G.R.O.W community garden brought to life

THE final sod has been turned, the vegetables have all been planted and the flowers are ready to bloom in Clarendon Vale’s fully finished G.R.O.W community garden and outdoor classroom.

Spearheaded by Mission Australia Housing, the Gardens and Recipes for Our World (G.R.O.W) community garden project was brought to life with support from Rokeby High School students, Conservation Volunteers Australia and members of the local Child and Family Centre, Community Centre and Men’s Shed.

Officially opened in April, the 2,500 square-metre garden features an orchard, vegetable gardens, bush tucker, community spaces, artwork, a pizza oven and “break out” educational and performance spaces.

Disability access is also catered for, with the garden bed suitable for use by people of all abilities.

Mission Australia program manager Andrew Doube said the project had been a “labour of love” initiated by Mission Australia Housing and overseen by a steering committee of local community members.

Mr Doube said the garden would now provide an inclusive place “where people in the community can gather, celebrate, grow and harvest food.”

“The G.R.O.W community garden is truly a whole community event,” he said.

“It brings together design elements echoing Clarence Plains’ agricultural and Aboriginal history, reaching back to the Mu-henna Oyster Bay people, as well as the more recent farming community.

“We hope to teach children about the land and share a sense of connection to the earth.”

Clarendon Vale Primary School teacher aid Roxanne McIntyre, who has been actively involved in the program, said the new community garden linked in with the school’s gardening option for students.

“Every student from kindergarten onwards is involved in the gardening option at some point during the year,” she said.

“It is important for them to understand where their food comes from and how to grow it.

“During the implementation of the G.R.O.W Community Garden project, every student was asked what they wanted to see included, which means the garden is truly a part of the school and a part of them.”

Project steering committee member Michael Preddy said the G.R.O.W community garden was an “exciting” initiative for the wider community.

“It will engage and entertain the people of Clarence Plains, supplying both physical and spiritual rewards,” he said.

“It is just the beginning of what we foresee for the Clarence Plains community in the future.”

Caption: From left, Mission Australia program manager Andrew Doube, Marie Crick, Matt Durose, Sue Briggs and Rosemary Johnson cut the cake at the official opening of the Clarendon Vale G.R.O.W community garden and outdoor classroom.