Garden helps to build a healthy community
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.