Mona Victory Gardens Competition

Mona Victory Gardens Project, Kirsha Kaechele, 2020. Photograph: Jesse Hunniford. Courtesy Mona Museum of Old and New Art

Once upon a time Mona, the Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania had a lovely sprawling green lawn, which was used for the museum’s market and concert gatherings and for visitors to relax into a beanbag with a glass of wine and enjoy the magnificent architecture and outdoor spaces of the museums grounds. But, at the decree of social distancing regulations due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the deserted lawns were deemed ‘now useless’ by Mona’s social engagements leader Kirsha Kaechele, also playfully dubbed the ‘Queen of Mona’.

“Mona closed and we had this giant lawn just sitting there. I’ve always hated lawns. I mean, obviously the Mona lawn served a valuable purpose and was quite pleasant on a sunny day. But then, there it was, empty, and I knew it would remain so for many months. I believe in growing food any time! But when crisis hits it is definitely time to dig up the lawn and get the vegetables in,” she said.

“40 percent of America’s food was grown in victory gardens after World War II. That is amazing. So here we are in a beautiful part of the world at a time when we need to avoid public spaces. Well, create your own backyard paradise. In fact we’ve decided to run a competition (with prizes, of course) for the best torn-up lawn garden.”

Mona victory gardens project, Kirsha Kaechele, 2020. Courtesy Kirsha Kaechele and Mona 5

Kaechele has a deep passion for food, nutrition and gardening and is the founder of the 24 Carrot Gardens Project, which is currently thriving across 15 Tasmanian schools, and in two neighbourhoods in New Orleans. The Mona initiative was designed to involve children and communities in the processes of growing and cooking healthy produce, and eating nutritious food grown from the fruits of their labours. Visit the 24 Carrot Gardens Project website to find out more and to read about the Social Enterprise initiatives including Market Stalls, Pop-up Cafes and the Munch Machine, as well as Soap, Beauty and Fashion schemes.

Mona victory gardens project, Kirsha Kaechele, 2020. Courtesy Kirsha Kaechele and Mona 4

Using her own green thumb powers to bring the abandoned lawn to life, Kaechele has been literally churning up the soil to create a flourishing ‘Victory Garden’ for the museum and is challenging households across the country to do the same.

From the home of Mona atop the Berriedale peninsula in Hobart, Kaechele and her team invite you to dig-up your own patch of soil and enter the ‘Victory Gardens’ competition by sharing the progress of your earthly delights on Instagram and be in the running to win weekly prizes with the chance to take out the big one. The major prize will be awarded for the best Victory Garden transformation.

Remember to take a photo before you get started and post the progress of your labours on Instagram using the hashtag @monavictorygardens. Here you can also follow the delectable makeover of Mona’s lawn and catch a glimpse of the zany gardening antics of Kaechele.

The competition closes on August 1 and the winner will be announced on Instagram. Click here to read the full terms and conditions.