Landcare Legend

Sarah Anderson

“There are some crazy environment issues facing us today. Waste, pollution, food security to name just a few. I can start by making change in my own backyard.”

I’m Sarah, a self taught gardener, traveller, artist, curious cook, partner, parent and enthusiastic sharer of knowledge.

Several years ago, our young family volunteered internationally on farms focusing on food growing, education about food growing and producing alternative energy for almost a year, we had incredible eye opening experiences and a glimpse into how people live in a various environments, from high desert in New Mexico, mushroom foraging in Scandinavia and apple work in Japan to name a few.

We returned to Woonona, wanting to showcase the best of lessons we absorbed and how to inspire others to live in a more sustainable way.

Just after moving in to our new home, we planted fruit trees as a signal we’re staying put for quite sometime. I extended my knowledge base a little further by completing my PDC in 2011 as a further commitment to learning the art of using common sense; observation and relating things back to the context of where you are.

There are some crazy environment issues facing us today. Waste, pollution, food security to name just a few. I can start by making change in my own backyard. What an opportunity! Now I grow a small market garden, providing food for the family, share with folk around the neighbourhood and sell produce locally. We’re diverting food waste from landfill by composting our own, some of our neighbours food waste and food waste from a local café. To the tune of around 1500kg per annum.

I’m loving growing food and learning what it takes. Learning about soil life. Creating an opportunity for greater diversity in the web of life. Learning to feed the soil, that stuff beneath our feet, the breathing skin of the planet.

Everything I know about growing food has been self-taught. All the lessons learnt are valuable and ingrained now!

In order to share those lessons, we host volunteer days, workshops, and gatherings for our neighbours as well as hosting groups on-site visits, all in the name of ‘respect your veg!’

A quote I love from Eliot Coleman (market gardener of very high regard from North America)

“Information is like compost, it does no good unless you spread it around”.

Growing food is so ingrained in our cultures and we need to keep this knowledge alive. It sounds so simple but it’s actually not if you’ve never really grown anything or haven’t had the opportunity to hang out with people growing food.

Schools are the children’s communities on a weekday basis, it’s super important for them to learn to be present and have an active roll in their community, in their environment.

Working with a class at a local primary school over the last year, I’ve had the joy of watching them come alive through gardening. Using their initiative, taking note, pre-empting what may need doing. Sprinting to the edible garden as soon as their names are marked off. We’re building a vegetable garden based on permaculture principles, low cost and low input. ‘Good to Grow’ is a grassroots program designed to engage, empower and encourage these students to get their hands dirty growing some good. To know your food, see what it takes and taste the rewards at the end of each term. It’s a joy and a privilege. To witness their direct actions being eaten at the end of term, to gain confidence and know the work required to eat – is empowering.

The stewardship of the garden and building opportunities are in safe hands if the students have anything to do with it.