Detainees at Canberra’s Bimberi Youth Detention Centre are giving back to the community by growing vegetables.
A vegetable garden at the facility has been so fruitful the excess produce is being collected by charity group OzHarvest and distributed to disadvantaged Canberrans.
The project started 12 months ago when the detainees designed the garden which will soon include a greenhouse.
Horticulture teacher John Ellis says the program has given Bimberi residents a positive project to be involved in.
“You can see they gain a lot out of it, it’s about educating them but they’re also getting these skills that come in handy,” he said.
“Most days they come in and they’re keen to have a go.”
One detainee, Kieran, says the program gives them something to look forward to.
“It gives us something to do during education, teaches us life skills – if we get our own house or flat we can grow plants and vegetables,” he said.
“It’s not just good for me, it’s good for everyone, everyone gets to do it.”
Minister for Children and Young People Joy Burch says the program is an effective way to help the youth develop a connection with the community.
“These are real horticultural skills that they’re learning plus they get to see the fruits of their benefits … quite literally when the fruit garden gets going,” she said.
“To have a connection to the broader community, and for them knowing that they’re not only helping to feed the other residents here but to helping others who a less-advantaged in the community is a wonderful thing.”
The detainees will also be offered cooking and barista courses in the coming weeks to help develop their vocational skills.