garden

Mirrung* Garden (on Gadigal land at South Sydney Uniting Church (SSUC)) is an affirming and inclusive place for community gardeners to grow food, relax, contemplate and build relationships. 

Mirrung Garden promotes a healthy lifestyle, social wellbeing as well as ecological sensitivity – care for the Earth and its creatures, precious water and minerals, creative use and reuse of materials, sustainable horticultural practices, eco-theological spiritualities.

Compost bins are listed on ShareWaste. This enables neighbours (garden members and others) to contribute suitable materials for composting.

The garden is managed by the Mirrung Garden working group, which appoints a voluntary community Garden Coordinator.

*Mirrung is a Dharug/Gadigal word that means “belonging” (see https://dharug.dalang.com.au/language/dictionary). Theologian Garry Worete Deverell writes: “Belonging is possible. Bible and church can make their homes in this country … But only by renouncing all fictitious thinking concerning ontological or epistemological supremacy; only by seeing themselves as visitors and not hosts; only by becoming curious, again, about the ways of the divine; only by learning, in a renewed and refigured way, how to love.” 

Contact

Please don’t hesitate to contact the garden working group co-convenors, Anna Kovic and Cathie Harrison: garden@southsydneyuniting.org.au/.

We currently do not have a Garden Coordinator.

History

Established in the 1980s, Mirrung (formerly Eden) Garden has a proud history of providing a safe space in the Redfern-Waterloo community. Inclusion and outreach activities have included the Luncheon Club (a support group for men with HIV/AIDS), run by Carole Ann King and ACON. Keith Ferguson and Dale Williamson gave many years of dedicated service to the garden.

In recent years, extensive redevelopment has seen the demolition of a concrete bunker, the creation of well-lit and soil-rich beds for gardening, reinstallation of a rainwater tank, construction of a new hen house, tool shed, accessible paths and bays, the planting of native shrubs and trees, and establishment of a contemplative garden on the eastern side of the church.

Membership

Membership of the garden is independent of membership of the church. We value connection with neighbours, friends and “eco-warriors”, and partnership with other ecological and community groups.

We acknowledge the support provided by City of Sydney Council through its Community Gardens program.

There are several ways to participate in the garden.

Members
●     Care for their plot;
●     Help care for trees and plants in common areas;
●     Commit to organic gardening and permaculture principles;
●     Maintain the site safely – keeping paths clear, closing gates and locking shed doors when leaving;
●     Work together with other gardeners to create a peaceful and productive garden;
●     Are courteous and friendly to Members, Friends and Visitors, including visitors to SSUC.

Friends
●     Assist Members as invited – tasks may include planting, pruning, watering, repairs and maintenance;
●     Assist the working group at organised working bees and other functions;
●     May be assigned specific roles or tasks.

Visitors are welcome to attend and take part in communal activities, including workshops, social events and prayer services.

Please find the Information and Agreement form here.

Projects

The Mirrung Garden working group explores possible community projects and potential sources of funding. We are currently researching possibilities for a bush tucker garden, internships, as well as children’s gardening and recycling activities.

Values

“We Christians are here to make sacraments throughout the earth, both to succeed and to fail, to plant trees and heal what is abused, to replenish the earth with fruit and beauty, to let wildlife habitats complement the built environment, to grow food even in cities, to let the cosmic Christ shine through the earth” (The Cosmic Circle: Jesus and Ecology, Edward P. Echlin, 2004, The Columba Press, p.135).

“Everything gardens (or modifies its environment). The example of a bird; it may collect small sticks, twigs, mosses and grass to construct a nest … it may also eat berries and digest the fleshy fruit and excrete the seed … it converts energy from one form to another to create soil fertility … it contributes to the chorus of nature … at the same time nurturing favourable conditions for subsequent generations” (Principle from Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual by Bill Mollison, 1988).

Mirrung Garden is “a place of welcome, safety, acceptance, community, equity, creativity, celebration and continuity” (SSUC). Murals on the old shed (2004), including a distinctive Tree of Life design, reflect cherished values. 

Two designs featured text:
●     “It is a radical act to garden … We are afraid of being in deep relationship with each other … the earth … God.”

●     “To plant a seed and begin the process is an act of hope … Anyone who plants a tree gains the reward of giving in charity … What is eaten from it is charity … What the animals eat and what the birds eat is all charity … Anyone who takes from it earns for the planter the reward of giving in charity.”

Working Bees

Working bees are held every Tuesday from 8am to 10am, and bi-monthly (March, May, July, September, November) on the 3rd Saturday from 8am to 12pm.