community Garden occupies space on a quiet corner of lower Maynard Street and Preston Street next to Norman Creek.

On Sunday there will be plants and food for sale, a lemonade stall, and tours of the garden and nearby creek. 

The Pocket Fest event will boast a wide range of family-friendly activities including screen-printing and art workshops, table tennis, soccer, hoop-shooting and limbo competitions, and much more.

From humble beginnings with just a few wooden sleepers and some hay bales, the garden now hosts multiple vegetable garden beds, a small shed, a ping pong table, and even a woodfired pizza oven.

Community gardener and Woolloongabba local Roo Friend helped set up The Pocket Community Garden with his wife and some friends 10 years ago, and has seen the space go from strength to strength.

“What has happened over the last couple of years is more and more medium density housing has gone in, so there are more people walking dogs, and they tend to discover this side of the creek and see the garden and get all excited,” Mr Friend said. 

“We have a jazz day on the first Thursday of the month from 10am til 12, following the free community breakfast that starts at 6am on the same day,” he said.

Community members also meet at the garden on most Sundays for working bees. 

Pocket Fest flyer

The Pocket Fest community garden festival and fundraiser will host a wide range of events open to members of the public of all ages, starting from 11am.

 

Councillor for the Gabba Ward, Jonathan Sri, said his office regularly received new requests for community garden spaces, and said Council support was essential in helping establish the gardens.

“Really they don’t get a huge amount of support compared to a lot of other community projects, generally they run on a shoestring budget,” Cr Sri said. 

“But really they don’t need a lot to succeed, they’re pretty easy to set up if you have volunteers who are willing to do the work,” he said. 

Cr Sri said he believed community gardens provided a wide range of benefits to people who got actively involved. 

“Volunteer gardeners get to meet their neighbours and connect with other people in their community, and that has a whole range of mental health benefits,” he said.

“But it also benefits the broader public by activating public spaces and creating a bit more life and activity in parks that might otherwise seem a bit lonely or empty.” 

When Eloise Telford moved to Woolloongabba earlier this year she stumbled upon The Pocket Community Garden by accident, and said she was welcomed in by a local.

“This is the first community garden i’ve been involved with, though I’ve been a part of different environmental groups for a long time,” Ms Telford said. 

“It’s just a nice place to go for a picnic with mates or just sort of drop by and see if anyone’s around, and it’s so great for that kind of inter-generational community vibe,” she said. 

“It makes me feel like Woolloongabba is a place where I want to spend more time.”

Mr Friend said he hoped this weekend’s event would bring new members and raise funds for simple gardening tools and wheelbarrows. 

“Come to Pocket Fest and fill in a form to join the Pocket Community Garden, and your lives will benefit… your social life, community involvement, and your physical and mental health,” he said. 

Pocket Fest is on Sunday August 25 at The Pocket Community Garden on the corner of lower Maynard Street and Preston Street in Woolloongabba, and runs from 11am until 8pm.

Visit the Pocket Community Garden’s Facebook page for more information about the event.

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