Garden volunteer dedication continues to grow a decade on

February 18, 2021 BY

Portarlington Community Garden volunteers Garry O’Callaghan, Herb Picker, Neville Meyers, Colin Hutchesson, Chris Bridge, Bruce Holmes and Kevin Moran volunteer their time every week to help grow an abundance of fruit and vegetables, which is donated to local families in need. Photo: REBECCA ADAM

PORTARLINGTON Community Garden volunteer Garry O’Callaghan says he’s enjoyed teaching young children all aspects of gardening during his years at the patch.

Mr O’Callaghan has volunteered at the garden for more than 10 years and said a highlight was teaching the Portarlington Primary School pupils about gardening, providing them with fresh food and getting them to try different fruits.

“I had a five-year-old girl come out and I went to give her a piece of fruit and she said, “no, I don’t eat that”, Mr O’Callaghan said.

“I said, ‘Why don’t you just try it?’.

“Eventually she tried it and loved it and asked for more and then asked to take some home.

“So that’s why it’s such a good idea to get the kids out here to try and eat the different fruits at a younger age, so they’ll keep eating it, and it’s healthy and fresh.”

Mr O’Callaghan said he hoped the opportunity would arise again soon when pupils would make weekly visits to the garden.

He said eight men volunteered their time each Friday morning at the community garden to help grow fruit and vegetables, which was donated to local families in need.

“We have tomatoes coming out of our ears,” he said. “We also grow peas, beans, beetroot, all varieties of onions, capsicums, grapes, and have eight to 10 fruit trees.”

Mr O’Callaghan said the volunteers enjoyed the camaraderie, as they were all around the same age, and encouraged other locals to come down on a Friday morning and lend a hand.

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