Event Highlight: Tour of FareShare

Perfect weather greeted us on our tour of FareShare’s fruit and vegetable gardens at Baguley Farm in Clayton South. Isabel Menssink, Garden Program Manager who manages all 3 of the charity’s gardens, took us around the huge site, explaining the logistical challenges of juggling crops, pests and diseases and a volunteer workforce.

The gardens supply more than 100 tonnes of vegetables per year. The charity also rescues food which would otherwise go to landfill. They provide the food to their kitchen in Abbotsford and distribute it to other charities around the state. One of their benefactors, Boomaroo Nurseries supplies many thousands of seedlings free of charge each year. The site and the organisation are expanding, with their recent merger with a similar charity, Second Bite.

The gardens always need volunteers so if you are interested, please visit their website to sign up https://www.fareshare.net.au/volunteering-in-the-kitchen-garden/ .

An unexpected surprise was access to the tropical glasshouse originally created by the Baguley family. Here the charity grows a range of tropical edible crops such as paw paws, bananas, curry plants, coffee and chokos. Also on display were ornamental plants such as Elkhorns, Lapagerias, and Gardenias.

 Isabel also described her pathway to this rewarding work. With an interest in biology,y she completed a Bachelor of Science during which she realised that her natural interest was in plants and gardening. She then pursued studies in Urban Horticulture at Burnley. In 2021 she commenced in this role at FareShare.

The tour concluded with refreshments provided by EWHA.

Donations to FareShare can be made through their website https://www.fareshare.net.au/winter-appeal-2024-vic/

Words and photos provided by Rosemary Ulph

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