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Bush food garden underway at Mt Ive

News release
12 December 2022

Native bush food expert Neville Bonney visited Mt Ive Station in December to help with the early development of the Gawler Ranges Educational Native Bush Food Garden.

Funded by an SA Arid Lands Grassroot Grant, the garden is designed to be a biodiverse space that offers connection between the land, native plants and the community.

The garden will be planted with arid zone plants endemic to the Gawler Ranges district. During Neville’s visit, a garden design and planting plan was developed. Once completed, the garden will be used to educate visitors about the plants and the attributes that have helped local species adapt and thrive in the arid lands.

Mt Ive owner and grant recipient Joy Newton said the garden plantings would include those historically used to produce indigenous bush medicine, food and tools.

Through the project, a 60m x 40m garden plot will be fenced to exclude animals. A meandering pathway will be developed and landscape types found throughout the Gawler Ranges will be replicated.

Interpretive maps will be developed, as well as handouts about the plant species in the garden to provide some insight to their health benefits. Signage to educate visitors about the plants and their significance will occur.

Visiting with Neville were Lindsay and Nadine Brown from Gawler Ranges National Park, who have also offered their assistance. The couple have great knowledge of the plants endemic to the Gawler Ranges and Nadine has published books on the topic.

Local traditional owner Elliott McNamara, who was born and grew up in the area is also involved in the project. He said he hoped the garden would be an enjoyable, educational space to visit.

“Recent rainfall has meant that, for the first time in years, the subsoil moisture had been replenished and we feel that now is the optimum opportunity for us to embark on this project,” Mrs Newton said.

“When the project is underway we plan to invite schools, community groups and locals to visit the site and are also willing to run educational programs.”

The SA Arid Lands Landscape Board's Grassroots Grant program helps communities across the region undertake environmental projects on a local level. The grants are funded through levies collected by the SA Arid Lands Landscape Board.