Garden cultivates spirit in the Cannington community

Garden curator and perma-culture designer Heather Stewart-Johnson and Jack Beere.
Garden curator and perma-culture designer Heather Stewart-Johnson and Jack Beere.

WHEN the waist high weeds behind the Cannington Seventh Day Adventist Church became too much to handle, the administration thought it was time for something to be done.

In the wide-open space, flooded with sunshine, a community garden was born.

In two years, it has gone from a single bed to a handbuilt green oasis that supplies produce to charity Manna and the Cannington homeless community every Friday night.

Garden curator and permaculture designer Heather Stewart-Johnson said she had enjoyed watching the garden become a touchstone in the community.

“(On Fridays) the food kitchen opens up at six and feeds anyone who comes in through the gates,” she said.

“There are people borderline homeless, homeless or people who are lonely, all sorts of people.”

Ms Stewart-Johnson said there was a gap in care for suburban homeless people, who often flew under the radar.

“There is a big black hole (for aid) in this area and probably a lot more homeless people that we haven’t reached yet,” she said.

“As we get one or two they tell us there are others and one or two collect food for others; there’s a big homeless group in this area because we are in a low-socio economic area.”

Ms Stewart-Johnson said on any other day the garden was a hub for volunteers, and the garden was looking for more people to join.

“If you want to volunteer rock up between 7 and 12 on Wednesday or Sunday, and if you have work release or Centrelink we are accredited to sign off on that,” she said.