Backyard farmers join Grow It Local movement

Sue Bradley has a big veggie patch in her Woy Woy garden

Residents are getting their fingers green in a new community initiative aimed at growing and sharing food locally.

Central Coast Council’s partnership with Grow It Local plans to get more locals connecting with growers to learn and share knowledge, produce and recipes.

Woy Woy local, Sue Bradley, is one of the 10 people who’ve already signed up on the Peninsula.

Bradley’s patch contains tomatoes, coriander, parsley, lettuces, zucchinis, cucumbers, artichoke, pineapple, chard, eggplant and capsicum.

She said she loves to grow her own food in her own back garden.

“It gives me such a joy – from the garden bed preparation, building soil health, composting unused food, to growing from seed, planning the seasonal crops, eating in season, the incredible taste of fresh healthy nutrient rich foods, picking from my garden and thanking nature for its beautiful and majestic gifts,” Bradley said.

“Knowing where my food comes from, how it is grown and knowing my farmer, is paramount for my own health and for the health of my family.

“Supporting the local economy and small business has so many benefits, it builds community, health and wellbeing.

“It also reduces the mileage of your food, cost, waste and at the same time increases nutrient value of your food, reduces your weekly food bill, increases happiness and positive mental health and health for us and for our planet.

“It is a way during these times of lockdowns and uncertainty that can help to bring people together in a positive way by providing ways of contributing and providing opportunities to support a local healthy community.

“It’s a fabulous community project to connect people …bring[ing] down those neighbourhood fences that disconnect us from our neighbours and local community.”

Bradley said those wanting to sign up and learn more about growing locally can start by shopping at a local farmers’ market.

“Start small, plant some herbs in a pot to be placed on your kitchen bench,” Bradley added.

“Plant crops that you love to eat and are quick to grow.

“Attend a community garden – you can learn so much from the members that attend these gardens, they often have seed swaps and food swaps, and many members of these gardens are eager to share their tips.”

Those interested in learning about local food systems can start by using a backyard veggie patch or a windowsill patch or sign up to find potential local produce swaps.

For locals wanting to join the Grow It Local community, sign up and register your patch at growitlocal.com

The project is a NSW Environment Protection Authority Waste Less, Recycle More initiative funded from the waste levy.

Maisy Rae

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