Skip to main content

Veggie patch connects war vets and local kids

Veggie patch connects war vets and local kids

Veggie patch connects war vets and local kids

Monday 1 July 2024
Share this article

To the layperson, the two planter boxes that sit in the children’s area behind St Jude’s Church at Brighton look like any other wooden planter boxes – they’re beautifully crafted in timber and are now flourishing with leafy green vegetables.

But the story of how they came about – and the role they will now play in the lives of the children who frequent the church’s playgroup and community meals – is nothing short of heartwarming.

The William Kibby VC Vets Shed heard through the community grapevine that St Jude’s parish priest, the Venerable Sophie Relf-Christopher, had plans to transform a disused garden behind the church into a flourishing children’s area.

So the vets shed members designed and built the two large planter boxes at their woodworking shed at Glenelg North, using funds gained from Council’s Greening our Community grant received in 2023.

Overgrown rosemary bushes were removed by vets shed members before installing the planter boxes and filling them with leafy, winter vegetables – which happen to be at the perfect height for the kids who attend the church’s weekly playgroup.

“The Vets association and St Jude’s are working together for the community and to strengthen both communities,” said Sophie, who has plans to expand the children’s area with a playground and another planter box.

Vets shed members attend the site weekly to help keep the garden in tip-top shape while prepping seedlings for the summer planting season.

Children who attend the playgroup are helping to care for the plants and when the vegetables are ready to be harvested, they’ll be used in the community meals that St Jude’s hosts on Fridays.

The vets shed also built a compost station for St Jude’s so all food scraps are composted on site and go back into the garden beds to grow more food for the community meals.

“These guys are so community minded, and their passion is helping people and connecting and giving their members meaningful projects with great outcomes,” said Sophie, who has been the parish priest at St Jude’s for the past eight years.

“They love this kind of thing, and we love having them around.”

Vets Shed president Graham Matthews said the project is hugely beneficial for its members – as it’s given them a project to focus on and an opportunity to join the meals at St Jude’s.

And he expects the relationship between the two groups will continue for “decades to come”.

St Jude’s hosts community meals every Friday from 11.30am – 1.30pm.

The William Kibby VC Vets Shed at Kibby Reserve, Glenelg North, is open on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

eNews Signup