Meet the Women Helping the Hobart’s Homeless Through Gardening
by Stephanie Williams
Sarah Clark is using her skills in gardening to help the homeless in Hobart.
Where in Hobart do you live? I recently moved to Mount Stuart.
What’s the best thing about Hobart? Being so close to the ocean and the bush but still living in the city.
And the worst? Everyone knows everyone!
Tell us a little about your work? I am manager/horticulturist at The Edible Precinct at Macquarie Point. It’s a community garden with a focus on education, sustainability and reconciliation. I grow and maintain all of the plants at Macquarie Point in wicking boxes. We have many different community groups utilising the garden such as the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, Palawa Kipli, Nayri Niara, Aboriginal Men’s Health Group, TMAG and Mona’s 24 Carrots for events, education and harvesting of indigenous and exotic edibles. Angus Stewart, an expert in Australian native plants, was the founder of The Edible Precinct and continues to work with organisations such as TasWater at Macquarie Point in further educating the community on the water-saving benefits of wicking beds. Angus also runs free workshops on various gardening topics such as composting and gardening tips and tricks. One of my favourite jobs is harvesting produce for donations that go to various shelters and The Migrant Resource Centre.
You have been volunteering your gardening expertise at Bethlehem House and now at the new men’s accommodation on Murray Street. How are you helping? I supervise volunteers from Bethlehem House, Hallam House and the new men’s accomodation on Murray Street, as well as volunteers from the Hobart Women’s Shelter. We grow vegetables together at the Edible Precinct, and Macquarie Point donates to the organisations each week. I was recently invited to tour the men’s accomodation after a gardening session with the residents and I found that the garden beds in the outdoor area at Murray Street were bare soil with no plants. I decided that I wanted to fill the empty beds with edible and therapeutic plants for the men to grow themselves. The resident volunteers were keen to help.
How can readers help the work you’re doing with the men’s accomodation? Get in touch with me for more information through Instagram @sarah_clark_tasmania. If you’d like to donate money, I’ve started a GoFundMe page called ‘Edible and Therapeutic Gardens, Men’s Shelters’ to raise funds for seasonal vegetables, straw and compost for the gardens.
I’m inspired by… Dedicated and hard-working gardeners.
What do you love doing outside work? Socialising with family and friends. I love to cook for people.
Where’s your favourite Hobart eatery? Because I’m often wearing work clothes at lunch time I prefer to visit casual places like Cyclo for a beef pho.
Drink of choice and where do you head for it? Tequila at Pancho Villa.
Favourite team? The Hawks.
What’s your dream project to work on? I’ve thought about this for a while and I have to say that my current job is it. I enjoy working with the different artistic minds and self-motivated people who work at Macquarie Point. For the non-green thumbs out there, what’s the best way to get started with gardening? Connect with your local community garden – there are several of these in Hobart – where you might do seed swaps or gardening workshops and learn about appropriate plants for your area and how to care for them.
What do you never leave home without? Lipstick.
I’d like to travel to… Rajasthan, India because my grandmother is from there.
If I didn’t live in Hobart I’d live... In Melbourne because I grew up there.
Favourite Hobart secret? It’s just out of Hobart but my favourite little island covered in tiny shells is Spectacle Island near Lewisham, a great spot for snorkelling.
Where to next? When I look to the future I think about ways in which I can improve the work I’m doing now.
Quote to live by? “Our prime purpose in life is to help others and if you can’t help them at least don’t hurt them” – Dalai Lama.