Growing relationships with dads and their kids is the focus of a new program at Taree Community Garden

Dirt is not just dirt if you embrace the world view of Darren Harrison from Taree Community Garden.

He scoops soil from a garden bed and holds it high and assesses its texture and offers its potential.  

“Growing food teaches effort and reward, there is no better way to understand that than spending time working in a garden,” Darren said.

“You are working with seasons, you are playing with timing, you are playing with life, it has to be quite structured by its nature because you fail if you don’t structure it. It also feels so good to grow food.”

Darren will work to share that feel good factor every Tuesday at Taree Community Garden with a new program called ‘Dads and Dirt’. The garden is now a weekly community classroom as Darren works “to engage kids and their dads with food and with each other” between 4pm and 6pm.

Taree Community Garden is thriving in Wynter Street, Taree and Darren is part of the team that is working to develop its potential as a community asset. He is also focused on finding ways to ensure the garden is sustainable and the ‘Dads and Dirt’ program will play a vital role in its ongoing success.

“The garden needs regular maintenance and community input for it to be sustainable and the dads and their kids will play a part in helping the garden to grow.

“They will learn how to grow good nutritious food - it feels good to grow food! The dads and their kids can come and do a bit of work and then go home with a bag of basil to make their own fresh pesto, or some corn on the cob that they can peel back, cook and eat.

“They will learn what it takes to grow food and through that the kids will learn structure, responsibility, how to look after tools, hygiene, work and safety, how to connect with other kids and share ideas – this program is multi-faceted but the main core of it is connecting, not just with each other but with the Earth.”

The ‘Dads and Dirt’ program is supported by Mission Australia, Communities for Children, Uniting.