Big shoes to fill at gardens

Alison Hucke, Aaron Ure and Heather Brand hope to see more locals pottering away at the community gardens. “There’s no sense of, ‘you have to do this’, or ‘you have to do that’, if you’ve got a passion for an area, go hard,” said Aaron.

A pillar of the Cambridge community has been forced to step back from his role at the Cambridge Community Gardens and hopes more people will help keep the spirit of the gardens alive and well.

“Last year’s falls were an eye opener for me, when I was given the ultimatum from health professionals to pull back for the sake of staying out of a wheelchair for life,” explained Aaron Ure. “I barrelled on to prove them wrong to my own detriment. Now for the sake of my health and mobility, I need to hand this project over to a wider community base… And after five years being here, we actually need a new infusion, there’s other people and other ideas that need to come forward.”

Originally the brainchild of Resthaven resident George Russell, the gardens were spurred into momentum by Jenny Wilson of Sustainable Waipa, who later asked Aaron, who had worked with her father at Resthaven, to get involved in early 2012. “And I never left,” said Aaron.

“It has changed so much from a small group of people, with just a couple of gardens… we’ve grown in numbers, we’ve grown in projects, in our ability to feed our gardeners, seniors and those in need in the community by 500-fold… It’s gone from being a nice idea to a community.”

“His commitment to this garden has been unbelievable, said Heather Brand, a volunteer. “But he can’t do it now, he still tries to do it,” she laughed.

“We need six people to replace him!” added volunteer Alison Hucke.

“The commitment of the committee and our regular gardeners has just been inspirational,” a modest Aaron said. “Everything that’s been achieved was because of the people around us that said, ‘let’s give it a go’. That’s been such an important part of the gardens. And whoever comes up next to take over the reins… rely on these guys, ask them what they think… and by God they’ll take up the challenge and run with it. Because that’s where their hearts are at… that’s going to be one of the hardest things to leave behind.

“The way the community have stepped forward when we’ve needed something has been just incredible,” said Aaron, crediting countless Cambridge good sorts for their vital support, including former Rouge owners Phil and Alanna MacKay, Bunnings, Amber Nurseries, Farmlands, the local Lions and the Cambridge Christmas Festival Society.

“I want to see more people like Alison and Heather working in the gardens, more of our community hearts being pitched in… new people, younger folk, groups like Lions, Rotary, scouts, agencies that are into community support, to have more representation on our board… those people can take that vision further.”

On Sunday, March 25 a public information evening will be held at the Resthaven Village Centre, 4 Vogel St, at 7pm followed by a light supper, where members of the public are encouraged to discuss the future plans for the Cambridge Community Garden.

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