Get To Know Renae McBrien, Founder of Tarragindi Community Garden

Renae McBrien
Renae McBrien (Photo credit:

From a vision of creating a shared backyard where the community can grow their own food and share it with others, Renae McBrien is now leading one of the most successful community gardens in Brisbane, the Tarragindi Community Garden.

Read: Tarragindi Community Garden: Championing Domestic Waste Reduction

Whilst leading Tarragindi Community Garden, Renae McBrien has been serving as the Community, Horticulture and Environment Consultant for the Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service since 2020. 

As an environment consultant, her work involves promoting a healthier future for the children of Queensland through creating sensory and therapy landscapes of patients and staff and by reducing the environmental impact of the health care service through innovative recycling.

Before working at Queensland Children’s Hospital, she also served as the community garden and recycling consultant for Metro South Health.

Renae McBrien
Photo Credit: Tarragindi Community Garden/Facebook

Through Tarragindi Community Garden, Ms McBrien gets to lead free community workshops on composting, native bees, and worm farming.

Since opening the garden in 2020, the group has diverted 9 tonnes of organic waste from the landfill and converted it into free landscape supplies for the garden.

Every month, the group visits local Tarragindi child care centres and local primary schools to conduct recycling education sessions, and also give away free compost bags for the community.

Renae McBrien
Photo Credit: Tarragindi Community Garden/Facebook

One of their notable initiatives is the Tarragindi Toppers recycling hub, where recyclable materials such as bread tags, plastic lids, and beer and wine metal tops are being processed and then reused for circular economy projects.

For instance, the 61.4 kg of bread tags were handsorted into colours and donated to Transmutation in South Australia, where they are made into different plastic products, such as bowls, platters, and plant pots.

All their efforts have paid off, when the community garden received the 2021 WasteSMART Community Award, whilst Renae McBrien was named that year’s University of Queensland Brisbane’s WasteSMART Champion.

Read: Tarragindi Community Garden Celebrates WasteSMART Award Wins

At the last Sustainability and Science Showcase held in June 2022 at the Queensland Museum, Ms McBrien got to share her insights on how small steps in our homes can build a sustainable future.

Just recently, the group has successfully applied for the Lord Mayor’s Community Sustainability and Environmental Grants, and was awarded $2,244 which will be used to provide free herbs, harvest and plants to the community all year round as well as purse some big plans to make the garden bigger and better.