I first met Jo from Therapeutic Gardens a couple of years ago. What inspired me about her was her intimate understanding and her passion for the power of gardens, of the natural environment, to promote health and well-being for people of all ages, abilities and needs. Almost immediately we started talking about how we could work together to improve the health and well-being of some of Australia’s most vulnerable.
Dinner on the Table has always worked on the premise that having a good dinner cooked for you changes your daily life. But how that dinner is produced changes lives too. At Dinner on the Table, we have a goal to situate our commercial kitchen in a prominent location where we can prepare nutritious meals for busy households all over Sydney. This will be a place where people with disability can receive accredited training in hospitality skills and increase their ability to find meaningful employment in the industry, and where busy members of the community can purchase healthy, ready-made meals for themselves and their families. Most importantly, our kitchen will be situated in a productive garden, where produce can be grown for use in our kitchen. We hear much about ‘food miles’ and the environmental benefits of sourcing local produce. Through our collaboration with Therapeutic Gardens, and drawing on their expertise, we know that there is so much more to be gained from this garden than environmental benefits. This garden will positively impact lives.
We’re delighted to be working with Therapeutic Gardens to see this vision come to fruition: a garden that is both productive and usable by people of all abilities. It will be a place for learning, for relaxation, and for the creation of employment pathways for those who might not otherwise have that opportunity. Most importantly, it will be a place that can be enjoyed by the whole community. For Dinner on the Table, this garden completes the circle of our impact on the lives of vulnerable people: growing, cooking and eating wholesome meals.
I’m honoured to have had the opportunity to get to know Jo. It’s our privilege to work with her and her team to build and share her vision for Australia: that every person should have access to a therapeutic garden to support their physical and mental well-being, regardless of their developmental, cognitive, psychological or physical challenges.
Rachel Golding is the founder of Dinner on the Table. Since 2015, she and her team have gifted 1,103 meals to families living with disability.
To read more about the affiliation between Therapeutic Gardens and Dinner on the Table, read our article here.