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Community Greening

Since its inception in 2000, Community Greening has reached more than 100,000 participants including adults and children to promote communal garden projects.

Community Greening have a commitment to take its expertise ‘beyond the garden walls’ and serve the broader community through innovative outreach programs. For residents of all ages we facilitate community-led gardens in social housing estates across New South Wales with garden projects in regional areas as far as Bourke, Kempsey, Illawarra, Taree, Albury, Griffith, Lismore and Inverell.

Sponsored by the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) this program empowers vulnerable communities while providing a broad range of health, training, economic and social benefits. The demand for Community Greening continues to grow, so our aim is to deliver 850 gardens and engage 150,000 participants by 2023.

The Community Greening team are seeking Expressions of Interest from schools, early childhood centres and community groups in bushfire affected areas in Southern NSW who would like to create their own garden. Visit Sowing Seeds of Hope for more details.

For 20 years we have strived to promote social cohesion and help communities tackle adversity through the joy of gardening - all while creating future advocates for the environment.

Phil Pettitt, Community Greening Manager

Specific population groups – urban deprived populations, disadvantaged social groups, minority ethnic groups, those over the age of 65, and disabled people – are all less likely to visit green spaces. Their reasons include poor maintenance of public spaces, inadequate facilities and fears over safety.

Read about Community Greening and Mission Australia's Benjamin Short Grove aged care facility who recently won the Australian Institute of Horticulture Green Space Regional Award for creating an inviting and interactive garden for the residents to connect. 

Meet a few Community Greening participants and learn how the program changed their lives in the video and Branch Out podcast below.


Parks and Leisure AustraliaThe Australian Institute of Horticulture, The Urban Developer and Keep Australia Beautiful have all recognised the outstanding program for the way it proactively provides garden-based learning for social housing communities.

Well, I know with me, I feel like I'm part of the community now, and I didn't feel like I was a part of it until now.

Local Community Greening participant

Recent research 

Community Greening recently announced a research study with Western Sydney University across five new garden sites. This is the first time such data on the Community Greening program has been collected in this way, and has the potential to advance our understanding about the impact of community gardening on health, wellbeing and sense of community.

The key aims of the program are to: 

  • Improve physical health
  • Improve mental health
  • Reduce anti-social behaviour
  • Build community cohesion
  • Tackle economic disadvantage
  • Promote understanding of native food plants
  • Conserve the environment
  • Provide skills training to enable opportunities for the future
  • Sharing expert knowledge of the Garden.

 When Community Greening participants were surveyed about direct impacts in their lives, the feedback demonstrated 85% positive effect on health and 91% said it had a positive effect on their community; 73% are exercising more and 61% are eating better.

The research infographic can be viewed here

Get involved, stay connected

Community Greening is a non-profit program, which depends on government funding and private donations to operate.

Click here for more information on how to setup a community garden in your own neighbourhood, discover how to set up your own composting, or download our brochure to make gardening more accessible.

Read more about the offspring program, Youth Community Greening here.

Meet the team changing the lives of people across NSW below.

Phil Pettitt is part educator, part horticultural advisor, but principally is a community development worker and problem solver. He has over 20 years’ experience in the horticulture sector and has provided high level horticultural services to the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney and the Office of the Governor and Historic Houses Trust. Phil now coordinators the Community Green program, working in partnership with many NGOs, local and state government services to inspire and educate social housing residents in community gardening.

Brenden Moore has qualifications in horticulture, Aboriginal Studies as well as Community and Social Development. Through his skills and experience he inspires NSW Housing tenants to establish kitchen and display gardens, works with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities such as the Thurawal Aboriginal Corporation in Western Sydney, Juvenile Justice Centres and schools to reconnect with nature and the environment, learn about native plants, bush regeneration, gardening, health and wellbeing.

Peter Dawe has been the Youth Community Greening Coordinator for the Royal Botanic Gardens for the last four years and has been delivering environmental education to students and communities for the last 30 years. This experience combined with a Masters of Environmental Management, Bachelor of Education and Diploma of Sustainability provide him with the expertise, knowledge and passion to deliver such an important message and program.

In 2004 with a degree in Creative Arts, Masters in Adult Education and a Certificate three each in Permaculture and Land & Conservation management, Paddie Lane began teaching an Urban Food Growing course for Petersham TAFE Outreach, Sydney. Core to this role was designing and delivering urban food growing courses across Sydney and the Illawarra. Paddie has taught a range of diverse groups, aging from preschool through to fourth year university teachers teaching nature-based education outdoor activities. In 2017 she worked with Community Greening to co deliver with Phil Pettitt the Master Gardener courses and in 2018 to join the Community Greening team, pleased to be part of a local and global movement of gardeners intent on growing gardens where affordable, locally nutritious food can be found along with the community who grew it.
Darren Martin joined the Community Greening team in October 2018 after being a primary school teacher for 24 years. While teaching in primary schools, Darren was a passionate advocate for environmental issues and providing students with meaningful opportunities to grow food in safe and healthy environments. It was during this time, that he met the Community Greening team and established a relationship based on mutual values that continues today. Darren combines his qualifications in horticulture and permaculture to provide Community Greening clients with personalised hands-on activities that enrich their gardening experiences and builds community.

Ailee Calderbank has a passion for the environment, a fascination with weeds, grasses, groundcovers, bush foods and anything edible, with a love of nature sprouted as a child. Saturdays were always the big gardening day when her grandparents would visit and help in the garden providing fresh vegetables for the family. Her dad let her have her own little patch where she grew violets and they remain her favourite flowers to this day.

With diplomas and certificates in Horticulture and Conservation and Land Management Ailee has worked in many aspects of both fields, in nurseries, garden maintenance, bush regeneration and as a Landcare coordinator. She also has a background in training at TAFE and other organisations delivering training and support in natural area management, outreach education for gardeners and horticulture certificates. Ailee thrives on engaging with the community, sharing and learning with the Community Greening family.

She has a long history of volunteering both as a participant and a trainer in sporting clubs, school gardens, music festivals and environmental restoration.
Adina Oosterwijk joins the Community Greening team from the Education team. Adina comes from generations of women who grow food and flowers and feel deep connections to nature.  With a background in Family Sciences and Child Development, she has applied her qualifications in permaculture and horticulture to working in environmental education. From designing and delivering joyful and sustainable gardening education in Montessori environments, coordinating community and education programs at an innovative urban farm on formerly derelict crown land,  working in horticulture and education at The Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, and programming and delivering Seedlings Nature School at The Australian Botanic Garden, she has never had a job she didn’t love. The community of skilled, passionate, and curious people who love plants and soil are a constant inspiration.
Benjamin Short Grove
Benjamin Short Grove wins Green Space Award
In 2020 the Australian Institute of Horticulture announced Benjamin Short Grove as winners of their Green Space (Regional) Award. Since 2017, Community Greening and Mission Australia staff have worked together with residents to foster a thriving, peaceful garden, featuring a variety of plants they have propagated together, a frog pond, art installations, habitat stations for local wildlife and tranquil places to sit and enjoy the sun. Read more.
Find out more

Central Sydney Region

Kings Cross
Wayside Chapel, 29 Hughes St, Kings Cross
Main Contact: Wendy Suma
Ph: 9358 6577

St Johns Maroubra, Maroubra Rd, Maroubra
Main Contact: Mary Anne Cameron, Anglicare

Kooloora Community Centre Permaculture Garden, 167 Bilga Cres, Malabar
Ph: 9661 9160

Newtown Community Garden, Longdown St
Main Contact: Ian Ferrie
Mob: 0409 907 634

Poets Corner
Main Contact: Anna Kovic
Ph: 0401 774 559

Riverwood Community Garden, Belmore Rd Nth
Main Contact: HCAP Riverwood Community Centre
Ph: 9533 0100

Leon Lachal Reserve Community Garden, Maloney St
Main Contact: Edith Nowman
Mob: 0423 505 953

Cook, Marton and Solander Gardens
Main Contact: Anna Kovic
Ph: 0401 774 559

ACON Eden Garden, Uniting Church, 56A Raglan St 
Main Contact: Keith Ferguson
Mob: 0407 780 134

Greater Western Region

Airds Tharawal Aboriginal Co-operative, 187 Riverside Dr
Ph:  4640 3534
Local Enterprise Centre, 86A Greengate Rd 

Auburn Centre for Community Friendship Garden, 44A Macquarie Road, Auburn,
Main Contact:  8757 9028, email:

Bidwill Community Garden and Nursery, Chestnut Cres
Main Contact: Marjorie Mead
Ph: 0424 312 057

Chester Hill
Chester Hill Community Garden: cnr Waldron St and Hector St
Mob: 0409 906 216

Claymore Community Garden, Community Enterprise Park, 2 Dobell Rd

Holy Family Church, cnr Emert Pde and Weber Cres
Main Contact: Ray Donaldson
Mob:0447 229 904

Harris Park
John Irving Park, Jordan St, Rosehill
Main Contact: Ronda Evenden
Ph: 9635 0157

Macquarie Fields
Men’s Shed Garden, Anglican Church, 32 Edgar St, Glenquarie

2168 Organic Community Garden and Orchard, Cabramatta Ave
Main Contact: Jeff Lovett
Ph: 9607 8669

Mount Annan
Macarthur Centre for Sustainable Living, 1 Mt Annan Dr
Main Contact: Helen Byfield-Fleming
Mob: 0418 662 941

Tallowood Community Nursery, 2 Littimer Way
Main Contact: Margaret Bourke
Mob: 0431 731 094

Telopea Community Garden, Dundas Area Neighbourhood Centre, 21 Sturt St
Main Contact: Keith
Ph: 9684 4250

Villawood Community Garden
Cnr Binna Burra and Urana St
Ph 02 9724 3807

Wentworthville Community Garden, 73  Fullager Rd
Main Contact: Robyn Main
Web contact:

Southern & Western Region

Barrack Heights
Barrack Heights Community Garden, cnr Wattle St and Carrington St
Main Contact: Cliff Ball
Ph: 0428 106 478

32C Popes Rd
Main Contact: Junes James

Northern Region

Kempsey South
Kempsey Family Community Centre
Main Contact: Mavis Symonds
Ph: 6562 1409

Bateau Bay
KBT (Killarney Vale/Bateau Bay/Tumbi Umbi) Community Nursery   
7 Debra Anne Dr, Bateau Bay
Main contact: Pauline

Uniting Church, Feed My People Community Garden
Main Contact: Cherylea Pritchard
Ph: 67 521 170 / 67 527 152

Granny Munro Park, Coledale
Main Contact: Paul Moxon

Spotted Gum Reserve, Bushland Drive
Main Contact- Enid Minett
Ph: 65 516 130

Wyoming Community Centre
147 Maidens Brush Rd, Wyoming
Main Contact- Manager
Ph: 43237483