Backyard producers are being urged to take a closer look at their veggie patch and see what they can spare for drought-stricken Upper Hunter farmers.
Slow Food Hunter Valley has sent 255 fresh produce boxes – equivalent to three tonnes of food, to farming families in Gundy, Scone, Kar Springs and Moonan Flats since June but they are almost out of money to buy the food.
The group’s Liz Griffiths and Anne Kelly have decided to ask the community to reach into their veggie patch – instead of their wallets, to help fill the boxes.
They are hoping for donations of fresh fruit and vegetables, and even honey, to provide a range of ingredients farmers can use to make delicious meals.
The food should be picked on Thursday, December 6 and dropped off at Reader’s Cafe and Larder in the East Maitland Library building between 8am and 3pm.
If necessary the food can be picked on Wednesday, December 5.
“The produce lasts around a month so the box will take the farmers through Christmas and into the new year with really nice produce,” Ms Griffiths said.
“We need people to pick the produce as close to the 6th as possible so we can make sure it will last for around a month.
If we can get through with donated surplus produce this time, rather than asking for money around Christmas, we may be able to do another delivery in January.
Those who don’t grow food in their backyards can donate to the cause.
Slow Food Hunter Valley volunteers will deliver the boxes on Friday, December 7 with the help of the Country Women’s Association (CWA).
Ms Griffiths said if every grower donated a small amount it would make a big impact.
“Sometimes you grow something and you end up with a glut, and there are a lot of backyard growers in Maitland who have surplus produce so this is redistributing that in another way,” Ms Griffiths said.
Take a look at the drought for yourself:
“We’ve had lovely feedback from the farmers, it has made a real difference.”
The first 45 boxes, which were made in June, were filled with donations from local farmers.
After that Slow Food used the donations it received to buy the food from farmers and that has seen $9100 go back into the Maitland economy.
During the project the boxes have been filled with beetroot, cabbages, turnips, cauliflower, broccoli, pumpkins, kale, spinach, spring onions, white onions, carrots, lettuce, beans, tomatoes, capsicums, oranges, lemons, limes, brown onions, tatsoi, potatoes, honey, eggs, cordial and fresh herbs.
To donate visit slowfoodhuntervalley.com.au