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Werribee Kitchen garden harvest

Werribee Kitchen garden harvest

2 years ago from Unknown LDAP UserParks Victoria

Werribee Kitchen garden harvest

Werribee Kitchen garden harvest

2 years ago from Unknown LDAP UserParks Victoria

Parks Victoria's James Brincat with some of the gardening team

Parks Victoria's James Brincat with some of the gardening team

2 years ago from Unknown LDAP UserParks Victoria

Wonderful revival of Werribee Park’s Kitchen Garden

Friday 9 November, 2012

The historic kitchen garden at Werribee Park Mansion is once again full of thriving vegetables and herbs thanks to the hard work of a group of volunteers from the ethnic community of the Wyndham area. After quite some time of lying idle it’s now  having its first harvest in years as a result of an innovative new project by Parks Victoria and the Adult Multicultural Education Service or AMES.

Ranger in Charge at Werribee, James Brincat got the idea for the project when he saw the enthusiasm and gardening skills of the AMES volunteers when they helped replant the Mansion’s historic parterre gardens this winter.

“Since then it’s developed into much more than a kitchen garden project. It’s designed to attract people from ethnic backgrounds by offering Horticulture and Vocational English classes, as well as being a healthy outdoor activity. “

Dr Melika Yassin Sheikh-Eldin is co-managing the project for AMES and says the measure of success of these kinds of projects is that they help participants to move into meaningful employment. “I’m already seeing success with this project in the short time it’s been running, and I think that’s due to the fact that many of these people have a real affinity with horticulture.”

James Brincat says the social and educational components of the program make it quite unique. “Women from African and the Karen Communities of Southern Burma who are feeling the pressure of adjusting to a new country are being encouraged to join in; not just to enjoy gardening and growing vegies, but to socialise, learn skills  and network with others. “

A registered training organisation is providing on site classes in Vocational English as well as Horticulture to provide skills and accreditation which can be used to gain employment.

The garden revival is being jointly funded by AMES, Parks Victoria and the Werribee Mansion Hotel, which will have a share of the fresh produce for its restaurant. Additional Federal Government funding through Skills Australia is supporting the formal training component of the project.  

Should this project prove successful there are plans to replicate it in other parks across the Western Melbourne District in line with Parks Victoria’s Healthy Parks Healthy People philosophy.

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