Milparinka has a communal garden at its Brunswick site. The garden, as well as having native plants, grows vegetables, berries and fruits that are shared with people and groups in our community.
There are a number of reasons why we have this garden:
- Milparinka is a part of the Brunswick community and we want to share what we have in terms of space, time, produce and opportunity with our community. Milparinka is a community organisation and the more places and people we connect to through things like our garden the better community we will have.
- We want our garden areas to be more beautiful, interesting and usable for people who come to Milparinka.
- A garden creates and expands opportunities for people at Milparinka to have valued roles in their community and to contribute to other people’s lives. Food is a great connector and in Brunswick we are in the middle of a vibrant food and community network with lots of opportunities to create links with many different groups and people using food. We think one of the important links for people at Milparinka to contribute both to their community and other people’s lives, while creating connections and valued roles, is through providing food to community kitchens that cook food for community members.
However, most importantly we constantly seek to create many more moments for people at Milparinka, one person at a time, where they can take on valued roles and connect to a much greater range of people and places. We know that one of the best things we can bring to people’s lives is more opportunities to meet more people who they are sharing positive roles and moments with. It is at these times when people form relationships, friendships, expectations, ideas, community and new opportunities. The garden is a tool for this to happen. The garden produces food and that food is used to open doors. For example some volunteers to come to Milparinka and work alongside people here who like gardening and there has been numerous opportunities for individuals to have roles, where they connect to others, not just people but places where new roles and places to belong can exist. Some of the roles include things like picking up stock for the garden, delivering the food, preparing food and then delivering to community places, sharing meals, going to local cafes to gather leftovers for the compost, volunteer roles at community lunches, being part of community classes based on food, such as making jam, that we have supported community groups to do in our building. The garden has created more moments in which people can have roles and meet new people.