2020 has been a tumultuous year, starting in January with bushfires, followed by a global pandemic which resulted in restrictions to people’s movement, disrupting our everyday lives.

So, the team behind the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH) activities in Australia wanted to focus on a project that would not only promote plant health but would also bring some healing to a regional community, such as the fire-affected town of Cobargo in south-east NSW.

A partnership was formed between Plant Biosecurity Research Initiative and the Youth Community Greening team from the Royal Botanic Garden & Domain Trust in Sydney. This team of dedicated educators work with schools and their students to design, develop, and build community gardens.

For the IYPH, the Youth Community Greening team has worked closely with the students at Cobargo Public School to design, plant and care for a bush tucker garden which celebrates plant health.

 The site of the IYPH Cobargo Bush Tucker Garden before planting and mulching.

The site of the IYPH Cobargo Bush Tucker Garden before planting and mulching.

 The site of the IYPH Cobargo Bush Tucker Garden after planting and mulching.

The site of the IYPH Cobargo Bush Tucker Garden after planting and mulching.

The children will learn about the plants they have selected, why they are important to the area, how to keep them healthy, what bugs and pests to look out for and how to maintain the garden for a lifetime to ensure that it continues to provide for the community.

Signage for the garden has been designed by the students and will showcase the IYPH. Totem poles designed and painted by Indigenous Yuin artist Natalie Bateman with the students will also be part of the garden.

The IYPH Cobargo Community Bush Tucker Garden will be a living legacy of the year and symbolises growth and renewal for this fire affected community.

 Cobargo Public School students learning about setting up a bush tucker garden.

Cobargo Public School students learning about setting up a bush tucker garden.

 Cobargo Public School students painting totem poles which will be displayed in the garden.

Cobargo Public School students painting totem poles which will be displayed in the garden.