Nurturing far more than herbs

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Byron Bay Herb Nursery is just past the Sunrise IGA Supermarket - a turn left into the road that leads to the Byron Sewerage works.  Just before the road ends is the entrance to the Byron Bay Herb Nursery – a wonderland of blossoming herbs in a sea of purple pots.

Byron Bay Herb Nursery provides employment and training to 15 young adults with a range of disabilities from across the Northern Rivers.  Their nursery training is fully certified and provides opportunities for ongoing employment at the nursery, or with other employers committed to actively supporting people with disabilities.

On arrival you will be greeted by Danielle (pictured with David) who is very keen on customer service.  After introducing herself she will hand you the extensive list of herbs and plants available – numerous varieties of basil, chilli, lavender, parsley…a list too large to name.  She will also offer to show customers around and be available any time there are any questions, or if you want to place an order.

The potting shed has a joyful, lively hum as the team goes about their daily work – separating small seedlings and potting them up in preparation for sale.  The local radio station chatters along in the background, and the nursery dog makes sure everyone gets attention.  

It’s a happy place to work and the vast array of even happier herbs outside the shed is testament to the workers’ collective skill and dedication.

Through grants from NRCF, Byron Bay Herb Nursery has been able to provide two workers with a 4WD wheelbarrow, enabling them to work independently when they are moving plants and other materials around the nursery.  NRCF also supported their ‘getting ready for work’ program, enabling students from high school and TAFE to do work experience and gain skills in horticulture and OHS.  Three students who graduated from the program have since gained permanent paid employment.

NRCF’s most recent grant is assisting the nursery’s sensory garden and film project.  The aim is to empower the workers to break down barriers between themselves and the community by offering greater insight into their lives.  At the same time they are also gaining valuable new skills while producing and publishing their own online content through the nursery’s various media channels.

NRCF and its supporters are so proud to help provide training and employment to local young people facing unimaginable challenges – and who truly deserve support.