Since January 2019 a group of Karen and Karenni women have been meeting each week at the Hope Community garden at Diversitat’s Northern Community Hub to learn and share their gardening skills with each other. The group has been guided by Liz Yough who is an experienced horticulturist and community worker. The aim of this program has been to facilitate a safe and nurturing space where participants can share knowledge of traditional food farming and create a food garden, feel socially connected and improve their well-being.
This initiative has showed already some great outcomes among the Karen/Karenni community, including an increasing number of participants in addition to family members and friends also wanting to come along, getting to know each other and expressing they are feeling useful and have something look forward every week.
There are already beautiful winter vegetable paddocks ready to be harvested, thank God for the rain! The group has visited other community gardens at the Werribee Mansion Karen garden and Anglesea Community garden and also has organised some winter cook ups. They have also been learning more about Victorian climate and environment for growing whilst they practice English and learn the names of edible foods in English.
The program has also received a donation from our neighbours at Bunnings North Geelong which included two garden hoses, two hose reals, bags of soil and a watering nozzle. This donation has been very valuable and appreciated by the group and we hope this is the start of a successful partnership between Bunnings and Diversitat in support of the communities accessing the Hope garden.
Thank you to Sarah Wilson, Community Liasion worker at Bunnings, Liz Young for her amazing support to the group and all the participants of the social gardening program who have make this project possible and very successful.
Written by Yineth Moreno – Multicultural Mental Health & Well being Worker