Construction begins on VASS Food Forest: An oasis to enhance health and wellbeing

Yooralla and Global Gardens of Peace (GGoP) are pleased to announce their partnership to develop a unique ‘Food Forest’ – a beautiful oasis to enhance the health and wellbeing of residents at Yooralla’s Ventilator Accommodation Support Service (VASS) in Melbourne’s inner northern suburb of Thornbury.

A former VASS resident had the vision for the food-producing garden that also features a temperature controlled outdoor room that residents and their visiting family and friends can use. As residents at VASS depend on life support equipment, such as mechanical ventilators for breathing and a wheelchair for mobility, this can often mean extended periods of time indoors, depending on their health and wellbeing.

The Food Forest, made possible by the generosity of both Yooralla and GGoP donors, will provide a refreshing change of environment that will balance the hours spent indoors.

Through a series of co-designed workshops led by President of GGoP and respected Landscape Architect, Andrew Laidlaw, residents and staff have contributed their thoughts on flowers, herbs and vegetables that can be grown, as well as raised garden beds, vertical plants and espaliered fruit trees.

Weatherproof seating areas, water features and communal cooking facilities are also part of the aspiration for the beautiful oasis for residents, as well as those who are on temporary short-term accommodation (respite) stays.

Terry Symonds, Chief Executive Officer at Yooralla said, “Our residents had a vision to create outdoor environments that would enrich their lives, offer privacy, promote independence and increase social connections. The Food Forest will make for a refreshing change of environment for those who live at VASS.”

“This project has been a long time in the making and it’s been a pleasure to work with a like-minded organisation such as Global Gardens of Peace on this project that will greatly benefit the residents at VASS,” Terry said.

Andrew Laidlaw agrees that “the Food Forest garden we co-create for the VASS community will create a sensory experience that will allow individuals to immerse themselves in a garden full of flowers scent and edible plants, a garden that will enrich their lives.”

Andrew worked closely with Landscape Designers Eckersley Garden Architecture (EGA) who willingly donated their expertise and time on the design development stage and construction documentation stage of the project.

Construction will begin in the week commencing 16 January 2023, with the support of a number of GGoP donors as well as contractors and suppliers who will be donating their labour and materials to the project. Construction is expected to take 12 weeks to complete.


Media contact:

Julia Le Hunt, Senior Marketing and Communications Advisor, Yooralla

Phone: 03 9633 6912

Mobile: 0448 245 244


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