Townsville Hospital and Health Service sub-acute care unit

Monday 20 July 2015

Patients and staff planting the fruit, herbs and vegetables into the<br>BioWicked garden beds.

Patients and staff planting the fruit, herbs and vegetables into the
BioWicked garden beds.

Patients at the Townsville Hospital and Health Service sub-acute care unit will take some time out for gardening this week thanks to the Townsville City Council funded Neighbourhood Garden Project.

The project will see the installation of two BioWicked garden beds which will grow herbs, fruit and vegetables such as rosemary, sage, thyme, passionfruit, orange and bananas at the unit.

The beds are an initiative of Townsville City Council’s Inclusive Communities Committee, partnering community clubs and groups with council.

Inclusive Communities Committee chair Councilor Coleen Doyle said the program had stimulated great outcomes for the community with four gardens already up and running.

“From getting people together in a healthy outdoor activity, to actually growing produce to supplement fresh food supplies in the city, there really are so many positives,” she said.

Neighbourhood Garden Project’s permaculture designer Brett Pritchard said the garden beds are designed for low-maintenance food growing.

“The BioWicked garden bed system includes 2.4 metres of bench seating and an inbuilt worm farm intended to be used as part of a food-waste cycle,” he said.

“The garden beds are also well suited to our dry climate, are water conserving and carbon negative.”

“The system’s easy access and low maintenance makes it easy for people with low mobility to grow food.”

Sub-acute care acting nurse unit manager Chris McIntosh said the installation of the garden beds would provide a nurturing environment for patients.

“Patients can spend up to three months at the sub-acute care unit while they learn to live independently at home following injury, stroke or diagnosis of debilitating conditions,” Ms McIntosh said.

“Providing interactive, hands on experiences can support recovery by allowing our patients to do the types of activities they might do at home.”

“Looking after plants and spending time outdoors is also therapeutic and relaxing.”

In addition to gardening, patients at the unit also take part in bi-weekly meal preparation groups which involve recipe selection, shopping planning sessions and discussions about healthier alternatives.

“Similar to the gardening, the cooking aims to engage patients in activities of daily living,” Ms McIntosh said.

“This enhances therapy engagement, improves health education, knowledge and nutrition and gives patients an opportunity to socialise.”

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