Cairns Campus Community Garden

TropEco Get Involved Community Gardens Cairns Campus Community Garden

Cairns Campus Community Garden

JCU Cairns Community Garden

Welcome to the JCU Cairns Community Garden webpage. Here you will find all the information you need about the garden and how you can get involved.

To stay up to date with what is happening at the garden, including upcoming events, join our Community of Gardeners Facebook page, or sign up to receive our regular ebulletins - email to subscribe.

Please note that all visitors to the garden must wear enclosed shoes. BYO hat, long sleeve shirt, sun-screen, insect repellent and water.

Mayi Tjulbin Ma Bugarra

Thank you to Djabugay Traditional Owners for giving our garden its language name, ‘Mayi Tjulbin Ma Bugarra'. The name means food and fruits, vegetables, trees and berries from the rainforest and covers all the clans of the Djabugay Nation.

How to get involved

There are many ways that you can get involved in our garden.

Join the Community Garden Working Group

You can become a member of our Community Garden Working Group. The Working Group meets monthly and is the primary governance body for the Community Garden.

Semester 2 (2017) Lunchtime series - How to create a food garden in 6 weeks!

Learn how to create a raised vegetable bed out of upcycled pallets and grow your own food. Big community feast in Week 11 to celebrate your success. Course will run once a week (1-2 hour sessions) over six weeks, starting Week 1, Semester 2. Free for students; $5 donation per session for everyone else. Email to register your interest and to find out more.

Monthly Workshop

During semester, our Garden Coordinator, Jay Jackson, runs monthly weekend workshops which we encourage everyone to attend. Each workshop has a different focus so you'll always be learning something new.

Garden at your leisure

Once you have been inducted to the site, you can just come to the garden at any time and garden at your leisure. The induction is a compulsory briefing session for all new volunteers, introducing gardeners to the site including operational requirements and responsibilities. Email to book your induction.

Garden Events Calendar

Check out our Events Calendar to find out what is happening at the garden. From workshops, to feasts, to community fun days, we have something for everyone.

Contact if you would like to organise an event at the garden.

Map of Garden Location

Our community garden is located at JCU's Cairns Campus at Smithfiled - please see our campus map for exact location.

Garden Leadership Roles

We are currently looking for people that are interested in taking on various voluntary leadership roles in the garden. We hope that these roles will allow people to be self-organising, building an active membership base around areas of interest and expertise. Example roles include:

Garden planting guide

Check out our beautiful new Community Garden Planting Guide! This has been put together by Jay Jackson, our amazing Garden Coordinator, and informed by past and present students and staff, and members of the Cairns community.

Community garden members can use this diagram to guide their individual and / or group garden activities including sourcing stock, seed collection and propagation, and planting out the garden. The Planting Guide is a living document that will be updated regularly as our community garden evolves.

We’d love to hear your feedback and ideas – email

Call for plant donations

Do you have any plants that you would like to donate the garden? We are after a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and herbs.

Please let us know if you can donate any of the plants on our stock list, or if you have other plants that you think would be a good match for our tropical food garden. We are also looking for vegetable and herb seedlings to plant in our soon-to-be built raised vegetable beds.

Please email to donate.

Get Inducted to Get Gardening

Anyone wishing to become a member of the JCU Cairns Community Garden or volunteer at the garden site must first participate in a Community Garden Induction. The induction is a compulsory briefing session, introducing gardeners to the site including operational requirements and the responsibilities of all garden users.

Please email to organise a time for your induction.

Governance and Management

JCU Community Garden Working Group

The JCU Community Garden is governed by a Working Group. The purpose of the Working Group is to report to and provide direction and recommendations to the Dean of Research Infrastructure, who is responsible for the Environmental Research Complex (ERC) where the garden is located.

The Working Group is comprised of JCU staff, students, and may include Cairns community members. A Staff representative of the Working Group reports on matters arising and the Working Group’s recommendations internally.

The Objectives of the Working Group are to:

  1. Provide a community inclusive garden facility within the JCU governance structure.
  2. Provide advice on the strategic development and long-term management of the garden.
  3. Oversee the ongoing maintenance and upkeep of the garden.
  4. Foster awareness and involvement by the campus and Cairns communities.
  5. Ensure effective feedback and communication between the Working Group, garden stakeholders and JCU decision makers.

Operational Requirements

The James Cook University (JCU) Cairns Community Garden Operational Guidelines provide an overarching guide for the responsible management and use of the Community Garden located at JCU’s Cairns Campus. The Guidelines are a working draft document that will be updated on a regular basis as required.

Site Rules & Code of Conduct

  • All site users must comply with the rules, procedures and processes outlined in the JCU Cairns Community Garden Operational Guidelines.
  • All site users will behave in a way that aligns with the garden objectives and values.
  • The garden is a shared community space - site users will respect the rights and opportunities of those around them.
  • Anyone wishing to become a member of the JCU Cairns Community Garden or volunteer at the garden must first participate in a Community Garden Induction (see tabs above for details).
  • The Garden will generally be unsupervised; children must be accompanied by a responsible adult at all times.
  • Smoking is prohibited.
  • The consumption of alcohol in the garden is only allowed during approved events and must adhere to the JCU Consumption of Alcohol on University Property policy and procedure - see link  for application form.
  • Events must be pre-approved by the Community Garden Working Group, including provisions for the consumption of alcohol at the garden.
  • Unauthorised animals are not allowed on site.
  • Unauthorised activities such as parties or sleep-outs are not allowed.
  • No illegal activities.
  • Camping is prohibited.
  • No amenity and noise disturbance (loud music etc.)