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The community garden at Compass Catholic Community in South Australia (The Southern Cross)

Students at South Australia’s Compass Catholic Community are sprouting green thumbs, thanks to a successful community garden program. Source: The Southern Cross. 

Compass is a fee-free secondary school for 17 to 24-year-olds, many of whom have become disengaged from mainstream education. The community garden provides students with hands-on learning experiences that cultivate a deeper understanding of the natural world and the benefits of sustainable gardening.

The community garden is being supported by SA Water’s 2022-23 Community Partnerships Program. The annual program is part of the utility’s ongoing commitment to supporting grassroots organisations deliver projects that involve water sustainability, community wellbeing and environmental outcomes across South Australia.

Compass Catholic Community Partnerships lead Scott Hockenhull said he was thrilled with the journey the school community has embarked on to design and construct its very own vibrant garden, including researching nearby gardens.

“All of the students were invited to participate and contribute their ideas to the project and a trip was organised to Urrbrae House and the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, allowing everyone to capture photos to inspire their contributions to the garden,” Mr Hockenhull said.

“We created the Community Garden Wall of Inspiration to showcase the result of students’ ideas, fostering a sense of community involvement.

“Through the student’s research, the use of wicking beds was identified as the best sustainable approach and we arranged for Adelaide Hills Veggie Gardens to deliver a workshop on how to construct the beds.

Mr Hockhull said the school was now planning for new projects including “installing bird boxes, bee hotels and seating”.

Students at Compass Catholic are involved with projects and workshops they design around their interests, passions and goals, with a focus on providing them with the tools, resources and support to get there.

Student Erin said the garden has been a transformative experience.

“It’s not just about gardening, it’s about making this space ours, learning from it, and being proud of what we’ve achieved,” Erin said.


Compass community garden flourishes (The Southern Cross)