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 email@example.com
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.
President SAGE NSW Inc.
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)