Vegging out makes community spirit grow
TEN years ago, a group of Peregian Beach residents decided to pool their vegetable gardening resources.
The sandy soil was proving a problem to grow good veggies - so a group effort seemed like a good idea.
Today, Veggie Village in Rufous St is much more than a community garden - it's a major part of the social fabric of the suburb.
This year, the group celebrated the tenth anniversary.
"We're celebrating all year, but on the day we had a pizza party and lantern celebration,” past president Lin Martin said.
It's an unqualified success, with more than 100 members.
"It started with a bright idea from Bruce Molloy, who was frustrated with not being able to grow veggies in the sandy soil.
"So we held a community meeting to discuss community gardens, and 60 people showed up.”
Negotiations with a very supportive Noosa Council resulted in leased land, which has doubled in size in the last few years due to demand.
As for what to grow, it has been trial and error - again due to the sandy soil.
Karen Sell, Veggie Village's current president, said the leafy greens grow best in the conditions.
"Cabbage, kale and broccoli do the best here.” she said.
Ms Martin said the long-growing sub-tropical season meant greens, tomatoes and peas survive well.
The site has bore water, pumped by solar panels, giving it an off-grid capability, she said.
Ms Martin also said while Veggie Village is a great community project, its role is far greater than mere gardening.
"Veggie Village is about growing community as well,” she said.
Ms Sell said while the area was once predominantly retirees, "lots of young families have joined up.
"It's quite diverse now; we even have grey nomads drop in to help. And we have many from overseas; we just had a lady from Bali join up.
"It's becoming like the United Nations,” she said.