Community Garden Conversations

Episode 1 May 16, 2022 00:28:21
Community Garden Conversations
Choice and Control
Community Garden Conversations

May 16 2022 | 00:28:21

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Here at Carers Queensland, we’re growing access and inclusion, and where better to grow things than a garden?

We're working with community gardens to help them attract green thumbs with disability and make sure everybody’s welcome and has equal opportunity to get their hands dirty.

In this look at our Community Gardens Conversations project, you'll hear from:

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Speaker 0 00:00:00 Everybody has rights, but sometimes it's not easy to speak up and advocate for yourself. It takes confidence, resilience, knowing your rights and knowing someone has your back. Be the voice you want to be can help. It's a free program from carers Queensland. For people with disability, it'll build your skills, help you be a strong advocate for yourself, your family and friends, maybe even your community along the way. You'll build a peer network. So you have a squad to support you speaking up, find out more, get in touch or look for events and opportunities coming up near you. Visit our [email protected] AU or call our inquiries line on one, three hundred nine six three six, Speaker 0 00:00:51 Joyce and control a podcast, celebrating people with disability brought to you by carers Queensland, N D I S local area coordination partner in the community. We're growing access and inclusion, and we are better to grow things than a garden. Carers Queensland is working with community gardens to help them attract green thumbs with disability and make sure everybody's welcome and has equal opportunity to get their hands dirty. That includes Yara BBA community garden. In Logan. It's been quiet for a couple of years, but is now budding back to life. Thanks to the new organizer. Taisha Bolton Taisha discovered the garden while she was reinventing her life. After acquiring disability, Speaker 2 00:01:35 I didn't really start getting involved properly with the community garden until I became unwell and was unable to work. And that was last year, I was struggling really bad with my mental health. I wasn't leaving the house cuz of my disability. Um, I was feeling really isolated and lonely bored. I had to get used to my new body and a lot of my hobbies I could no longer do anymore. So my partner and I had a bit of a discussion and um, we decided we'd look into a hobby we can do together. And we thought the community garden would be the best option because I love gardening and I was missing it really bad with my symptoms. I am very limited to what I can do. So my partner and carer Thomas said he would help me. So we started going to the community garden together. It's mostly me sitting there watching him, but that has also been amazing. Um, for my mental health, just clearing my head, getting out of the house, socializing and just enjoying gardening Speaker 0 00:02:47 And as well as going to the garden and being there and seeing what goes on you then became involved in the leadership of the org of the organization. Is that right? Speaker 2 00:02:59 Yes. When we started going to the garden last year, the group that had the garden, they were actually making the decision to give it up. They were giving up the lease. It was completely abandoned. The garden looked like a forest of weeds. So we got in contact with the council, asking what was going on for about three months. We were searching, trying to find a new group to help ORs the garden. We had no luck. So we ended up deciding to take it on ourselves and we created our own incorporated group to take on the garden. We didn't wanna see the garden go to waste. It had so much potential. It's currently the applications with the council at the moment. We're just waiting on approval. Speaker 0 00:03:45 Wow. That's a big step. Speaker 2 00:03:47 Yeah. We're excited. Hopefully it can be a big part of the community. You know, there's a lot of, especially with what's going on with the world. Now, a lot of people in need, so it would be amazing to have fresh produce available for those in need. We have a lot of pantry food available, you know, community pantries in the area, but we don't have any fresh produce. So that would be amazing for the community. Speaker 0 00:04:11 What would you say to other people with disability or chronic illness about getting involved with a community garden? Speaker 2 00:04:18 Try not to let your disability stop. You don't feel like because you can't do what the average person can do that you shouldn't go it's okay. If you're just sitting there and watching or doing tiny little bits, just go and enjoy the environment, enjoy watching others. You might have to do things in a different way, but that's completely okay. It's there for us to enjoy. And it's a perfect opportunity for those with disabilities. Cuz we tend to struggle with our mental health. That's a perfect opportunity for us to get out in the community and do something new Speaker 0 00:04:58 On the other side, looking at it from the gardens perspective, what can the gardens do to be more accessible or to make people with different needs more welcome. Speaker 2 00:05:06 I think it's important that you have an online presence. I personally, when I wanna go somewhere, I need to contact them first. I need to look on their Facebook page or their website. I need to make sure that their wheelchair friendly that I can actually go there. So if you've got a Facebook page or a website writing that your wheelchair accessible or having contact information so that they can contact you, that's really important because they, it might not be about mobility. They might have questions about other things before they wanna get involved. So I think that's very important and it can be quite hard for us to get to the garden. Uh, we might not be able to drive there ourselves. I think just being really supportive and welcoming, just letting know, you know, if you need support, just ask. If you think there's anything we can do to make your time at the garden, easier. Just, just ask if they can't themselves. They might have a carer that can help with that. Um, just be supportive, just be welcoming so that they feel comfortable asking for help if they need it Speaker 0 00:06:17 And then listening and, and following up on what your individual users need to be welcome and comfortable in that space. Speaker 2 00:06:25 There's so many different disabilities and each person's unique, each person's different. So it's important to talk to them and find out what they need. Speaker 0 00:06:35 Where would you like to see the garden in maybe a couple of years time, Speaker 2 00:06:41 We just want to see it being used. It's been several years now and it's been abandoned. We want, we wanna see it flourishing. We wanna see the community being involved, community groups, being involved, lots of community events, lots of fruit and veg and flowers. Yeah. We just wanna see it completely turned around. Speaker 0 00:07:04 Jasmine for at Clark is part of carers. Queensland's community gardens conversations. Her role involves working one on one with community gardens to help plant access and inclusion across everything they do from policies and procedures to day to day life in the weeds. It's about creating accessible green spaces for everyone. Speaker 3 00:07:23 Community gardens are spaces that can offer social and economic participation opportunities to people in their community. We know that people with disability have been excluded from many activities in their local communities and that there's some unexplored human talent. When we look at, um, some of the community gardens barriers to getting long term volunteers, getting attendees in their gardens, we know from people with disability that we've spoken to how important community gardens have been in their life. So we've heard stories where they've made friends in their local communities. We've heard people going on to start their own businesses, um, or from that initial engagement in community gardens. So we know that community gardens in their nature have welcoming and positive attitudes. And this project is really about finding ways to solidify that ethos in practical ways that will lead to increased participation for people, disability, Speaker 0 00:08:23 Improving inclusion and accessibility is a big part of carers Queensland's role as the N D I S local area coordination partner in the community. Speaker 3 00:08:32 Carers Queensland were approached by Vera street, community garden. They're a smaller boutique community garden in Taang. And they were asking for support to be more inclusive and welcoming for people with disability. So we started to explore how we might get involved and how we might help them. Speaker 0 00:08:50 And when did that start? Speaker 3 00:08:52 Mid 2020, we connected Vera street to Noy street, city farm, which is a larger and more robust community garden in Brisbane. Almost two years later. We're now working with community gardens across Brisbane, Morton bay, sunshine coast, Logan, and we've even spoken to people out in iwi, into Womba. We're working with all those community gardens to build their awareness and capacity, to be more inclusive of people with disability, Speaker 0 00:09:20 Community gardens, conversations included a consultation process where carers Queensland surveyed community gardens visited gardens in the Southeast corner and organized public forums. One last year and one in March this year Speaker 3 00:09:33 In bringing the community garden representatives and people with disability together, the two groups were really able to see value in each other. The gardens were able to hear firsthand some experiences from people with disability and understand how participation in community gardens can take many forms. The ideas and possibilities discussed were excused. The pun feeds her greater inclusion in this space. Speaker 4 00:10:01 Tell me more about the resources that you're developing. Speaker 3 00:10:04 So the resources that we're looking to develop are gonna bring together all of the learnings that we've had throughout the two forums that we'll be conducting, working with community gardens and people with disability to come up with ideas, prompts, things that are gonna help community gardens take steps towards greater inclusion. Speaker 4 00:10:26 And so what are some of the community gardens that attended the forum? What new things are they introducing into their community gardens that they've learnt from that forum? And they're introducing so that it, they can be more inclusive and accessible. Speaker 3 00:10:39 We've had stories from community gardens who have tweaked their induction processes. So really simple things like asking in their induction process, if somebody does have additional needs or how they might like to be supported, um, they're now listing a range of activities that people can participate in the garden. So really clearly stepping out what opportunities exist in our garden. So people can choose where they're gonna best fit. We've had community gardens who are now openly advertising. Their community garden is welcoming to people with a disability and, and things like that. Speaker 4 00:11:17 That's fantastic. And so what does the community gardens project want to achieve in the future? Speaker 3 00:11:23 I mentioned before we're working towards some more, some more tailored resources to cultivate greater inclusion in community gardens and continue to grow this project into other service areas. We also really wanna make sure that we are connecting with our primary audience, people with disability so that we can position community gardens as spaces for meaningful social and even economic participation. So by nurturing the community partnerships we've already got and sharing experiences from people like Nathan and Tanisha, we really wanna grow that inclusion and harvest participation. And I'm sorry for the puns <laugh> <laugh>. Um, but it's all about, you know, getting our community gardens ready, um, more inclusive, more accessible spaces, and then letting people with a disability know that these spaces are available and what some of the benefits of participating in them might be. Speaker 0 00:12:19 Do you have a passion or a talent to share with the world? A small business can be a great way for people with disability to earn income, build your confidence, be more independent and be an active part of your community. Carers Queensland is supporting our next generation of entrepreneurs with the, be your own boss microbusiness project. It's a place to find out what it means to start a business, whether it's a good fit for you, connect with business mentors and learn from existing micro business owners and even opportunities to showcase your goods and services in the, be your own boss marketplace. Find out more, get in touch or look for events and opportunities coming up near you. Visit our [email protected] or call our inquiries line on one 300 triple 9, 6 3 6. One of the gardens we're working with is one of Queensland's newest Beachmere community garden, which is still being established. It was created by local gardens to share skills, knowledge, and fresh produce their representatives. David and Jill say accessibility is really important because it's intended to be a space for the whole community. Speaker 5 00:13:29 So accessibility was kind of the first step. So that's when we were looking at basic things like hard surfaces, wide paths, things like that. And then one of the people that really put us on the right direction was Sarah from carers Queensland. She kind of showed us that it's, it's beyond accessibility and that's what inclusion is. So, um, that's when we started to realize there's so much more to it than just, um, having a site that's accessible. So, um, that's where we kind of learned from there to there's so many other steps to it, um, that we've now put into our plans and, um, into it, even into our communications and things like that to make people, uh, to make it more inclusive for people. Speaker 6 00:14:13 Well, it's more about getting in touch with people who work within those industries. So people working with disabilities, making ourselves known to them, and then through that, knowing what, what their requirements are, you know, what their needs are. And so then when we are planning things, we can take those into, um, consideration, um, as to how we will present those items and things like that, or little workshops that we might be running, you know, things that we might just have to tweak to make it just that little bit more inclusive for some people. Whereas most people won't even sort of probably notice any differences, but for those people who have disabilities can feel comfortable, you know, joining in and, and participating. Speaker 7 00:14:56 Are you working with any organizations or established any partnerships? Speaker 5 00:15:00 Yeah, quite a few. So, uh, one of the first ones was with lions club of beach, me. Uh, they've been really supportive from the start, um, and they've assisted us with some terrific funding, the beach, me mens. She has been great. Um, we've been, uh, building some mobile wicking garden, which we hope to have on site. And, um, they've been working on the frames or the metal work for that car. As I said before, carers Queensland have been with us pretty much from the start. Um, just really assisting and providing information. We've been in contact with a lot of the local disability support groups, the schools we're, we're just trying to get in network with as many people to get the word out about what, what we're about and, uh, how we can all work together to, you know, provide this really great community space. Speaker 7 00:15:55 That's great. And have you consulted with people with disability in the planning of the community gardens? Speaker 5 00:16:02 Yeah, we have, uh, from the very site, like I said, some of our members work in the disability support, um, area, so they've been great from the start. And, um, we've also been working with, uh, one of the groups in, uh, Kabulcha, uh, with the planning and the design of the project. So we've been getting some great feedback from them, even, even things like how, how do you get to the site, you know, that when you get to the site, are you gonna be welcomed or, you know, is there gonna be any barriers to joining or, um, feeling like part of the group? Um, so just, just teaching us, you know, even just basic interactions to make them feel welcome. Speaker 6 00:16:45 Just the basics, like things, you know, at, at Heights that are accessible for people with disabilities, generally trying to provide things. And, and this is where we need to work with them. Like, do they want to do gardening or do they just wanna come and sit in the nice tranquil area in our sensory garden area? Or do they actually really wanna get in and get their hands dirty? Cuz there is lots and lots of different disabilities, not just physical, so many. So you have to deal with them as they come up and provide something that, that is appropriate for them. Speaker 0 00:17:17 A lot of community gardens work closely with their local council and that means councils have a role as well in improving accessibility. Michael lean is a community development officer with Morton bay, regional council. They're involved in community gardens conversations as part of the council's wider plans for inclusion, Speaker 8 00:17:36 A lot of attention, um, put on community gardens in the past couple of, uh, months and years. And, and we'd like to, um, really join in that, um, momentum and, and be a part of the, the movement towards, um, a lot of Australians to grow or learn about growing their own food at home. Um, but also to be, uh, more connected to their community and their neighborhood. I've gotten to know, um, quite a few people from carers Queensland in the past couple of years, people who have, um, shown just incredible passion and uh, spirit of collaboration and desire to see positive change in the community. So yeah, they've definitely been leaders, um, in this sort of work and, and trying to, um, increase the accessibility and inclusion of, um, community gardens across the Morton bay region and beyond. Speaker 4 00:18:29 So why do you think it's important for council to collaborate with carers Queensland? Speaker 8 00:18:34 I guess we see it as important to collaborate with carers Queensland, cuz we are learning. Um, and we wanna, um, hear from their and expertise. We have a focus on access and inclusion, um, in our council, but there's a lot of work to be done ongoing, so happy to have that connection and partnership with, you know, obviously a group that's so keen to share their knowledge and be, um, be collaborative in their work. Speaker 4 00:19:04 And where do you see this partnership with carers Queensland, Morton bay, regional council going in the future? Speaker 8 00:19:10 I'd really like to see us having access and inclusion, which carers Queensland, um, are really a lead in. Um, I really like to see access and inclusion as sort of a hallmark of all the community gardens in, in Morton bay. Um, and beyond that, you know, through, throughout Southeast Queensland, but we'd like to sort of make those initial, those points where every community garden, um, has an understanding of access and inclusion. Um, but also sort of strives towards making that a, um, a core part of their group in their, in their garden. Um, whether that's the infrastructure or whether that's the, um, people themselves, um, being more inclusive. I could definitely see, um, this partnership growing on into the future and connecting our community gardens, but also carers Queensland, continuing to support our groups as well. So yeah, looking forward to what's ahead, Speaker 4 00:20:03 Sometimes community gardens, they can find a little bit difficult engaging with council, you know, going through a little bit of red tape to try and get things up and running. Do you have any tips for community gardens when they are interacting with council on, on how to get their community gardens running with council support? Speaker 8 00:20:21 Yeah. Look, to be honest, there are a lot of, especially on council land, obviously, um, community gardens in our region are in all different land arrangements, whether that's, um, you know, private land or public land, like on state government land, but yeah. Uh, gardens who are on, um, council lands, um, do have to, um, go through a bit of a process with, um, especially in the initial setup, um, with getting things across the line. So there's things that, that we can do to make that process smoother as well. But, um, I guess in terms of tips and, and ideas for groups, um, definitely keeping the communication channels open and uh, and making a connection with us in the community development team to try to, you know, smooth some of those things over cause sometimes the requirements that are, that are put up, um, uh, you know, need to be abided by every community group that has their project on, on council land. But there are sometimes times where it's just important to have a chat with someone about what those things actually mean. Um, cuz sometimes it can be confusing. I definitely acknowledge that. So, um, yeah, keeping the communication channels open and just hoping towards smoother processes, um, into the future as well. Speaker 0 00:21:39 Nathan Franey from swallow tail nursery was diagnosed with Aspergers in his teens and now supports other people with disability to experience the joy of gardening through community gardens, all paid work in horticulture Speaker 9 00:21:51 With my business. What I'm trying to do now is trying to include everyone that has a disability to come into one community garden and then embrace to all inclusions with one disability like everyone's has different disabilities minds, got a lot of that has stuff that lovely people well with my business, I help them understanding how they include people who with disabilities into community gardens. Speaker 0 00:22:21 Now you've been doing some really cool stuff in this area. For instance, looking at ways people who use wheelchairs can still access garden beds so they can physically get out and do stuff. So what's some of that work you're doing at the gardens. Speaker 9 00:22:34 Well basically I just help community gardens. They would probably just come to me and ask, how do we do a wick for people in wheelchairs and people walkers as well. And depending on what size you get from actually wheelchair. Uh, so I basically them on there to sell 'em yes, we can design it on our design for, I did at community garden. We can bring that down to your community garden. Speaker 0 00:23:08 So it's looking at the site, looking at how you want to use it. Who's going to be using it and figuring out a system that works for that specific place. Speaker 9 00:23:17 Yeah. So it's basically just trying to help the community guards that need help to inclusion with all disability people, depending on what size wheelchair people have could really like the big wheelchair, small size, I can help them design specific ones, specific clients, depending on how big the wheelchairs are. We can make it go big, small, large, whatever. They just, them how can include with a disability into CS. And that's what I've garden is trying. I business actually help them. It needs any help then that's when I come in and help them to the liaison with, OK, this is what we need do this, how it helps. It's basically how we can help each other. And everyone like myself and people that living with disabilities, Speaker 0 00:24:17 It might sound like a lot of work having to design something in a specific place for the specific users. But whenever you are building a garden, you have to design it for the space and for how you want to use it. So it's really just having something extra in mind when you're doing what you are going to do anyway, which is build a garden. Speaker 9 00:24:35 Yeah. Just building a garden that eco-friendly the environment also friendly for people that actually wheelchairs as well. So I've been the last 12 months I've been working, trying to this business into what I can actually leave behind if I do, hopefully never do, but if I do pass away tomorrow's so for other people with disabilities to get into it and actually get employment as well and actually teach people that living with disabilities, like myself, to keep rolling with the ball and people into horticulture as well. And just trying to make it for everyone to make it a life a lot easier for Speaker 0 00:25:18 Them. Nathan employs and trains other people with disability, through his business, encouraging people into an industry he loves and breaking down barriers to employment. Speaker 9 00:25:27 With my experience, it has been a lot of barriers because saying, well, Nathan's don't want someone that's living disability. And I've been told multiple times that my friends been, uh, got a job just for, or like that. And employer don't have the I to know when they need know this. And with, we take a lot longer to understand and that information like a sponge, if have the water, you don't the information. And that's why I wanna change the way people about usability and to him into horticulture. Like in a few months I've been working with faith Queensland to start a cert to and AutoCulture to, um, embrace people like myself, to get their qualifications and get employment later on in the future Speaker 0 00:26:24 While the work is done with specific community gardens is already making a big difference. Nathan would like to set an example to other gardens and gardeners. So the inclusion mindset can spread Speaker 9 00:26:35 Well, I have been involved with a call committee garden for nearly 12 or 13 months. And it's going that, um, I'm involved with them trying to yeah. Design these wick bed. So everyone that's in a wheelchair in the walkers can to do what normal socalled normal people can do. So that's know how people with disabilities, people who I'm there saying, that's what, that's what we need. This is how it helps. And if we can do it, it puts on us on the map. So there other community in Queensland and it's throughout Australia and world and understand, uh, cool community guns, if they can do it, why can't we do it Speaker 0 00:27:20 To find out more about carers Queensland's community gardens conversations, visit our [email protected] under N D I S services look for driving community change. You'll find lots of things we're working on from disaster readiness to access to sport and recreation and check out community gardens conversations. Thanks for joining us at choice and control a carers Queensland podcast. For more information about the national disability insurance scheme or carers Queensland, contact us [email protected]. You can call us on one, three hundred nine, six, three, six, or head to Facebook and look for carers Queensland. N D I.

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