Grower Profile: Chantal Tenace

Chantal Tenace is a horticultural mover and shaker! As well as managing a plant nursery with her father and brother and running her own horticultural consultancy, Garden Soiree, she recently instigated and installed a community garden at her apartment block in Maribyrnong. Did I mention she is also a 2015 national finalist in the Nursery & Garden Industry Association Young Leader award?! Wowzers.

Last year, after working on a series of community gardening projects, she was inspired to create the garden at her apartment block, in an attempt to give residents space to grow their own food, as well as create a sense of community within the building.

Chantal pitched her idea to the body corporate committee, and soon enough it was approved and a working bee was scheduled. Many residents joined together to build and plant the garden, donating pre-loved pots, fruit trees, and recycled items that would have otherwise gone to landfill.

The 15m2 garden has a north-west orientation, allowing enough sun to grow a range of vegetables such as tomatoes, eggplants, kale, chilli, celery, coriander, sage, pineapple sage, mint, apple mint, basil, parsley, rosemary, and plenty more.

Of course, the garden is about more than the food. It has fostered a great sense of community and connection between the residents. Chantal says,

The garden has fostered a real sense of community by providing residents with an opportunity to meet and get to know each other on common ground. What was once a dull lifeless space is now our little green oasis. The fresh produce is a great bonus too!

With all her experience and passion for growing food, getting involved in the Grow it Local Melbourne Growers Feast was a no brainer for Chantal. She says,

I’m delighted to participate in the Grow It Local Feast as it encourages people to get hands on experience in growing their own produce. Growing your own produce is so much more rewarding than buying supermarket produce, and additionally you get to enjoy the benefit of healthier and tastier produce.

This story is part of a series we are producing in collaboration with Grow It Local to promote their Melbourne Growers Feast on the 1st of March, 2015.  If you live in Melbourne, you really should drop by the Grow It Local website, register your patch and get gardening! The owners of the top 50 most creative and unique patches will each win a double pass the event. A no brainer, right? GET GROWING PEOPLE!

PS. We were paid a small amount of money by Grow It Local to help cover some of the costs associated with producing this story.

Images by Abigail Varney