A footprint has been established at the new Inverell Community Gardens location, situated on the corner of Ross Street and Swanbrook Road, after a car park and gravel road access was laid.
The expected two-year relocation project has well and truly begun, with the dedicated, volunteer market garden team creating innovative transition gardens set up at the existing site, with entry from Arthur Street.
Inverell Community Gardens project coordinator Jane O'Brien said the up-cycled container gardens, crafted from recycled materials, were in the process of being harvested.
Mrs O'Brien said storage was next on the list of major milestones for the re-location.
"Getting the shipping containers in place for storage will be a big thing so we can start moving items down there and the building of the toilet block," she said.
During phase one of the project, Inverell Community Gardens hosted a 'Moving and Growing the Inverell Community Gardens' community conversation where local residents were invited to share their ideas.
Out of that meeting, a key focus for the new location will be centred around creating a space that promotes healthy living and well being for current and future generations.
"We know the gardens is a really safe and welcoming place for people to be and that came from people who've experienced it to date. We want that safe place to continue and for the gardens to be a place where people can contribute as much as they can or as little as they can and it doesn't matter," she said.
Also outlined during the community conversation was the enormity of the re-location project. Five volunteer groups have been set up, each tasked with different jobs to ensure a smooth transition.
With funding from Inverell Shire Council to prepare the new site and from Primary Health Network to offer coaching and mentoring through Campfire Co-op, the gardens rely heavily on passionate volunteers.
Starting with a blank canvas water, electricity, storage and garden establishment are key components that will be added to the new site. Mrs O'Brien hoped to be in a position to be able to move to the new site by the end of the year.
"With the uncertainties happening in the world right now, logistics and rules around working bees are limited right now. We're working through those challenges like everyone else," she said.
Community gardens volunteer Pete Bottom said he was excited for the greenfield experience.
"Setting up from scratch is something we can do well, document well and attract some attention. Gardening has already attracted a lot more interest since COVID-19 as far as food distribution, food security, resilience and independence.
"This has been our conversation for a long time but I've been having conversations with non-gardening type quite regularly and generally around the world there's more interest in growing your own produce and engaging with community gardens for local produce," he said.
To stay up to date with the Community Gardens, head to their Facebook page. The Arthur Street gates are open from 9am each Thursday and Saturday. You can also give Pete a call on 0402 827 288.