An Australian nursery that hires the disabled
A thriving best-practice disability enterprise
By Mandy Nolan
On Saturday June 2 the Byron Bay Herb Nursery celebrates 20 years in the game.
As anyone who runs a commercial venture knows, two decades in a highly competitive industry is a great achievement. It’s not unusual for operators to open and close quickly, often within the same month.
But the The Byron Bay Herb Nursery has a little more to celebrate: they are also a thriving best-practice disability enterprise. It employs 24 people, 15 of them workers with intellectual disabilities, and money from sales pays wages and operational costs. In fact, the business has a co-operative ethos and effectively belongs to the 15 workers it employs.
I was lucky enough to be employed for four years, two of them at the original Mullumbimby site, and the next two engaged first hand in building and moving the business to the new site near the Byron Shire Council treatment works.
By any standards it was a dream job, working outdoors in a herb nursery teaching people with disabilities.