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NT Gardens website launched – RIG News Oct. 2012

2012 November 2
by anthea

Linking gardeners and gardens in the NT

NT Gardens website launched

Reducing the burden of malnutrition and associated lifestyle diseases by improving access to local fresh foods and improving the continuity and sustainability of community and school gardens in NT communities are key drivers that have contributed to the development of the NT Gardens website that was launched in October.

The website has been developed by Dr Andy Hume, a GP registrar who has lived and worked in the Northern Territory on and off since 2006. In a project funded through a General Practice Education and Training grant and supported through the Menzies School of Health Research, Andy has created the NT Gardens website to document and promote community and school gardens in the Northern Territory.

Andy is a member of the RIG Network, and we’re very pleased to have contributed to and to be affiliated with the NT Gardens website that provides a practical way for remote communities and gardeners to create their own webpage to i) share information about what they are doing, and ii) access one another’s contact details so that they can get in touch to share ideas, resources and support. It is free and quick for gardeners to start their own garden page on the website: go to http://ntgardens.org and click the “add a garden” button. This page remains yours to keep and is easy to edit and add photos to.

There’s a long history of gardens ‘coming and going’. It is hoped the website may help to create and share greater continuity of information and along the way contribute to building better projects by enabling people to learn about what’s underway, what’s working – and what has gone before.

There are currently over forty known remote Aboriginal food gardens in the top end of the Northern Territory. These gardens are growing fresh fruit and vegetables in schools and communities, employing local people, and providing fresh food to those involved. In schools they are providing nutrition, life skills and horticultural education to the next generation of territory gardeners.

In an interview with ABC Rural, Andy said:

“There’s evidence that if you increase your fruit and vegetable intake, then you can significantly reduce your risk of certain cancers and of death by stroke or heart attack. I think people have always thought fruit and veggies are healthy, but we’ve now got real evidence about how good they are.

So the idea is to link people who are working remotely and show them other people who are doing the same thing and bring some public attention to the benefits these gardens provide.

I want people to get onto the website and see what’s working in other places and talk about what they’re doing in other places. My hope is that it becomes a resource which people can use to get in contact with each other and it’ll bring the public knowledge of remote food gardening up a bit and hopefully help those who are out there and make their jobs a bit easier”.

The NT Gardens website is an exciting initiative – one we all hope people involved with gardens in top end NT communities will access and use. In the recent RIG Feedback Survey it was suggested RIG “become a web based support resource for community gardens in tropics and other remote areas to help counteract the high turnover in staff and momentum, community/organizational memory and knowledge consequently lost in communities”. Great suggestion – and something now underway through Andy’s great work that with time (and funding!) may grow.

For more information about the website or the project go to http://ntgardens.org or contact Dr Andy Hume at Drandrewhume (at) mail.com.

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