Native Bushfoods Garden opens in Carlton North


By Jemma van Zaanen

Carlton Neighbourhood Learning Centre (CNLC) has launched its new Native Bushfood Garden at its Princes St centre in Carlton North, providing Aboriginal bushfoods and space to educate the community on native plants.

Opened to the public on November 24, the garden is home to hundreds of native plants, and space for educational workshops, , as well as a purpose-built wheelchair accessible path which leads to a yarning circle and fire pit.

The garden will also provide an important meeting place for local Aboriginal people.

CNLC’s community development manager Elle Morrell said, “we are really dedicated to having a native bushfoods garden to honour the land we are on, and to welcome more Aboriginal people to the community centre.”

“We hope to have cooking workshops with the bushfoods and offer local restaurants our produce. In the future, we hope to grow and offer restaurants specific bushfoods they are after.”

The community centre worked with the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation closely to produce an authentic native garden. 

Aboriginal-run nurseries were used to source the plants which have been used to showcase both their environmental and medicinal values to the community. 

According to Ms Morrell, the development of the garden had been a “big collective process”, with the garden’s beds planted by an adult language class from the centre. 


“We planted everything together. The class got to learn a lot about native plants and what they mean for Australia,” Ms Morrell said. 


The garden will be open to the public to visit, and an invitation will be put out for Aboriginal groups and communities to have “priority access” to the space.

The launch of the garden on November 24, attended by City of Yarra Mayor Sophie Wade, was described by Ms Morrell as “a celebration of being on Country and being in a beautiful garden in the middle of the city for people to learn and enjoy”.

The Native Bushfoods Garden is now open at 20 Princes St, Carlton North.  •

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