ECH, a retirement living and home care provider in South Australia, has cultivated a new Bush Tucker Garden to foster community engagement and cultural connections. The garden, aimed at expanding cultural knowledge and highlighting the health benefits of native flora, was officially opened on June 1st at Modbury as part of National Reconciliation Week.
To commemorate the occasion, Buandig woman Leanne Williams provided a guided tour of the edible natives and bush foods, followed by an indigenous-inspired afternoon tea for ECH residents and clients.
ECH Chief Executive Claire Scapinello emphasised that the Bush Tucker Garden project reflects the organisation’s ongoing commitment to reconciliation and support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities. The idea originated from ECH’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) Working Group, aiming to engage clients and team members in the reconciliation journey and foster a deeper understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures through a multisensory experience.
“At ECH, we take pride in our inclusive approach and encourage residents and clients to embrace cultural diversity and social connections, not only through this project at ECH Encore Apartments but in everything we do,” said Ms Scapinello.
“The garden features a wide variety of ornamental plants, fruit trees, and native species, providing residents and clients with an opportunity to engage and benefit from this unique initiative.”
The selection of plants for the Bush Tucker Garden was carefully made by ECH Connections lead and horticulturist Mel Sanders, along with ECH Peer Connector Trevor Martin. The plants were sourced from reputable nurseries such as Belair State Flora, Coromandel Native Nursery, and Karkoo Oakbank.
Ms Williams, a horticulture, conservation, and land management expert with a Diploma in Horticulture, has been actively involved in delivering workshops on bush food plants to various community groups and as a guest lecturer at UniSA. She praised ECH for its commitment to expanding cultural knowledge and highlighting the significance and versatility of native botanicals.
“Bush food has sustained generations of Aboriginal peoples, and this event represents a rich and vibrant history in the culture of this land,” Ms Williams said.
“The Bush Tucker Garden is a testament to ECH’s dedication to expanding cultural knowledge and showcasing the importance of native plants. I am thrilled to be part of this project, as it allows me to share my culture with the community, and the residents of Encore have access to a range of supplementary flavours they can incorporate into their culinary dishes.”
The Bush Tucker Garden at ECH Encore Apartments signals a commitment to fostering cultural understanding, promoting diversity, and providing residents and clients with unique opportunities for engagement and enrichment.