How does everything work here? – Part 1: Participation

One of the most common questions we get from people visiting the site for the first time is – “How does everything work here?”

In this blog series, we’ll provide short post on each and every aspect of our operations and hopefully get you to understanding how things work at CSCG on a daily basis.


When people contact us via email or phone, or more usually via dropping by,  we find out what it is that they want to do and match that with the tasks we need to be working on. Ideally people will be happy to slot in with whatever task needs doing at the time.

Some people want a small taste of the type of work done on a community gardens or are only available for a short time, others are looking to find a suitable social group to engage with, others just like the outdoor work and /or the feeling of group cooperation towards a common goal.

Volunteer days are currently Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday 11am – 3pm. This means the sheds are open  and tools available. Unless you are a very experienced gardener – we would prefer you  garden with us initially and get a sense of what tasks are available and likewise we get a sense of your skill level.

Popular days are Thursday and Saturday when we put on a worker’s lunch. Tuesday and Wednesday people bring their own lunch. We discuss the work to be done on the hoof and allocate according to skill level and preference.

With the exception of a couple of small plots planted by pre-schools , the work is done collectively. It is not common for people to garden directly for plants and produce but the option is there. The staff and key volunteers decide what and how much volunteers can have.

We also provide training. You can request to learn something specific and someone may be available to spend some time with you on this if it fits in with our daily work of nursery work, compost and crop production.

We enjoy getting physically, mentally and socially involved with this project and strongly believe in the value of retaining essential horticultural and self sufficiency skills for the benefit of future generations.

The future indeed may be very dirty, with work that involves getting hands dirty being valued rather than vilified. Dr Susan Krumdiek, an engineering expert in Alternative Energy, Canterbury University) stated in a seminar I once went to, that in the future, sustainable communities will have specialist community food producers who also manage community waste. As we seek to minimise our carbon footprint and become less car-dependent, vital decentralised fresh food producing hubs will form.