Grant gives the gift of growth to the Yarra Valley ECOSS nursery

Yarra Valley ECOSS' Native Nursery Manager Peter Lorback. Picture: SUPPLIED

By Callum Ludwig

A generous grant from a local business has given the gift of growth to Yarra Valley ECOSS

Four Pillars Gin’s grant of $5000 through the ‘Four Pillars of Society’ program enabled Yarra Valley ECOSS to bring on Native Nursery Manager Peter Lorback for one day a week in a move that has paid dividends for the array of plants available.

Mr Lorback said he’s renovated the types of stock and plants available for sale.

“We started afresh, increased the stock increased the number of native tube stocks for regeneration and just generally started to tidy it up a bit,” he said.

“I used to run the nursery here, I used to train horticulture and run a bush root nursery here so I had already gotten familiar with it and it was a pretty easy transition for me to enter.”

Since Mr Lorback was brought into the fold, the nursery has sold 2500 native and edible plants all the while he has upskilled members of Upper Yarra Landcare and trained locals such as the volunteers of the Crops for Community program.

Mr Lorback said it has been both a benefit to sales and Yarra Valley ECOSS’ public interaction.

“We have targets every week for how much we hope to sell and we’re meeting those targets so we’re increasing them and we hope to double that next year,” he said.

“Hopefully we can make enough money to not only put it into Crop for Community, which supports all the people that come here like the all-abilities volunteers, but also to perhaps fund somebody else or another day because one day a week is not much to run a nursery.”

Four Pillars has once again sponsored the work of Yarra Valley ECOSS in 2024.

Mr Lorback said the nursery and Crops for Community program are both incredibly important.

“Not just to ECOSS, but to the people that come here because it’s one of the highlights of their week. There’s a lot of them, there’ll probably be 20 people, carers and their clients, all having a really good time,” he said.

“It’s more than just the people that come here physically, it’s also the benefit to people in need, a lot of the Crops for Community food goes to Koha Community Cafe for their meals,”

“But for the nursery, one of our aims is to get as many plants out to the community at a reasonable price, we are keeping prices low and we’re trying to create good quality products.”