A new community vegetable garden at Wattle House will see fresh, nutritious vegetables harvested all year round for people in need.

Wattle House, located in Maddington WA, is a community hub providing a number of support services including transitional housing, housing support and financial assistance to a community with complex needs.

The idea for the garden grew from a desire to serve a community experiencing feelings of isolation as well as providing fresh produce to promote good nutrition. The ongoing maintenance and management of the garden will include participation from Mission Australia staff, other service providers in the region and community members. This will help people in the community feel connected to others while doing something to help themselves.

"People assisted by Wattle House and other local homelessness support agencies can enjoy the peace of a safe, garden setting and learn how to grow, care for and nurture plants," Mission Australia case manager Ather Pervaiz said.

"People had commonly expressed having nowhere to go during the day – we're hoping the garden becomes a place of connection to meet that need."

In the lead up to the official opening of the community garden, sun-drenched garden beds were planted with seeds for seasonal produce including cauliflower, carrots, beans and spinach. Native bush tucker species such as Australian bluebell and berry salt bush were also in the mix. Other fruits and vegetables will be planted according to seasonal requirements.

Heading up the gardening committee as its first official member is Christo, a keen gardener who has been accessing the emergency relief service at Wattle House. Christo has recently completed a horticulture course at TAFE, and was eager to share his knowledge and skills when he was told about the community garden project. It's hoped the volunteer group will grow and in time, become self-sufficient in tending to the plants.

In time, the team at Wattle House aim to partner with other local groups who could benefit from the garden and in exchange offer other beneficial initiatives for the people we assist.

They also plan to introduce 'on a budget' workshops using produce from the garden and teach avid gardeners how to start their own garden at home.

Photographer: Jon Hewson – Community News

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