Leisure, People of LoganMay 28, 2024 / 2 minute read

Finding peace and purpose in the garden

The Jimboomba Community Garden has become a haven – and source of hope – for people with disability.

People of all abilities are encouraged to get their hands dirty, make new connections and grow deeper roots in the community.

For local resident Anthony, who has an intellectual disability and developmental delay, volunteering has done wonders for his mental and physical well-being.

Every week, he spends half a day mowing, tending to the garden and working magic with a whipper snipper.

‘When I am in the garden, I don’t feel depressed,’ Anthony says.

‘Also, I’m learning a lot and am making new friends.’

He works with 12 other volunteers – who refer to each other as family – to grow a variety of vegetables, medicinal herbs and native Australian plants.

Their harvest reflects the diversity of the group’s membership: taro, a starchy tropical plant native to Southeast Asia; cassava, a South African root vegetable; and okra, an East African vegetable that is a staple in Caribbean and Indian cuisine.

The volunteers are working towards increasing their crop yield to give back to the community.

As one of the younger volunteers, Anthony has picked up labour-intensive tasks such as moving heavy bags of fertiliser.

Jimboomba Community Garden president Beth Cook recently attended the Carers Queensland’s Disability Awareness Workshop to ensure the garden was an inclusive and safe space for everyone.

She believes the garden is life-changing for people with disability.

‘We now have several people with disability and carers who use the garden as a safe and relaxing space to chat and create,’ Beth says.

‘Anthony is a valuable volunteer. He is always willing to help and contributes a great deal to our weekly meetings and morning teas with ideas and plans.’

With a new sense of meaning and purpose, Anthony was inspired to start filming videos for social media on topics such as mowing.

He hopes his volunteering experience will help with finding paid employment in the future.

For more information, visit the Jimboomba Community Garden Facebook page.

Carers Queensland will be hosting an inclusive community gardens forum on 22 June from 12:30 pm to 3 pm at Logan Hyperdome Library. If you are a community garden representative interested in exploring inclusion in your garden, or a person with a disability interested in finding out more, please phone the Carers Queensland Enquiries Line on 1300 999 636.

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