As part of National Youth Week I wanted to ensure I threw something out there to (again) show our wider community just how much wisdom and insight our local young people have to offer. I really didn't have to look far. In fact, I didn't have to look at all. As it turns out, one of my own teenager's best mates has a great story to share, and a message that he demonstrates not only with words but in his commitment to building something his entire neighbourhood can enjoy.
Angus Lillie is sixteen years old, and has been quietly building a little village plot of his very own on a block of previously underutilised land in the heart of Richmond.
What I found interesting was that National Youth Week overlaps with the 2018 NSW Seniors Festival, and because I'm quite pushed for time with university and other commitments, I was worried about where exactly to spend my energy last fortnight. Was I to tell a youth story or a seniors story?
As it happens, Angus has managed to tell a story that is truly about all ages, and even encompasses all cultures. As Angus says, gardening is one thing that people of every age can enjoy and share with one another. Not only is it a great way to get people together, but it's a way that older individuals can pass down their knowledge to us. It's also something that differs in method between cultures, according to their preferred food crops and overall gardening method.
"I've grown up not realising how much of a community there is until now... one of my neighbours who lives up on the corner; he's eighty, or something. So I used to go and garden for him on Saturday mornings. He's Italian, and he does the lemon on the legs to keep the mosquitoes away, and stuff like that. All the nifty little tricks. I picked up a lot of interesting things from him... conversations, and multicultural aspects to it, I suppose. It varies across a lot of ages and it opens doors to new people."
Please enjoy this wonderful story, told entirely by a young person who lives and goes to school in our own community here in the Hawkesbury. How lucky we are to have such passionate young people among us!
You can follow Angus on Instagram at @theplot17. He funds the garden himself and would like to eventually welcome other kids and teens to come and have a go. If you can spare a tray of seedlings, organic fertiliser, mulch or chook food for him, he'd sure love it. You can get in touch with him via my contact page, or directly message him on Instagram.
Love the music in the video? I do too, and it's used with permission from the artists. Do support them!
Music by jak features sax played by Kent Parkstreet and can be listened to and purchased here.
Music by The Supahip (as heard in the end credits) can be listened to and purchased here.