Links Community Garden co-ordinator Matthew Odgers loves living in Lalor. He speaks with Laura Michell.
What’s your connection to Whittlesea?
I’ve lived in Lalor for the past six years or so, probably for much the same reason many others have – we wanted to buy, Lalor was a little further out, but we could afford to buy a real family-sized home.
What do you like about where you live?
I love that Lalor seem to be the suburb that time forgot. Lalor shops are a bustling little shopping centre with real greengrocers, butchers and bulk shops, people congregating near some public seating for what you know has been decades of chit chat, people picking olives from public trees to bottle at home and yards big enough to grow whatever you could want.
What, if anything would you like to change?
I don’t so much want to change anything, as I want to make sure the tradition of being a good neighbour and knowing everyone in your street is here to stay and, if anything, those bonds grow even stronger.
How did you become involved in the Links Community Garden?
After years of saying “Why doesn’t someone do something with that wasted space?” I made a small change and said “Why don’t I do something with that wasted space?” and that started a journey that led step by step to being the founder of Links Community Garden.
Why are spaces such as community gardens important in your opinion?
I think communities need to have spaces that belong to them. Yes, when the council builds a park it’s great, but it’s always the council’s park, they run it as they see fit. However with this, it’s our park, it’s our garden, our space, our community. We get to decide and that sense of ownership is so important if you really want to feel that you belong.
Apart from the community garden, where is your favourite local place to spend time?
That’s easy, being at home with my family, sounds corny I know, but home is where the heart is.