After a challenging few years SAGE is looking forward with optimism on its mission to grow the local food economy in Eurobodalla.
Best known for the Tuesday SAGE Farmers’ Market, the Moruya-based community group creates access to locally-grown food through a range of volunteer-run initiatives, which also include workshops, leasing commercial garden beds and now running its own large-scale market garden and training facility, Stepping Stone Farm.
At its annual general meeting on Sunday 21 August, SAGE welcomed an all-new committee, led by Cath Reilly as president, Peter Heyward as vice-president, Jan Maitland treasurer and Susan Heyward as secretary. Outgoing president Mark Barraclough, who will stay on the committee, was praised for his dedication to the role over the past five years and for helping to bring the organisation’s vision to life.
Achievements over the past 12 months include launching a new SAGE website with e-market and membership software, achieving charitable status, attracting two grants and growing Stepping Stone Farm.
The Farmers Market continued to provide the community local fresh food every Tuesday despite challenging growing conditions, and SAGE’s community food volunteers also produced and supplied food to local refuges and charities.
Mr Barraclough said a significant focus was Stepping Stone Farm, which was now in a position to hit its financial targets and build on the education component of the program – growing more growers.
“This year marks the 13th year since incorporation of SAGE and together we have made real progress on our core vision to be part or a thriving, resilient and secure food community,” he said.
“The last few years have been challenging but looking ahead, there is an air of optimism and opportunity to grasp and to continue to make a difference.”
Incoming president Cath Reilly has been a SAGE volunteer for the past three years and said she was looking forward to building on the previous committee’s good work.
“Food security is really important to all of us, and SAGE is a wonderful grassroots organisation to be a part of,” she said.
“We’ve all seen firsthand how vulnerable Australia’s food supply chain can be with the recent impacts of climate change, including floods and bushfires, and the pandemic.
“This has reinforced the need for a sustainable and resilient local food economy - food grown by local growers, provided to local people, at a fair price. And that’s what SAGE is setting out to do.”
The new SAGE NSW INC committee comprises: President Cath Reilly, vice president Peter Heyward, past president Mark Barraclough, secretary Susan Heyward, treasurer Jan Maitland, Stuart Whitelaw, Sandra Makdessi, Sarah Cooper, Eliza Cannon and Carmen Bellis.
SAGE will spring into the new season with a series of backyard veggie growing workshops, perfect for beginners or those looking to improve their existing patch.
Hosted by experienced grower Alison Walsh, the workshops will cover everything you need to know about creating a thriving, sustainable vegetable garden, from planning and planting to problem solving and tours of other established gardens for inspiration. The first workshop – planning – will be held Friday 9 September at the SAGE Garden in Moruya.
Photo caption: SAGE NSW INC welcomed a new executive committee at its annual general meeting on Sunday 21 August. Pictured is Carmen Bellis, Sandra Makdessi, vice-president Peter Heyward, secretary Susan Heyward, president Cath Reilly, past president Mark Barraclough, treasurer Jan Maitland, Stuart Whitelaw and (front) Eliza Cannon. Absent: Sarah Cooper.
Media contact:Catherine Reilly - 0467 333 878, firstname.lastname@example.org
Shani Keane, a local grower from Left Field Farm and Stepping Stone Farm, and a regular seller at the SAGE Farmers Market, attended this year’s Deep Winter Agrarian Gathering.
Shani kindly provided an interesting report for SAGE readers, including the Deep Winter Statement which was developed following consultation with the gathering.
President’s report from Cath Reilly
Treasurer’s report from Jan Maitland
Stepping Stone Farm report from Mark Barraclough
Farmers Market report from Peter Heyward
Farmers representative report from Eliza Cannon
Education and Events report from Sandra Makdessi
Community food report from Alda Rudzis
Food share report from Alda Rudzis
SAGE Garden report from Stuart Whitelaw (on behalf of Adrian Cram and Wendy Jones)