I have been enormously inspired tonight by watching Andrew Denton’s interview with Mohammad Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in developing the concept of microcredit.
The theme of the interview was how simple it is to offer someone a key that enables them to break out of poverty. In Yunus’s case, this discovery was made by lending very small amounts of money to village women in Bangladesh, who up until that point had been locked into exploitative deals with loan sharks to buy the materials they needed to earn a living.
For me, watching the interview built on a casual conversation I had last month at the Marion Market with a customer named Eddie (please contact me if you’re reading this Eddie!)… we talked about re-housing homeless people and then offering them the means to start food gardening, a project he was developing around World Environment Day this year. For many people, this wouldn’t take much. I remember working in a community garden with people who were living with mental health issues, and how such a simple catalyst as the opportunity to garden alongside others could potentially transform someone’s plans for their day, their mood, and eventually their self-concept.
I enjoyed working with the community garden, but for me it’s now time to bring the concept home. Almost everyone who has a home, whether it’s rented or owned, has somewhere that they can grow some of their own food if they know how. Many people can readily access more information and knowledge, but many others cannot afford personalised advice tailored to their own unique situation.
So I’d like to offer a new special throughout this winter (June-August). For every full-price initial garden consultation booked during this time, I would like to also offer one free initial consultation to an individual or family living in poverty in the areas of Marion and Holdfast councils. The aim of this one-off consultation would be to provide a springboard into home food gardening to those who are ready to try or just beginning to grow their own food, and to link them with useful local resources.
I don’t imagine that I can make much of an impact on my own, so I would like to invite community members to participate in any of the following ways:
- If you have tools, seeds, plants or gardening materials that you would like to offer to someone starting to garden, please contact me to register as a potential donor. I do not have the resources to pick up and deliver or store donations, so I would contact you with the details of a potential recipient (with their permission) and let you work out your arrangements together.
- If you are involved in a local gardening group that welcomes new members, please send me the group’s details so that I can share them with new gardeners.
- If you would like to register for a free consultation and you have a health care card, please contact me to join the waiting list. Whenever someone books a full-price consultation, I will offer my next available appointment time to the next person on the free list.
- If you are booking a consultation for yourself, please know that this will also enable someone less fortunate to make a step towards growing food and gaining the many benefits (physical, social, psychological, spiritual) that can flow from this.
This idea is in its embryonic stage and I would welcome suggestions to help make it a success. Here’s hoping it can make a difference to someone near us.
Nadja’s Garden Winter Special – ph. 0410 636 857 or email firstname.lastname@example.org