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Yam Island Community Garden – RIG News, Dec 2012

2013 January 15
by anthea
Yam Is Eggplant

News from the Torres Strait

Iama GaGai Thawap – Yam Island Community Garden

The people of the Torres Strait Islands possess longstanding gardening traditions and in recent years there has been renewed interest in gardening  – for pleasure, family and in response to the need to build resilience. The Yam Island Community Garden has been revitalised in 2012 and is going from strength to strength with maintenance and leadership provided by a respected member of the community. The following story and pictures provided by Rhys Swain, who is the Community Development Officer, Coastal Management and Community Gardens, CEA, located at Thursday Island.

Located centrally in the Torres Strait, Iama is an extension of Cape York Peninsular in the form of a high basaltic island surrounded by fringing coral reef. The climate and rainfall in this region are dominated by the formation of the monsoon trough in the summer months with relatively low rainfall for the remainder of the year.

The community has approximately 250 residents and the community garden is a not-for-profit venture joint funded by the Torres Strait Regional Authority and Community Enterprises Australia (CEA).

Over the last year the community garden at Iama has been revived with the installation of a greenhouse, garden beds, scarecrow and irrigation – most of which utilize recycled materials found locally. Training in Certificate I, II Horticulture was completed in June 2012 with 15 candidates achieving competency. The horticulture training was facilitated by Robyn Wing of Training Connections Australia who, with careful guidance and plenty of good laughs, developed the skills and knowledge base of the CDEP participants taking part in the training.

This garden has formed the benchmark for community gardens through-out the Torres Strait and the developments continue to occur. A gazebo for shade and rest has been constructed last month and a tool shed and BBQ are nearing completion. This garden also continues to produce fresh fruits and vegetables for community events and also coastal plants to help control erosion of Iama’s beaches.

One of the training candidates, an elder gentleman who is an avid gardener, is now employed full time to maintain the garden. He is assisted by some part time paid participants who roster on, along with community members who drop by, sign in, and help in the garden.

A massive congratulations goes out to the CDEP participants and trainees of the Iama community. This rewarding resource is a credit to the commitment and continuing efforts of the newly qualified horticulturalist’s in the development of the Iama GaiGai Thawup (Yam Island Community Garden). And a big thank you to the delightful Robyn Wing for all her hard work and ongoing support. We wish you all the best for the festive season and can’t wait to get our hands dirty again next year.

Pictured (from left to right)

  1. Cassava at the back of the garden
  2. Horticulture training with Robyn Wing at the completed Greenhouse
  3. Greenhouse construction
  4. Featured above: Thriving eggplant with dripline irrigation

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