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Gardening workshop promotes sustainability among Iama community

The Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) Environmental Management team recently brought its Community Backyard Garden Workshop program to Iama for the first time.

TSRA Chairperson, Mr Napau Pedro Stephen AM, said the Environmental Management team’s garden workshops aimed to renew Iama community’s interest in taking up gardening in their own backyard, which is easier for them to look after and in order to complement the traditional gardening practices of our ancestors.

“The TSRA’s Environmental Management team continues to share their knowledge and skills with our communities and help them to develop sustainable gardening practices in addition to their traditional gardening practices,” Mr Stephen said.

“As a project, the workshops bring participants together to learn how to manage their own garden or to revive the communal garden with support from the TSRA, for people that don’t have the space in their own yard.

The Iama community had previously been introduced to a community gardening program through a project led by training organisation My Pathway.

The My Pathway project had trained people in horticulture with accredited certificates and had developed a communal garden next to the airstrip, yet, over time the participants moved on to other projects and family commitments.

Natural Resource Management Officer, Mr George Saveka attended the two-and-a-half-day workshop to run the gardening activity and discuss people’s needs.

“Getting to understand the individual and wider needs is important, so that we can show how sustainable horticulture can fulfil them and provide materials to support their gardening projects,” Mr Saveka said.

“The key was to work closely with the Iama community in order to understand how our Environmental Management team can help get them back into their gardens and really enjoy gardening.”

The long-awaited workshop has now armed the participants with new skills to add to their traditional gardening practices, so they can start maintaining gardens across the island and eventually enjoy the harvest of their labours.

Bringing sustainability back into their gardening practices will mean that cultural events should have more than two or three harvests each year to share in, which has both social and environmental benefits for the community.

Pictured: Iama participants for the Community Garden Workshop.

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