The CCS Disability Action community garden has broadened its horizons under the sustainable eye of supervisor Scott Thiemann
In a solid brick shed at the end of the garden, Brendan Murphy sharpens blades and fixes broken tools. If the weather is warm, he helps to weed the raised beds to give the cabbages and silverbeet et more space to grow, and finishes other odd jobs around CCS Disability ity Action’s community garden.
“I used to work in an office and wished I was working outside,” Mr Murphy says.
“My health deteriorated and working nine to five was really hard, d, and I eventually lost my job because I couldn’t keep up.
“But now I come here and the people work around your physical capabilities. “It’s not about how much you can do in a certain amount of time.” e.” The CCS Disability Action garden in Royal Oak has been tended to by those with disabilities for over 20 years, but garden supervisor Scott Thiemann is encouraging anyone who wants to help to be involved.
“Traditionally the garden has been for the people who use our services, but over the last few years we’ve opened it up to everyone who wants to volunteer,” says Mr Thiemann.
“For us this place is about sustainability, accessibility and inclusion. We want this to be a place where everyone is welcome.
“The raised beds make it easier for those with disabilities to do some gardening, and it’s much easier if you’re a bit older to pick weeds out of a raised bed rather than the ground,” he says.
After the August cold snap, and the seasonal change, the winter crops are nearly finished with but the greenhouse is full of seedlings, and small bananas have appeared on several banana plants.
Herbs are growing in abundance, as well more unusual fruits, like chokos and guavas.
Some of the h strawberry t awberry plants are already flowering, and the young lemon trees are covered with fruit.
Everything from the garden is reused – old bathtubs are used as planters and the gardeners make their own compost and fertiliser.
As well as supplying volunteers with vegetables, the produce is sold in the garden shop four days a week, and every quarter CCS Disability Action hosts a market day.
Mr Thiemann also organises gardening and cooking classes to teach people how to grow and create meals from the produce.
“It’s about being as sustainable as we can. We are looking at setting up some more gardens for other community groups to use.
“People come here to make a real connection to the earth, and it is a place that gives people space to be creative and give them self esteem as they watch something grow.”