A new Illawarra film is proving there is much more to an Italian garden than juicy, ripe tomatoes.
These often-bountiful horticultural plots are the focus of the DVD My Backyard: Your Backyard, launched in Wollongong at the weekend.
The mouth-watering project documents the gardening secrets of the region's migrants and reveals the unifying power of their abundant Italian backyards.
Special guest at the launch, NSW Community Relations Commission chair Stepan Kerkyasharian, applauded the project and described the film as a migration success story.
"I think it's a wonderful initiative because it is the face of the outcome of our immigration policies and programs over many decades that are not out there on show, that people tend to overlook," he said.
"What this reminds us is that people, bringing with them some of their traditions and heritages, actually enrich our society."
The film not only shows the relationship between the Italian culture and the environment, but also how the resulting gardens enrich family and community relations.
"There is that human interaction, the feeling of belonging to a community, of sharing with each other, no pun intended, the fruits of your labour so to speak.
"That creates a bonding at the local level, at the community level, which perhaps you would otherwise not get."
Mr Kerkyasharian said the migrant story was one of new life and new opportunity, not only for the migrants themselves, but the nation.
"Migrants came here to establish themselves, to become part of society to build a future for their children and also to build communities," he said.
"It is through building communities that you build a nation, they contributed to the development and construction of a nation."
The film was created by the Italian Social Welfare Organisation of Wollongong (ITSOWEL) and produced by Sandra Pires from Why Documentaries.
To purchase the DVD contact ITSOWEL on 4228 8222.