Even though Adaptable Gardens was only founded in early 2022, the ideas and ethics behind the business actually started more than 30 years prior.
A vast majority of owner Ben’s early and formative years were spent living with his grandparents. His grandfather, David, had an absolute passion for gardening. It was his therapy. It didn’t matter what state the garden was in when he moved into a new house as he had a vision in his mind before anyone could blink and a work ethic that no one could match.
In early 2020, Ben met Danielle, who had been a Mental Health Occupational Therapist for nearly 20 years. In 2021 they moved to the Dandenong Ranges and onto a large rural property. Very quickly a menagerie of farm animals joined them. With the open land and fresh air, it wasn’t long before Ben questioned his career and work-life balance. His current role took him interstate quite a lot.
In early 2022, he decided to go back to his roots and go back to where he was at his happiest; in the garden. As part of this process, he knew his late grandfather was guiding him, so the name ‘Adaptive’ needed to be in the company name. After some brainstorming with Dani, Adaptable Gardens was born.
Our main focus when we started was to look after our older community in the hills. We were quickly recommended to a couple of Aged Care package providers and before long we were looking after 30+ older clients that needed help.
During this process, one of the most enjoyable parts of working with our clients was the stories. Many of our clients told us how they used to enjoy gardening and harvesting the produce. We learnt a lot from them about old-school ways of growing and preserving food (something we love ourselves and are passionate about) yet the stories always ended the same way…
“I wish I could still garden, but I can’t use my hands very well anymore”
”I can’t get down to the ground like I used to”
Hearing the sadness about not being able to garden any more, we realised how much gardening was a source of therapy for so many people. It was heartbreaking for us feeling like there was nothing we could do to help other than garden for them.
After a conversation with Dani, we decided we had to find a way.
We went in search of cost-effective products to help people garden again and to bring gardening up to their level. We found a couple of products that were already on the market that helped us start that journey of helping people and the instant change in those that could now grow their own again was amazing!
There is a lack of resources out there for so many people from many different walks of life looking for solutions to help them grow their own food, especially in small spaces like apartments.
Over the last year, the search for products and solutions has intensified and has been an amazing one. What we have created through our journey is a network of amazing relationships with our suppliers and many of them have become family to us. We have formed solutions where there were previously none.
We have also created as close to a closed-loop food network as possible with only 3 pre-requisites for the products we supply:
Must be Australian or New Zealand-made
Must be portable
Must not directly compete with other products we supply
We are very proud to say that we have achieved our goal. What started off as a very small local garden maintenance business has now turned into a brand that specialises in finding a solution to grow your own food no matter what physical challenge or living situation you face. We have helped people in apartments grow food in self-watering towers as well as compost the food waste as well and help set up 2500 plant strawberry farms raised off the ground to survive flooding.
We truly believe that growing your own nutrient-dense food at home is the way forward and Adaptable Gardens aims to bring all of the solutions into one place.
Come and meet Ben and Dani at Wandin Silvan Field Days.