Gar­den helps to build a healthy com­mu­nity

Wangaratta Chronicle - - What's On This Weekend - BY SIMONE KERWIN

GEN­ER­A­TIONS are be­ing brought to­gether by a com­mu­nity gar­den es­tab­lished at Wangaratta’s Swan Court.

Iden­ti­fied by res­i­dents of the Bapt­care Af­ford­able Hous­ing com­mu­nity as a project they would like to tackle to­gether, the gar­den was cre­ated with the help of a $3000 grant from Gate­way Health’s Grow Your Idea pro­gram, which utilised funds from the Fed­eral De­part­ment of So­cial Ser­vices.

Bernard and Linda Blumel, Ur­ban Seed com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment work­ers, have been based in the Swan Street units since July last year, pro­vid­ing lifestyle and per­sonal sup­port for the 45 res­i­dents.

They say the gar­den space has been a boon for de­vel­op­ing com­mu­nity spirit among a group of peo­ple rang­ing in age from pre-school­ers to a 91 year old, who live in the 27 units in Swan Court.

“We have singles, cou­ples, sin­gle par­ents, and even those who aren’t into gardening bring their cuppa down or bake some­thing, and con­ver­sa­tions are hap­pen­ing while oth­ers are work­ing,” Linda said.

The area fea­tures gar­den beds planted out with veg­eta­bles and herbs, a lower bed tai­lor-made for chil­dren to get in­volved, and chairs that HEALTHY PROJECT: Linda and Bernard Blumel in the com­mu­nity gar­den es­tab­lished at the rear of Swan Court, with the help of fund­ing from the Grow Your Idea grant pro­gram. PHOTO: Emma Hil­lier en­able older res­i­dents to sit and chat with gar­den­ers.

Linda said the fo­cus of the gar­den was on healthy eat­ing, and it had al­ready made an im­pact, with res­i­dents en­cour­aged to drop by and se­lect veg­eta­bles and herbs to use in their home cook­ing.

“If we have an abun­dant har­vest, we’ll de­liver pro­duce to the res­i­dents,” Linda said.

“Peo­ple have tried veg­eta­bles they have never tried be­fore – sil­ver­beet in par­tic­u­lar has been very pop­u­lar.”

She said recipe shar­ing among res­i­dents had been an­other by-prod­uct of the gar­den’s de­vel­op­ment.

“Peo­ple have shared ideas on how to use zucchini, in­clud­ing in sal­ads that we en­joyed at a re­cent bar­be­cue in our meet­ing place,” Linda said.

With plans to add bistro blinds to the meet­ing place, which is a com­mu­nal pav­il­ion within sight of the gar­den, and cre­ate a path through the gar­den space, Bernard and Linda said the con­cept would con­tinue to evolve.

“Our com­mu­nity has re­ally come to­gether around this project,” Bernard said.

“And it’s great to have the space be­ing used.”

BUILD­ING COM­MU­NITY: Shane O’Con­nell, Keana Bar­low, Matt Meloury and Mick Walker show the boun­ti­ful pro­duce in their gar­den, which in­cludes a low gar­den bed for kids to plant out, and re­pur­posed out­door chairs for older res­i­dents to sit and chat with those work­ing in the space. PHOTO: Emma Hil­lier

MORE and more peo­ple are dis­cov­er­ing the health ben­e­fits of wal­nuts, of­ten re­ferred to as a “brain food” be­cause of their high lev­els of omega-3 fatty acids.

Fresh wal­nuts also hap­pen to taste great, as Myrrhee wal­nut farm­ers Mike Burston and Carol Kunert know bet­ter than most.

They had a great sea­son this year but it hasn’t al­ways been the case, the pair hav­ing ex­pe­ri­enced all the highs and lows that come when your busi­ness is weather de­pen­dent.

They share their story and de­ter­mi­na­tion to pro­duce the per­fect wal­nut in the spring edi­tion of North East Liv­ing Mag­a­zine.

The lat­est edi­tion also in­cludes a visit to Chiltern where we dis­cover the work of artist Kir­rily An­der­son who has taken up res­i­dence at Pa­per Trail Stu­dio in the main street.

The edi­tion also fea­tures Lin­ton Briggs talk­ing about the his­tory of old Glen­rowan, looks around an en­ergy ef­fi­cient home in Wangaratta and takes a tour of one of Ruther­glen’s old­est and small­est winer­ies with Arthur and Mandy Jones at Jones Win­ery.

There is also food to in­spire from North East chefs David Ka­pay at Miss Amelie and Si­mon Ark­less at All Saints Es­tate Ter­race Restau­rant.

North East Liv­ing Mag­a­zine is avail­able now from lo­cal out­lets in­clud­ing Edgar’s Newsagency in Mur­phy Street and Yar­runga Newsagency in Vin­cent Road for only $5.50.

sker­win@ ne­me­dia.com.au

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