Garden of abundance
GEMMA Hicks is trying to turn her thumbs green.
For the past couple of weeks whenever she has had a day off work the nurse has headed down to the Lismore Community Garden.
"A friend of mine is a member and has been saying 'come down' for ages," Gemma said.
"It's so nice to be here, out in the sun. And now I'm inspired to grow some vegetables at home."
Coming up to its third anniversary, the community garden has just re-signed with council for its sunny one-acre plot in Brewster St. Founding member John Jessup said the garden is tapping into something bigger than tilling the soil and growing produce.
"These gardens are spreading around the world," he said. "People want to reconnect with each other and get back to nature."
As well as growing plants - a mix of whatever herbs and vegetables are in season - the community garden provides fertile ground for new friendships and the sharing of knowledge.
"When you come here you just naturally get involved with people," John said. "You don't need to know anything about gardening to join in.
"It's a really good way to learn more and for people to get to know each other.
"I have seen people come here looking quite depressed and after a bit of time they just come out of themselves."
The garden rents beds to community groups and also runs workshops on everything from compost-making to no-dig beds, worm farming and seed-raising.
And as soon as the rat-proof seedling house is finished, members plan to get to work on building a pizza oven, John said.
"That's going to be great. We will be able to have nights here and make pizza with our own produce."
Lismore Community Garden is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9am to 2pm. If you are interested in joining contact John Jessup on 66216830 or 0401 493 509.