To thrive is to grow well and flourish. Sustainability is maintaining ecological balance at a particular level. The combination of the two is the perfectly apt name for a business nestled on the hill in Lower Chittering achieving just that!
Laura Blishen of Thrive Sustainability has been sharing her expertise on creating and maintaining edible gardens since 2015. It was a natural progression from her passionate hobby to educating others.
Growing up in the suburbs of chilly England, Laura’s parents still managed to nurture a big garden full of veggies, inspiring an early interest in their daughter. Learning by trial and error, Laura’s knowledge has stemmed from a childhood enjoying fresh produce straight from the backyard.
Laura’s own garden prospered in Australia after emigrating in 2012. Her friends benefited from the excess produce she shared, often crooning, “I wish I could do this.” Laura says, “They had the misconception that it is too difficult,” and this ignited her passion to help and inspire others to grow their own food.
There are a multitude of benefits to growing your own produce. “You have the peace of mind of knowing where it has come from, how it was grown, and that it has not been sprayed. It comes unpackaged straight from the yard, cutting down a quarter of your waste,” Laura explains.
The nursery is located at 48 Citron Way to the rear of the family’s 5-acre property. It is open from 9am to 5pm Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, where the family are at work together. Laura’s husband Andy, who is a full-time mechanical engineer, plays an important role behind the scenes and is looking forward to expanding his position. “The dream is to give up what I do now, so we are both working full-time on the business,” he says.
Important life skills of gardening and cooking are being passed on to their 4-year old son, Joshie. His favourite food from the garden is yacon, a Peruvian tuber, that he digs from the ground himself and tastes like a crunchy sweet apple.
Thrive Sustainability differs to larger sellers in that it doesn’t need or use pesticides. Most punnets are grown from seeds and cuttings, while trees and herbs are carefully sourced from sustainable suppliers. The prices of plants are competitive with chain stores and come with the priceless reassurance of advice and being free of chemicals.
“For us, it is not just about selling plants, it’s about educating. A common question I get asked is “What is happening with my fruit tree?” When you buy an apple tree, not many customers are aware they need a second one to pollinate it. You can go to wholesalers or chain stores, but there is nobody there to tell you this stuff. We teach our customers so that they go home and be successful,” says Laura
“We look at the garden in the bigger picture, and as an ecosystem. We ensure the seedlings are spray free, the soil is healthy, and prevent pests through simple approaches – planting natives to attract birds to eat the pests, for example,”
Laura would especially like to reach out and inspire people who have kids, work or are time poor to show them they can still do it. Thrive Sustainability offers all-inclusive edible gardens for delivery and installation, so you can get started on your own journey to grow your own food with no fuss. Laura also regularly shares gardening tips and recipes for harvested produce through their Facebook page @Thrivesustainability.