Casson Homes coordinator Margaret Lawlor (third from the left) with volunteers at the Living Well workshops supported by Healthway.

From little seeds, big things grow

Healthway acting chief executive officer says creating the garden has built community and promoted healthy bodies and minds for participants.
May 16, 2024

A SIX-month nutrition and gardening pilot program in South Guildford has grown due to its success in promoting healthy behaviours in people recovering from mental illness.

Casson Homes received $5,000 from Healthway towards establishing a community garden and to run bi-weekly nutrition and permaculture sessions for more than 100 of its past and present residents.

The pilot has expanded its offering to the public who can now take part in free ‘Living Well’ workshops to learn the benefits of growing food, permaculture education and the role of community gardens, diet, and nutrition.

Casson Homes community engagement/project coordinator Margaret Lawlor said the community garden has improved access to fresh organic food and physical activity opportunities through garden maintenance, while also improving interpersonal skills.

“Our community garden is part of our ‘Mental health recovery in action’ series and being out in the fresh air, growing food, and the many activities our permaculture educator delivers brings fantastic benefits for participants,” she said.

“We can see the friendships emerging when a community gets together to produce their garden and the added benefit of feeling a sense of belonging and pride in achieving a collective goal.”

Healthway acting chief executive officer Jeremy Hubble said he was pleased to see that a small investment has gone a long way in supporting people’s mental health and wellbeing.

“By creating this community garden, participants have also been able to find out about the best foods for a healthy mind and body,” he said.

“We look forward to continuing to support community-based activities that promote mental wellbeing.”

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