In the SAGE Plan, we have identified a number of community groups with whom to develop stronger connections. One such group is our established farmers in the Eurobodalla.
Part of our mission is to gather and share knowledge. We recognise that there exists a wealth of local knowledge that we have barely tapped since we began in 2009.
SAGE acknowledges that while approaches to food production vary greatly, we have more to unite us than divide us and our community has much to gain by farmers of all philosophies strengthening their connection to each other.
There is a rising consciousness of the agricultural heritage of Australia’s first people. We seek to connect with the keepers of this knowledge and discover what role SAGE can play in both preserving it and applying it to modern food production.
We also recognise the benefit to individual and community wellbeing when different cultural groups come together through the universal practice of gardening.
Through schools and other organisations, SAGE seeks to be guided in building our connection to the Koori community respectfully and harmoniously.
SAGE is pleased to acknowledge the contributions of the Eurobodalla Shire Council as an enabler of many of our projects.
From sourcing the site for the SAGE Garden, to a cooperative approach in overcoming development issues, to an enthusiastic response to establishing our farmers market and assistance in obtaining grant funding for the creation of our innovative e-market, Council has demonstrated that the objectives of a community organisation can be — and need to be — supported in ways beyond direct funding.
SAGE was an active participant in the public consultation process for the Rural Lands Strategy adopted in February 2016. We are pleased that we were able to contribute current data and feedback which particularly helped guide the sections in the strategy pertaining to local food.
Council and SAGE continue to reinforce our joint efforts to support the local food system through an agreement negotiated in early 2016. In recognition of the explicitly local focus of the SAGE Farmers Market and the direct impact the market is having on the growth of the local agricultural economy, Council will return the equivalent of 40% of the site fees paid by the market to occupy Riverside Park. These funds, paid quarterly, will be used to address specific points raised in the Rural Lands Strategy that relate to “growing the growers” in our shire, one of SAGE’s primary objectives.
We look forward to a continued productive relationship with local government.