From head to hands

Army veteran en­cour­ages others to gar­den for ther­apy

Sunshine Coast Daily - Caloundra Weekly - - NEWS - Lacee Froeschl [email protected]­news.com.au

NA­TURE is ther­apy for the soul... at least that’s what this army veteran be­lieves.

Nick Brooke served in the Royal Aus­tralian In­fantry for seven years, and af­ter be­ing med­i­cally dis­missed he en­deav­oured to find a hobby to help him “get out of his head and into his hands”.

“When I left, I went through a huge iden­tity cri­sis, so I wanted to look to­wards more holis­tic ap­proaches,” he said.

The fa­ther of one found his call­ing in gar­den­ing and has ded­i­cated his spare time to the com­mu­nity gar­den at The Farm in Meri­dan Plains.

“I’ve al­ways liked gar­den­ing. As a teenager I used to mow lawns for money in­stead of get­ting a job at McDon­ald’s,” he said.

“For me, the big­gest thing is that sense of com­mu­nity and the re­la­tion­ships you make. It’s ther­a­peu­tic.”

Nick said he no­ticed a de­tach­ment be­tween the mil­i­tary and the com­mu­nity and wanted to en­cour­age other vet­er­ans to en­gage in one way or an­other.

“There’s a lot of soul search­ing trans­fer­ring back into the com­mu­nity. It’s easy to fall into our safety net,” he said.

“But I don’t want to tell peo­ple what to do or how to do it, I’d rather show it and lead by ex­am­ple.”

The Farm own­ers Rashi and Alex Cot­trell said their mis­sion was to help shape the lives of their com­mu­nity.

“We’re tap­ping into a lot of dif­fer­ent com­mu­ni­ties, which is a vi­sion of the farm,” Mrs Cot­trell said.

On Sun­day, The Farm held its first work­ing bee to pre­pare land ready for the com­mu­nity gar­den.

“It’s been one of our vi­sions for a long time. We’re glad that Nick can find so­lace in help­ing us out as well.”

PHOTO: LACEE FROESCHL

GOOD FOR THE SOUL: Army veteran Nick Brooke uses gar­den­ing as his ther­apy. His lat­est project is help­ing The Farm at Meri­dan Plains start a com­mu­nity gar­den.

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