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Growing opportunities

Stuart is the Coordinator of our new permaculture program.

For Stuart Muir Wilson, Program Coordinator of the Seedwell Project, which recently became part of Jesuit Social Services, permaculture is the ideal way to create meaningful and sustainable pathways to employment.

Stuart says “Permaculture helps support people in need, and that’s why I’m really excited about working with Jesuit Social Services”.

“My background is in architecture, building, business and education, so I’ve got a different approach to what is commonly found in the social sector.”

The Seedwell Project is one of a range of programs being delivered at the Brunswick campus of Jesuit Community College. These programs include barista training, animal studies, carpentry skills (including the Hammertime project developed especially for young women), mushroom growing and permaculture. Also in planning stages is a Tiny Homes project, both as a skills development initiative and an example of how to build an environmentally, economically sustainable and affordable housing option.

Stuart says that the training at the Brunswick campus of Jesuit Community College often has a deep impact on the young people who come through its programs. “It’s a bit of a respite for kids who might have trouble at home or at school, helping them build up their confidence and self-esteem. When they see they can grow and eat something, something changes in their eyes, and they come alive and get engaged with their education which is really inspiring to see.”

Stuart is seeing social benefits in the programs offered at the site. “It’s amazing to see partnerships and friendships develop. The distinction between being a program participant or a volunteer falls away; you’re just people gardening together, which is the really nice thing about permaculture. We have volunteers, people who are unemployed, and refugee kids all working in the garden together, creating community and learning from each other”.

“I’ve seen this model work around the world, it connects people back to their food and environment and it changes employment, training and education outcomes across the board.”

If you’re interested to learn about volunteering opportunities with the program, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Branka Mladjen at volunteers@jss.org.au

The Seedwell Project is funded by Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation through the Eldon and Anne Foote Trust. The Hammertime Project is funded by the Inner Northern Community Foundation.