Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Locavore movement gains momentum

Image: The south-east Queensland region, a focus for locavores. Map courtesy wikipedia.

A GREAT mix of Redland’s rural heritage and a forward-thinking environmental ethos has come together in the formation of a new group for people who are not afraid to get their hands dirty.
Redland Organic Growers Inc (ROGI) got rolling at a meeting in October at Redlands IndigiScapes Centre.
Founding president is Emma Baker, a Capalaba mother of two boys, Reuben, 6, and Eathan, 3, who love getting out in the growing patch with their mum.
Emma, a Redland Council landscape architect, is a woman of principle and goes out of her way to connect with her community through food.
She says she felt humbled among the ilk of more than 100 people at the foundation meeting.
"Some have been gardening for 60 years or more and have so much knowledge," Emma says. "You can only get this type of knowledge by getting out there and doing it."

ROGI has no affiliation with the formal process of organic certification for produce but Emma says several members may have the aim of taking their growing to such a commercial level.
In forming the group, she simply wanted to help people "connect back to their communities", talk with likeminded people and learn more about gardening techniques and issues.
ROGI meets on the first Tuesday every month at 6.30pm at Indigiscapes, where it has a seed bank and exchange, a bookshop and an outlet for organic products and edible plants.
The formation has been good news for another young Redlands mother. Nicole Bennett, of Victoria Point, became committed to organic food for the benefit of her family’s health but had difficulty obtaining certified produce locally.

IN 2006, Nicole set up a business, Wholesome Organics, to improve the availability of organic produce by making door-to-door deliveries and has expanded her range to include organic cleaning and skin and hair products.
Despite a lot of hunting, she has been unable to find a ‘certified organic’ grower in the Redlands, once one of the State’s major horicultural districts.
Most of Wholesome Organics’ produce comes from the South East Queensland growing areas, including the Lockyer Valley.
For Nicole, that organic certification is all important, so she must also source produce from outside the region.
She described ROGI as a breakthrough.
"The ideal would be to supply locally grown fruit and vegetables so the group must be a big step in the right direction," she said.

NICOLE and Emma’s local and/or regional focus would qualify them for membership of the "locavore" movement that is gaining momentum around the world.
They are "connecting" with the community through food, and that can mean benefits for society generally.

This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland City, Queensland, Australia – on the shores of beautiful Moreton Bay. Thanks for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising.

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