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26 April 2018

Fresh vegetables are the holy grail of healthy eating and more than 50 families on the South Coast of NSW are now growing and harvesting their own produce thanks to the IMB Bank Community Foundation.

Last year, Kathryn Maxwell’s organisation SAGE – Sustainable Agriculture and Growers Eurobodalla – received funding to stage workshops to encourage locals to grow their own vegetable gardens.

So popular was the program that 54 raised vegetable beds were installed in backyards throughout the local area, with 142 people attending the workshops.

“We were delighted with the response and the community feedback has been so positive,” says Kathryn Maxwell.  “More than 80 people applied to us for a garden bed and of the 54 we installed, we still have almost everyone actively growing vegetables now.”

To receive an installed raised bed and seedlings, recipients needed to be on a Centrelink pension so the newly converted gardeners are pensioners, single parent families and also locals living with a disability.

Moruya pensioners, Anne Eastman (68) and David Aitken (70), already had a vegetable garden but were struggling to maintain it because of the distance if was from their house.

The raised garden bed was installed outside their back door and, during summer, they grew lettuces, basil, tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchinis.

“The lettuces and basil did not fair so well but we had masses of cucumbers and zucchinis,” Anne said.  “We are not fabulous gardeners but we do try so we found the SAGE workshops really useful for getting tips on how to grow vegetables more successfully. “I think the project is a wonderful idea because people who have never done it before can have the opportunity to learn a new skill,” she said.

Anne and David have now planted basil, parsley and lettuces and have plans for a crop of snow peas and broad beans for the autumn/winter season.

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