Community gardens bridging cultural divides

Community gardens can be an important ingredient in bringing people together, and bridging cultural divides.

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Kingswood South Public School is nestled within the Penrith Valley in the shadows of the Blue Mountains on the outskirts of Sydney. Caring and committed staff work in partnership with parents to inspire students to succeed.

A handful of visionary parents at the school dreamed up the idea of a native bush tucker garden that could bring the whole school community closer together.

The idea was for a community-owned garden which would give Indigenous students and their families a sense of ownership and pride, and encourage positive, healthy relationships between the school and the Indigenous community. t would also provide a much-needed space for Elders to meet and share stories with the children, and for the students to learn about bush tucker and the importance of caring for Country.

The school community’s enthusiasm and resourcefulness secured the materials needed to build the garden, but they needed help with the design. They approached ICV to help find a skilled volunteer who could work with Indigenous community members to develop a design and plan for the garden. ICV volunteer Nilgun was happy to help out and the first phase of the bush tucker garden was completed in time for the school’s end of year celebrations.

The benefits of the garden extend not only to Aboriginal students and their families, but the whole school community is using the bush tucker garden and learning about Aboriginal culture. The school is now also making use of the garden in its preschool program, so all students from ages 3 to 13 and their families are learning about the importance of caring for Country and its significance for Aboriginal people.

Plans are now underway to finish the second phase of the garden this year.

“The bush tucker garden has brought a sense of community to our school. It has encouraged all of our families to contribute and they have enjoyed the serenity and learning about our native fauna. We are extremely grateful to ICV for all their support on this project.”

Rebecca Wrona, Aboriginal parent and President of Kingswood South Public School P&C Committee