GARDEN VARIETY: Jacob, Maya and Rachel Heaton, project manager of the Bushfood Living Classroom.
GARDEN VARIETY: Jacob, Maya and Rachel Heaton, project manager of the Bushfood Living Classroom. Cathryn Mclauchlan

Forgotten land turned into living garden classroom

A FORGOTTEN piece of land at Federal has been turned into a living classroom filled with 400 sub-tropical rainforest plants.

The Bushfood Living Classroom - an initiative of the Federal and Widjibal communities - is located at the Federal Community Children's Centre.

Centre director Mandala Diehl said kids had already shown a boosted interest in being outdoors.

"We used to come out with the children every Thursday ... a lot of the children would come and have a look and say, 'can we go back inside and play?' and now, they've been out here for 40 minutes, and there's no toys," Ms Diehl said.

"They're involved in nature and it's such a special gift to share with children."

Project manager Rachel Heaton said 35 different local bush food species were planted with the help of the kids, the community, and staff.

"We really wanted to focus on bush foods that are ... edible, or with leaves that are scented," she said.

Some of the native plants include native mulberries, apples, plums and lemon myrtles.

The living garden planning began during Reconciliation Week last year.

Ms Heaton said one of the big advantages of the garden was that it would educate the whole community about native foods and plants.

The centre staff have also launched a booklet detailing the 35 species, with maps and information about the living garden.

Ms Heaton, who researched and compiled the booklet, said community members could order a copy by calling the centre on 6688 4371.

The booklet costs $20 plus postage, with all funds going back to supporting the garden.



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