Kirsten Muir is grateful to local businesses who donate seeds, plants and other gardening products to the community garden on Ross St
Kirsten Muir is grateful to local businesses who donate seeds, plants and other gardening products to the community garden on Ross St Jann Houley

Jack's neighbourhood legacy bears fruit in Yeppoon

LOCAL gardeners hastened to spread straw under their tomato plants to prevent dirt splashing the young fruit should an afternoon storm sweep into Yeppoon on Wednesday.

Kirsten Muir and Berni Jakstas, who live "over the road and up the road” have seen the Ross Street plot grow from bare lawn last year to a meeting place for people from all over the region.

Berni Jakstas at Jack's Paddock in Yeppoon
Berni Jakstas at Jack's Paddock in Yeppoon Jann Houley

They are working on the raised vegetable beds which have been constructed on site the last few months from corrugated iron and recycled timber.

Jack's Paddock is one of many community gardens cropping up around Central Queensland, to keep an increasingly urbanised population close to its roots.

"This plot was donated to the local council by a lovely man named Jack Skinner around the 1930s, I believe,” Kirsten Muir said.

"He could see the town was growing and he wanted to maintain a place kids could come and play.”

Locals make kids play out of tree planting earlier this year at Jack's Paddock
Locals make kids play out of tree planting earlier this year at Jack's Paddock contributed

The land was nearly sold out from under them but locals "kicked up a bit of a stink” and now they count Livingstone Shire Council among their greatest supporters.

The council donated the rainwater tank on the corner block after the community group secured a licence to farm it last December.

Since then, they have received a slew of other donations from local businesses including the plumbers and bobcat operators who have installed mains plumbing around the block's perimeter.

Planting out the raised beds is family fun at Jack's Paddock
Planting out the raised beds is family fun at Jack's Paddock contributed

The tomato plants are a gift from Di Kerr who has a stall at Yeppoon markets every weekend.

There are working bees on site every Wednesday morning, and a different program on offer the first Sunday of every month.

More than a dozen fruit trees have doubled in size since they were planted during a working bee earlier this year, involving volunteers from High Valley Dawn permaculture and other coastal groups.

The community gathered to begin the fruit free orchard earlier this year at Jack's Paddock
The community gathered to begin the fruit free orchard earlier this year at Jack's Paddock contributed

"There's been some amazing outcomes in such a short time,” Ms Muir said.

"Getting to know each other and bringing our children here to play together builds a real sense of resilience in the community.

"The kids have come up with the idea of building a 'feely path' of native habitat they can walk on barefoot so that's our next big project.”

Future plans for the suburban gardens at Yeppoon
Future plans for the suburban gardens at Yeppoon contributed

The garden's also part of the Stepping Stones program which motivates people in urban areas to plant habitat for birds and insects.



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