Grow for gold in patch-to-plate adventure


Local residents have the opportunity to grow a garden salad from scratch alongside master gardener and celebrity chef Paul West, as part of Sunshine Coast Council’s partnership with the Grow It Local program.

The ‘grow along’ challenge is an activation within the annual Grow it Local Spring Festival and kicks off this weekend (Saturday 17 September).

In line with supporting sustainable living under council’s Environment and Liveability Strategy 2017, the initiatives provides locals with an opportunity to learn new gardening skills, connect with others, embrace healthy and sustainable ways of living, and contribute towards our biosphere.

With more than 100 aspiring growers already registered to participate on the Sunshine Coast, council is inviting residents, businesses, schools and community groups to ‘put their patch on the map’ and take part in council’s spring festival activities.

This year celebrates the first time council is partnering with the Grow It Local program, taking part in the initiative alongside 52 local councils and almost 19,000 growers across Australia.

Sunshine Coast Council Environment and Liveability Portfolio Councillor Maria Suarez said getting into the garden was an activity everyone should have the chance to enjoy.

“The Grow It Local program is a fantastic initiative that aims to make growing more accessible, provide a connection to nature and inspire positive health and wellbeing,” Cr Suarez said.

“The initiative is part of a nation-wide mission to make growing more accessible, encourage us to share and eat locally grown food, help build stronger and more resilient communities, increase composting, and reduce organic waste going into landfill, all while having fun.

“Interest in growing food at home has soared over the past couple of years, and despite the surge in interest, a lack of knowledge and skills is a key barrier faced by aspiring growers.

“Council’s partnership with Grow It Local seeks to address this hurdle by enabling knowledge and skills to be shared, to help edible gardeners succeed.

“Whether that’s harvesting the herbs in your courtyard or balcony, spending the day planting seedlings in your neighbour’s sprawling yard or learning some tips from a third-generation gardening guru, there’s a way for everyone to get involved.

The Grow It Local Spring Festival will also include local visits from River Cottage Australia’s Paul West, the Grow It Local Awards and a number of exciting workshops and local activations.

Mr West said the mission at Grow It Local was to make life happier, healthier and more delicious.

“We believe that one way to achieve this is simply to grow and eat more salad,” he said.

Participants in this year’s grow along challenge will learn how to make a delicious garden salad from scratch, using organic green buttercrunch lettuce and organic red lettuce salad bowl seeds.

Residents who register for the grow along challenge will have access to instructional how-to-grow videos from Paul West where they can learn about these plants’ origins, their nutritional values and health benefits and harvesting tips.

With the grow along program kicking off this weekend, locals can access the Zoom link and register to participate via the Grow It Local website.

While orders for free salad seeds have closed on the Grow It Local website, residents can take part in the grow along challenge by sourcing organic lettuce salad seeds from local suppliers such as Green Harvest Organic Gardening, or their local Garden Centre, Home and Hardware or Feed barn.

More information and further information about local spring activations and how to get involved in the Grow It Local program can be found on the Living Smart website.

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