Toni has a passion to see organic principles adopted by everyone, encouraging people to grow organic produce anywhere, whether it’s in their backyard, hospital rehabilitation centre, day programs for people with disabilities or even mental health and aged care facilities.
Toni is a qualified horticulturist and has been teaching community education classes on organic gardening through local councils around Sydney since 2003.
Toni also spends her time running therapeutic gardening programs and developing sensory gardens through a number of community health organisations. She offers training on social and therapeutic gardening for staff, carers and volunteers working in aged care, mental health, disability, rehabilitation, schools or community gardens.
Toni has been a national councillor for the Australian Institute of Horticulture and is currently the President of Cultivate, the Horticultural Therapy Society of NSW.
Toni and I met online a few years ago and had an instant connection as our passions and interest are very much aligned. We’re like two peas from a home-grown pod!!
Through our conversation Toni shares;
- Her journey into gardening and growing fresh food for her young family
- Her failures at growing food then the solutions by following organic gardening principles
- How she inspired many people to start gardening organically and began to share her knowledge with others
- Her workshops provided throughout the Sydney districts
- How she realised that gardening was a form of therapy through difficult times while her children were young
- Training as a Diversional Therapist to provide therapeutic gardening programs
- Her current position as President of Cultivate NSW
- The national body for Horticultural Therapy in Australia
Toni also shares her top tips for starting a therapy program…
- Find a champion to get the program started
- Start small with a tray of herbs or potted flowers
- Make it relevant and to mean something to gardeners
- Let your clients lead the way
- Have FUN!!
More information on Toni’s personal blog and her therapeutic gardening programs, workshops and resources are available at www.theveggielady.com
Cultivate is the peak body for horticultural therapy in NSW, and currently located at the Telopea Centre on the campus at Ryde TAFE.
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