Green program set to sow seeds, grow skills

A NEW program will support people with a disability to build work readiness skills and gain employment.

Sowing seeds, growing people is a joint initiative between Continuing Education and PepperGreen Farm and is funded through the state and federal governments. 

The program starts on June 16 and goes for 12 months. 

Program and horticultural teacher Leigh Somerville said some businesses failed to understand the full benefits of employing workers with a disability. 

"There is so much incentive that they can actually gain from employing someone with a disability," he said.

He said the program would take place two mornings a week and was aimed at people with a disability who had left school. 

He said learning would include maintaining the garden and growing plants, vegetables and herbs.

"We are hoping to build partnerships through what the students are doing with the local community as well as the restaurants in Bendigo," he said. 

"The aim is for them to try to create a kitchen garden, where, in time, we can use for them to gain employment.

"It is about building their self esteem and strengths - and being part of a team.

"Hopefully they can build some skills that will give them employment further down the track."

Mr Somerville said the program was also a good opportunity for students to learn about health and nutrition.

"The benefits are getting them outside and trying to show them some healthy eating habits," he said. 

"They are pushing all of the schools at the moment to be eating healthier and living better lifestyles.

"As we know there is nothing better than eating something homegrown - it doesn't have the chemicals." 

He said the program would involve eight to 10 students and places were still available.  

He said people interested should contact 5430 2100. 

PepperGreen Farm is in Thunder Street, North Bendigo. 

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