Community Garden Creates Connections

September 26, 2023 00:26:11

Show Notes

Well spring has sprung and here at Carers Qld we recognise the wonderful opportunities that Community gardens can offer people with disability. Whether it’s meeting like-minded people, participating in social activities, or building practical gardening skills, Carers Qld is working with Community Garden representatives to increase their understanding of inclusion. In this episode we hear from two local gardeners from Beelarung Community Farm in Morningside, Brisbane.

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:02] Speaker A: Choice and Control is a podcast celebrating meaningful inclusion of people with disability in our communities. Brought to you by Carers Queensland, your NDIS local area coordination partner in the community. Each episode provides a conversation space for people with disability, their families and carers to share their stories with you. We also hear from members of the wider community, local businesses and community leaders who share information, ideas and possibilities to give you more opportunity and more choice and control in your life. Well, spring has sprung and here at Keras, Queensland, we recognise the wonderful opportunities that community gardens can offer people with disability. Whether it's meeting like minded people, participating in social activities or building practical gardening skills, carers Queensland is working with community garden representatives to increase their understanding of inclusion. In this episode, we hear from two local gardeners from Bielarung Community Farm in Morningside, Brisbane. [00:01:12] Speaker B: Well, I'm here on a beautiful, sunny day at Bielarung Community Farm and I have Rosemary with me. Hi, Rosemary. [00:01:20] Speaker C: Hello. Hello. Good morning. [00:01:22] Speaker B: Thank you. [00:01:23] Speaker C: Oh, it's afternoon. [00:01:24] Speaker B: Thank you for joining me today. [00:01:25] Speaker C: Thank you. [00:01:26] Speaker B: Rosemary, how long have you been coming to this garden? [00:01:30] Speaker C: I think it's coming up to three years now. Good three years. And it's been amazing. [00:01:37] Speaker B: What do you enjoy about coming here? [00:01:40] Speaker C: Well, for me, it's the community that I have created here, the friends that I've made and just coming and being able to be in. I call this my happy place. It's green, there's animals around there's, the chickens, birds. It's just a lovely place and I can bring my dog down on the weekend and things and just come and hang out. It sounds weird, but, yeah, just come here to hang out. [00:02:17] Speaker B: What has the garden done for you to make it more accessible? [00:02:24] Speaker C: Well, a lot of the participants in the garden are of the older age group people, so a lot of their infrastructure already caters for the less mobile people. So essentially, I've just sort of fit in. So the ramps, the things up to the toilet. I have a raised garden bread I've fitted into them and it's been great. [00:02:56] Speaker B: You talked there about the physical changes to the garden, but you also said that you feel really socially included. [00:03:03] Speaker C: Absolutely. [00:03:04] Speaker B: Can you tell me? [00:03:06] Speaker C: I've made friends here. I've made friends that I see outside of the farm time and that's been really lovely. So I've met another person who's got similar mobility issues. She's got a different condition to me and we've both got a love of art, a love of chickens, a love of dogs. So we've just really fallen in together as friends and that's been really amazing, having my condition and then suddenly finding out that I can't do my job, I can't do this, I can't drive, my world really turned upside down. So, of course, there was a couple of years of the grieving of the loss of my life and I thought that I just needed to build and create a life with things that I can do. So coming to the farm has really allowed me to focus on the things that I can do. So with the farm, I help with the seed saving, which is kind of just and some people might find that really frustrating and hard because it's bit pedantic and small and fine motor skills and that, but I actually find that really comforting for me because I can sit, I can do it, and I'm participating. I'm doing something good for the farm and the community of the farm. [00:04:49] Speaker B: Now, you make an amazing contribution to the sales of the farm. [00:04:54] Speaker C: I do. So I have sort of stepped my toe into making some chutney, and I've just started making some jam as well. And I've explored the possibility of doing the no sugar jam, so diabetic friendly. And I haven't quite got the recipe for the diabetic jam perfected yet, but we're working on that. And I've got all the figs frozen in my freezer ready to go. The mango chili chutney that we make that is really popular. Oh, my goodness. The jars are sold even before they get into the shed. I've come out of the car and people are grabbing jars out of my box before I take them to the shed. It's really popular. [00:06:01] Speaker B: How does that make you feel, knowing that your work is so in demand? [00:06:07] Speaker C: It's great. It's really a really good feeling to know that I'm contributing and that what I'm contributing is valued by people, and that's nice. We all need to be needed in some way, and my way is more limited than what it was before my injury, but I'm still contributing, so that gives me a really nice feeling. [00:06:38] Speaker B: When we were in the meeting before, they talked a lot about seasonal produce, and there seems to be a big focus on what's in season and how to make the most out of that. Is that the case? [00:06:48] Speaker C: Well, the people at the farm are just a wealth of information, and it's almost like Google in live action. It's fantastic. So when I need information about something, there's somebody here that knows something about it. So that's been really lovely and amazing. So coming here to my happy place has really filled that part of that love of just being around gardens. [00:07:23] Speaker B: Your love of being around garden. Tell me what you've got growing in your garden. [00:07:29] Speaker C: Broccoli. Broccolini. We've got snow peas. We've got tomatoes, we've got spinach. Oh, chili. Oh, my goodness. The chili plant is prolific. And capsicum that came up. [00:07:55] Speaker B: Oh, yeah. [00:07:56] Speaker C: We've got a few little chives coming in there at the moment. And I've done a few flowers as well. I've done sunflower. I've got some. [00:08:06] Speaker B: Marigold. [00:08:07] Speaker C: Marigold. I've got calendula growing in there. That's what's in flower at the moment, is the calendula. Those bright yellow flowers worked in the council before. [00:08:18] Speaker B: Yeah. We are in the community garden here, folks. So we've got a lot of background noise going on. [00:08:24] Speaker C: We do what you would expect. [00:08:30] Speaker B: It's a hive of activity here. [00:08:32] Speaker C: Rosebury absolutely. Certainly with a disability, your world becomes very small. Your world becomes appointments, appointments and then appointments again, and you don't have time or the ability to visit friends and things and they sort of drop off because they've got their own world going on. So this has allowed me to do an activity that I love and make friendships at the same time. And that's been amazing. It's been really lovely. [00:09:11] Speaker A: Our School to Adult Life Transition Project aims to identify positive pathways for young people with disability as they move from school to adult life. To help us better design our programs for young adults and their families, carers Queensland is proud to work with our new reference group of young adults from different regional areas who have finished school and are exercising choice and control at home, study, work and in their communities. The Amplifying Young Voices Reference Group will share vital knowledge gained from lived experience to inform ideas for supporting young people who are still at high school to overcome barriers and feel empowered to plan for their adult life. To find out more, get in touch or look for events and opportunities coming up near you, visit our [email protected], dot au, or call our inquiries line on 1300 triple 9636. [00:10:09] Speaker B: In your week, is the community garden one of your highlights? Absolutely. [00:10:16] Speaker C: It's my Wednesday booking. I do it every week and I don't book appointments. I don't book things in on Wednesday because I've got the farm things have to work around the farm sometimes twice a week. Yeah. So I come on a Friday as well. Often either, just for watering. But I also do the fruit fly counting here. So they've got twelve fruit fly traps here. And every two weeks I have to collect them all, empty it out, count the fruit flies, which obviously people might think is a bit crazy. But during winter, there can be up to zero fruit flies. And some of it can be up to 70 to 100 fruit flies in one trap. [00:11:10] Speaker B: When do you start seeing the fruit fly? [00:11:12] Speaker C: They're starting to build up now, so we're in August, so the numbers are starting to come up. Now. [00:11:19] Speaker B: What advice would you have to other gardens around who might be looking at wanting more diversity? What advice would you have to them? [00:11:29] Speaker C: Well, I guess the fact that the infrastructure here at Biralong does cater really well for me, for people with disabilities or mobility issues. So the raised garden beds, the pathway here is all pretty flat and easy and accessible. The plots, even on the ground, have got access paths to it, which is really good. I mean, I don't use that. I use the raised garden beds, um, just being open, I think, open to it and just taking that time like here because I've got a hearing loss. I do let people know first up that I have hearing disability and so I need the lip reading and the face to face sort of stuff. And often I do miss sort of within the big discussion meeting stuff, I miss things, but they do stop and sort of re say things for me. Just taking that time. [00:12:50] Speaker B: Rose this is a pretty unique garden in that they have so many social and opportunities as well. [00:12:56] Speaker C: They do. So we have a pizza oven here at the garden. So about once every three months or so, we have a pizza night here. So they provide the dough and you just bring your own toppings. And quite often I'm just before the pizza night, I'm just down in my plot picking out the herbs and the thyme and the basil and the different things to add to the pizza. Therefore you're then eating what you produce and people on the preparing of the pizza table, they've all got their contribution and you share and you try things out and things that you haven't tried before. That's been really interesting. Different fruits or different vegetables that someone's grown. Yeah. I've made many friends here and you've. [00:13:58] Speaker B: Learned a lot too, because there's a lot of unusual varieties growing here and a few experiments even. [00:14:06] Speaker C: Exactly. And there's seedlings and stuff that are giveaways and so you try something out, even if it works, if it doesn't, gardening is a bit of an experiment. [00:14:22] Speaker B: So there's lots of different layers of involvement, isn't there? [00:14:27] Speaker C: That's right, yeah. So when you first come, you may not necessarily get a plot straight away. It can take a few months of you coming along and building that relationship with them. It took me four months to get a plot, but it was all about just building those friendships and relationships with people and contributing what you can. Certainly with the seed saving, because that was a lot of sitting down that suits me. Fruit fly counting, that's sitting down. So that suits me as well. I was helping out in the seedling shed there for a little while too. That was really great because again, growing seeds is something I can do, so I was doing that myself on my balcony at home, so I transposed that to here as well. [00:15:29] Speaker B: Focusing on what you can do and those strength space is so important, isn't it? [00:15:34] Speaker C: I think so, and I think that's what you have to do, particularly when with a disability that comes on you later in life, it's such a shock and you forget what you can't do as you're focusing on what you can do. And I think that's really important. [00:15:55] Speaker B: Can I ask, how old were you? [00:15:57] Speaker C: I was 47 when the acquired brain injury happened. [00:16:03] Speaker B: Okay. And how long ago was that? [00:16:05] Speaker C: I'm 52 now, so not that long ago? No, only in the last five years. So it was very weird my life before was very full. I was a firefighter by trade, I was a yoga teacher, I was a runner, I was a multi day trekking bushwalking type person. So my life was very active and the loss has been huge. I've actually not sat down and done a list of my losses because I think that might be too hard. Yeah, I just focus on what I can do. [00:16:52] Speaker B: Focus on your strength. [00:16:53] Speaker C: Yeah. [00:16:55] Speaker B: Coming to the garden, being in the garden, it seems to have given you so much. [00:17:01] Speaker C: It really has those interactions that I have with my friends that then are going through a bad time or having an off day. There's that understanding for them and you know that they will repay that again because when you're having a bad day, they understand also what it's like when you're having a bad day and brain's not working. I can't make it. I can't do it. All I can do is water today. I can't do all the other stuff. So that's what I do. I just come here on water, feed the chucks. The girls are always happy to see you. Oh, you're that strange lady with that food. Oh, I like you. [00:17:51] Speaker B: Well, I better let you get back to it. Rosemary, are you going to do some gardening? [00:17:56] Speaker C: Am I am I'll? Just go pour around in the garden, do some. [00:18:02] Speaker B: Thank you so much for talking to me today, Rosemary. [00:18:04] Speaker C: It's been lovely. Tracy thank you. [00:18:08] Speaker D: Carers, Queensland is growing inclusion, awareness and opportunities for people with disability. And where better to grow things than a garden? We're working with community gardens to improve accessibility and make sure people of all abilities can get their hands dirty. We're starting conversations about what the community wants and needs and how we can work together to give everyone a place to put down roots and bloom. Find out more, get in touch or look for events and opportunities coming up near you, visit our [email protected], dot au, or call our inquiries line on 1300 triple 9636. [00:18:52] Speaker B: I'm here today with Nathan, who comes to the community garden. Nathan, can you tell us what you do here for the garden? [00:18:59] Speaker E: So I do my own experimental compost, so I'm working with three bays of compost and bringing in different waste products to see what I can make. [00:19:13] Speaker B: And how did you first hear about bilarung and getting known about it for ages? [00:19:18] Speaker E: Because I live in Morningside, it's about four minute drive, but, yeah, never really contacted them until I decided I wanted to do an experiment because I've run out of space at home, obviously, garden's taken over the whole house. But, yeah, so composting now I got a pot, so I planted some sunflowers and yeah, it's just a really good community because when you're here on a Wednesday, everyone's here, they all friendly and talk to you. And even when I come other days, other people are here watering or something. So there's always people here. [00:19:56] Speaker B: Do you like that social side of things? [00:20:00] Speaker E: Yeah. Good. [00:20:02] Speaker B: What are you hoping to achieve here with your compost? [00:20:06] Speaker E: Well, me and my friend want to start a compost business. If he buys some land and we get that there's veggie scraps from rockley markets are huge. We just get pile after pile after pile after pile of scraps and then turn that into soil that we can sell. [00:20:28] Speaker B: Sounds like a great idea. How's it going? [00:20:30] Speaker E: Well, I got to wait for his brothers to come up in August and then he's going to talk to them because got to buy the land first. Just a process. [00:20:40] Speaker B: So, Nathan, how old are you? 33. Can you tell us a little bit about your story? [00:20:49] Speaker E: Always had mental health, but I didn't get diagnosed till I was 21 because it was too high functioning. Like all the just got too high grades, so the teachers never sent me anywhere. But then I was just all over the place. After having such a schedule at school to going to no schedule after school. That took me a while to get together and then get some help from the government, NDIS funding and everything. [00:21:19] Speaker B: How has the NDIS helped you? [00:21:22] Speaker E: It's just got me more active and out and it got me a job, given me skills. I don't normally come to places like this by myself, so having a support worker and just with the technical stuff, sometimes you get a bit frustrated building things. And he's better at building, helping me build. But I do the garden at the coffee shop to get free coffee, so everyone knows me at the coffee shop. My local area, I don't know, I'm just constantly just doing little bits and pieces. Got to keep busy for your mental health. [00:22:07] Speaker B: Well, good luck with your gardening business idea. It sounds fantastic. Thanks for talking to me today, Nathan. [00:22:15] Speaker D: That's right, lac connect. It's a new way to stay in touch with your local area coordinator, Keras Queensland, with everything you need right here on your device. It's a handy app to keep track of your Lac appointments, browse workshops and events, check out information and support, and get the latest news stories and podcasts. It's available on Android and iOS, so whatever device you have, you can stay in touch. Head to our website to sign [email protected] au and look for Lac Connect. [00:22:50] Speaker B: So I'm here with Matthew, Nathan's support worker. Matthew, thank you for having a chat. [00:22:54] Speaker F: That's all good. [00:22:55] Speaker B: Matthew, tell me about your role and how you help Nathan here in the community garden. [00:23:00] Speaker F: So my role with my relationship with Nathan is almost his support worker. I'm his work, he's carer. And so we've just been basically helping around the community garden. He's basically working on compost right now. We've got a project of putting a sifter together. And this is Nathan's. Go to other places that he would rather be. He could be this is the place that he desires to be. And I've seen just his emotions when he's around here. He's just basically in the zone. Like, he's more interested being here than anywhere else. So it's good because he's given me some knowledge and he's giving me some interest as mean, I want to be able to grow something in the backyard. If you have a look at Nathan's backyard now, he has every single vegetable that you can imagine you can see in wars is right there in his backyard. Yeah. [00:23:58] Speaker B: So what have you learned from Nathan. [00:23:59] Speaker F: About oh, just composting in general. I didn't know with him he's been experimenting, putting coffee growing in his compost. I didn't know you had to sift the compost in general. And so you can obviously see here we got a sifter going on and he's got his plot here as well. And he's sort of teaching me how to take weeds out. I didn't know you had to take weeds out and all this stuff, so yeah, he's given me a lot of wisdom. [00:24:31] Speaker B: You're a graduate nurse and now a support worker. [00:24:34] Speaker F: Yes. [00:24:35] Speaker B: How good are community gardens for people with disabilities? [00:24:39] Speaker F: 100%. It's got me interested. It's like I've been stressed out. You go to your normal, everyday life and I look forward coming here because of the stuff that we do here, it's therapeutic. You're in touch with nature. You get to see your work progressively getting better and better. You get to see something grow from your own hands. And man, if I could encourage the world to do this bird do it, man. You got great people around you as well. And we sort of help in with some helping hands where they need it and everyone's just generally good people here. Yeah, just 100% is the most therapeutic time of my week when I get to get my hands dirty in the community garden place. Yeah. [00:25:33] Speaker B: Thanks for chatting me today. [00:25:35] Speaker F: No worries. [00:25:39] Speaker A: Thanks for joining us at Choice and Control, a Carers Queensland podcast. If you've enjoyed this podcast episode, please take a moment to leave a rating and review and share it with your community. If you'd like to know more about our community gardens project, the National Disability Insurance Scheme, or Carers Queensland, contact us [email protected] or call us on 1300 Triple 9636 or head to Facebook and look for Carers Queensland. NDIS.

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