October 2021

President’s Update

A warm hello to members and the SAGE community, and welcome back to regular updates in this newsletter.

The committee has continued to meet regularly through lockdown via Zoom, and we’ve been joined by Peter Heyward and Dallas Tanner who were voted in at the AGM in August.  We are now working to implement the strategic plan we developed earlier this year, including improving our communication and engagement to grow the sense of SAGE as a community, and enhancing membership.

Catching up as a community has been exacerbated by lockdowns, restrictions, and cancelled events, however we are planning some great events for when NSW restrictions are eased.

Changes at the SAGE Garden in Queen Street Moruya include an interim arrangement with local grower Pats Machon who will manage and cultivate the commercial beds. This will allow this area of the Garden to be productive and get the attention it needs, while we develop a new plan for its future use. The underlying condition on any future plan for this space will be to “bring the SAGE community back into the garden”. Planning needs to be carefully thought through to ensure its success in the years to come and acknowledge that we are a volunteer organisation. We welcome ideas from everyone so if you have any, please send email our SAGE secretary Susan Heyward on

Committee members continue to work on the new Sage Project website which includes an updated e-market functionality which will go live next month.

Despite COVID challenges, SAGE continues to run the Farmers Market every week as we are considered an essential service, and we have seen an increase in orders through the e-market. Market attendance on Tuesday afternoon has been strong and our growers really appreciate the support.

You may be interested to know that the Economic Impact Survey conducted throughout 2019/20 demonstrated a 14% increase in vendor sales and overall increase in economic activity for the wider business community of 35% when compared to the previous survey in 2014/15. The full EIS is available here.

The Veggies for All grant from IMB is being acquitted with raised veggie beds being installed into bushfire affected households and an extension to the wicking beds at the garden for our community food program. These should be in action shortly.

SAGE’s Stepping Stone Farm is powering along. It’s hard to believe that we have almost completed our first year. Joyce and our inaugural interns, Shani and Josh, have achieved so much and are now supported by a dedicated band of volunteers who, together, have made the first year a successful foundation for the future. The news for this next 12 months is very exciting, as Campbell Page have been successful, in partnership with Stepping Stone Farm, in securing funding to pay award wages for two intakes of 6 interns for 6 months and a supervisor who will be working under Joyce’s direction for the next 12 months. If you are interested to find out more or know someone who might be you can get information here. This is an absolute game changer for the farm and we have been working on preparations for the intake of the additional resources.

In future newsletters we will bring you up to date on all that’s happening with SAGE, the Farmers Market, the Garden, Stepping Stone Farm, and our volunteer programs and opportunities, plus features of upcoming events, special interest items and lots more.

Till next time.

Mark Barraclough

President SAGE NSW Inc.



Also in Sage Project News

Moruya Community Garden opens
Moruya Community Garden opens

Moruya’s new community garden is now in business! At the launch last week, Veggies for All coordinator Kathryn Maxwell thanked Lachlan McDonald, Manager of the IMB Bank Branch in Moruya for the IMB Bank Community Foundation’s generous grant of $20,000, and the Anglican Parish for their generous contribution of land, room in the garden shed, assistance from the caretaker Michael and the strong support and encouragement of Linda Chapman.
Leanne’s life: the penultimate post
Leanne’s life: the penultimate post

From SAGE member Trevor Moore

The SAGE garden is moving into hibernatory mode. At least, much of the greenery of the last few weeks has served its time, the produce has been harvested and sold. Yet it has more time to serve for it will now help with restoring the soil for the next intern. The corn that two weeks ago stood tall and proud (with an Apple of Peru towering above it) has been razed to the ground. It lies there waiting to be ploughed in thereby helping to rejuvenate the soil. ...

Leanne’s life: leaving the garden
Leanne’s life: leaving the garden

From 2017-2018 SAGE Market Gardener Intern Leanne Nicolle

Sitting down in the garden to write my little piece on being the 5th intern while overlooking the growing green manure. Thankfully, this year Trevor Moore wrote a fortnightly blog on what I had done in the 17/18 growing season…