Community stories eNews: 26 October 2023
The Tom Price Community Garden is, by their own definition, a place to nurture community spirit, build friendships and access fresh nutritious foods that are difficult to source in the remote Pilbara region of Western Australia. They do this by hosting working bees, workshops and events, which involve locals and ‘out-of-towners’ sharing the joy of gardening and its indirect benefit on individuals’ mental and physical health.
Thanks to a Nutrien Ag Solutions $5,000 grant, awarded in 2022 this grassroots community organisation improved their ability to provide fresh food, in particular native foods, to the community and strengthened local connections by constructing a ‘Bush Tucker’ garden.
The grant was used to purchase materials for garden beds and irrigation, as well as indigenous plants. With the help of many people from different backgrounds and ages, the organisation transformed a bare, neglected piece of land into a new, relaxing tranquil garden space. Their focus on creating a ‘Bush Tucker’ space has allowed collaboration with local indigenous groups to select native food plants that thrive in the area. This collaboration not only helped volunteers connect with local First Nations people but also increased their knowledge about identifying and using indigenous foods for both nutrition and medicinal purposes.
Tania, the President of the Tom Price Community Garden Inc, wrote in their final report that it’s only when this knowledge is shared, the benefits of bush foods are passed to new generations.
“In the short term, we have used this project to educate and teach participants concepts such as regenerating soil from composting and utilising plants local to the area, however the opportunities are endless.”
Another advantage of the ‘Bush Tucker’ garden is that it has provided a space for the Rangers 4 Life group, a group of young indigenous children, to utilise the garden for learning and engaging in activities in nature. There are also plans in place for the Ashburton Aboriginal Corporation to be permanent users of the space as a skill building and social program for their members.
As the garden blossoms and start producing, the community connection is also growing as this community organisation hoped. At the Grand Opening of the site, members had a chance to reflect on the involvement of so many people along the way, including children who were wanting to know more about the different plants.