Garden sows seeds of good health
More than 100 people from 28 countries will soon be hearing all about the Lismore Community Garden when project officer Linda Wirf travels to the international Healthy Parks Healthy People Congress in Melbourne to extol its virtues.
The aim of the Congress, which runs from April 11-16, is to explore the way nature significantly contributes to health, wellbeing and broader societal benefits.
Linda believes the Lismore Community Garden, which was established just last year, is already having a positive impact on the community’s health.
“Within only a short time, the Lismore Community Garden has connected people through shared interests, knowledge and working together. We just conducted a survey and we’re getting really positive comments about people feeling more connected to their community through the garden,” Linda said. “It has been especially great for people who don’t have space for their own garden, people who live alone and older or frail people who cannot manage a garden of their own.
“We’re still very new but already the garden is proving to be a great way to help people relax, eat more healthily and show local residents how to make the most of their backyards.”
The Lismore Community Garden has several features including a raised disability garden and a shared garden area where community members work together and then share in the produce. There are also demonstration gardens where people can see and experience various gardening methods.
Linda will do a half hour presentation for the delegates about the burgeoning garden and plans for the future.
“It puts Lismore and our community garden on the international map,” Linda said. “Lismore’s quite a small place, and for a regional garden to get that kind of international profile is very exciting. There’ll also be lots of other people there with experience of community gardens, and I’m sure we’ll bring back new ideas and inspiration to help us grow our garden even better.”
The Lismore Community Garden was set up with funding from the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing. Linda said the two organisations that established the garden, Rainbow Region Community Farms and the Northern Rivers Social Development Council, are hoping to establish other community gardens in the region based on the Lismore model. The idea is for each garden to provide work experience opportunities and create part time employment as well as foster a sense of community spirit and partnership.