For more than four years, Melba Support Services' people supported have been learning that the best fun sometimes involves getting outdoors and growing their green thumbs.
Harvest Collective, a wonderful gardening initiative designed to stock tuck shops in Victorian schools with healthy and yummy foods, has been operating for four years.
Harvest Collective works in partnership with Melba, Yarra Ranges Council and Insirpo, a local community health service which provides the people we support with accessibility to wholesome and nutritious foods while getting involved in the local community.
It’s a hands-on learning program offered in local schools where students and people supported by Melba share information about establishing canteen gardens, growing produce and preparing real food lunches in school canteens.
This year, we were joined by volunteers and other community members to work with local school children to grow and harvest veggies, which were then used to prepare healthy lunches. The program aims to demystify disability and difference, and to encourage a society that values individuality and the strength of humankind. This year, kids and people supported were sent gardening packs with seeds, a weekly task guide, and a recipe card. Pictures were shared on the Harvest Collective Facebook page, to the delight and pride of the participants. It was a very successful program as everyone had lots of fun, and the initiative had certainly encouraged healthier eating habits. It was also another creative way the people we support could get involved in their communities.