Spoon Villages and Community Gardens8 December 2020
During the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, many communities around Victoria have turned to community garden installations as mechanisms to promote cohesion and unity, in the face of adversity.
The popular ‘spoon villages’ have seen swathes of wooden spoons, and other similar kitchen implements being fixed in the ground together. These are often decorated with googly eyes, pipe-cleaner arms, and colourful adornments. Particularly for the younger children of the community, stuck at home, with none of the socialisation that school provides, this has been a valuable creative outlet, and decoration for those going for walks.
However, the spoon villages have not been free from disaster. One particularly large village in the southeastern suburb of Edithvale was destroyed by parties unknown, prompting the intervention of the State Emergency Service (SES), who repaired the damaged fixture, replete with SES decorated spoons.
Community gardens have also served as important lifelines for the community, both as an outlet for those who desire the satisfaction of working on a community project, and as a source of food for those struggling financially. The secretary of the St Kilda Community Gardens Club elaborated:
“We have kept the Gardens open for members to harvest their vegetables during the COVID-19 restrictions, but with strict rules for entering the gardens”, they said.
“The Gardens have been important in providing a cheap and safe source of basic food for the family table. We are also planning to make surplus produce available to the local community.”
There are 37 Council-subsidised community gardens in the Ward of Port Phillip. Such measures assist with coping with the stresses of the pandemic.
“Speaking personally, access to the Community Gardens, simply as a safe and peaceful place to visit whilst harvesting food for the kitchen, has helped me cope with the COVID-19 lockdown”, the secretary stated.
Those interested in being involved in a community garden will be pleased to know that the University of Melbourne Student Union Environment Office, in collaboration with two staff conveners, operate one. However, due to the lockdown restrictions, there has been minimal access since March. This should revert back to normal at the start of next year.
Those interested in the St Kilda Community Gardens club should visit their Facebook page.