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Friendship grows through cultural garden

Multicultrural Reference Group
The Bundaberg Multicultural Reference Group at The Harmony Garden, situated in the Tom Quinn Community Centre.

The Bundaberg Multicultural Reference Group is made up of members who have a passion for connecting culture and community.

In 2019, the group came up with an initiative to establish a garden space where they could grow vegetables, fruits and herbs from countries around the world.

The group and their positive initiative has been profiled as part of Bundaberg Regional Council's Our People Our Stories project, which aims to highlight the local community and its residents.

The groups said they wanted their garden space to be a place for people of varying cultures and backgrounds to visit and enjoy and, with the help of the Bundaberg & District Neighbourhood Centre and the Tom Quinn Community Centre, The Harmony Garden came to fruition.

Bundaberg Multicultural Reference Group former chairperson Dianne Hicks, along with former migrant settlement worker Ranjan Morris helped to coordinate the efforts of all involved.

“The Harmony Garden is a place of belonging and a connection to home,” Dianne said.

“It is a place where community connections happen.”

Dianne said the garden was important to its members because it was also a place that they could go to grow vegetables from their home country that were not readily available in Bundaberg.

“It has helped our multicultural society find the link to home through food such as cassava, bitter melon, okra and more,” she said.

“Meeting at The Harmony Garden has become a real social event and we have morning teas there after gardening and people bring food to share and create friendships and socialise.”

Dianne said overall, the garden was about celebrating and embracing cultural diversity.

“By celebrating people, we are breaking down the barriers and we are creating acceptance and compassion for each other,” she said.

“This simple initiative has generated opportunities and experiences that were never expected.

“While we learn about food and cooking from different countries, we also learn about each other.”

The Bundaberg Multicultural Reference Group Harmony Garden is situated at the Tom Quinn Community Centre on Killer Street, Bundaberg.

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