‘Happy Harvest’ for Port Stephens seniors
Port Stephens over 55s are reaping what they sow this Christmas, with a new community garden growing not only fresh vegetables but camaraderie amongst residents.
Ingenia Lifestyle’s Latitude One lifestyle community recently installed a community garden, and residents have taken to planting and maintaining the garden with enthusiasm.
Latitude One Activities and Events Coordinator Felicity Hamilton said when they mentioned the idea of a community garden to residents, they were really excited about it.
“It really gives residents the opportunity to socialise, get outside and foster a fun hobby – they call their garden ‘the happy harvest’,” Ms Hamilton said.
“The garden has beans, capsicum, three types of tomatoes, spring onions, two types of cucumber, corn, a range of herbs, avocado trees, mango trees, blackberries, apricots, passion fruit vines, chokos and strawberries.
“We also have 42 egg-laying hens rescued from factory farms who now live in ‘Cluckingham Palace’.
A recent report from ACT’s planning department found there were a range of well documented benefits of community gardens, including health and societal – with majority of the benefits outlined around building community and friendships.
“Many of our residents met at the community garden and their relationships have grown into great friendships – not to mention the health benefits.
“It’s turned into a really great community project, we have about 55 residents working on the garden, with most of them using the fresh produce in their own cooking.
“We also use the produce for some of community events, such as our Melbourne Cup lunch and Christmas feast, where we used community-grown lettuce for salads and eggs from our chickens for frittatas.”
Ken Scott, one of the first residents at Ingenia Lifestyle Latitude One and a keen gardener said at first only a couple of residents were invested in the community garden.
“It didn’t take long for there to be a group of residents wanting to help maintain the garden – we all love being able to look after it collectively,” Mr Scott said.
“I have met many likeminded neighbours who have now all become good friends.”