Youth garden project grows veggies and self-esteem

Youth garden project grows veggies and self-esteem
A unique youth garden project is transforming the CASPA Learning Centre in Lismore.

The CASPA Learning Centre delivers educational programs and support to young people who are disengaged or unable to attend school due to complex needs and behaviours.

Thanks to a Youth Health and Wellbeing grant from the Northern NSW Local Health District, young people at CASPA have transformed a bare outdoor space into a garden courtyard.

Health Promotion Manager Jillian Adams said the aim of the youth grants was to start projects that would encourage young people to be physically active and eat more healthy food.

“The CASPA project ticks all the boxes,” Ms Adams said.
“There is plenty of physical work in building and maintaining a garden, and the young people will have the satisfaction of preparing and eating the fresh produce.”

CASPA Education Officer Jess Grace says a group of teenage boys who had never had a garden before, have been happily staying past their lessons to work on the project and have really taken ownership of it.

“Joel Orchard from Future Feeders led the project and inspired the young people to throw their energy into the garden. They worked together to design, build the garden beds, and learned about soils, worms, compost and gardening,” Ms Grace said.
“The next stage is a pizza oven for the courtyard.
“As well as taking ownership and pride in the garden, these young people have built their self-esteem and confidence and developed new friendships.
“Together we have created a beautiful outdoor space for students and a sustainable garden to use in our cooking program.”

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