Growing the community

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…

I can’t help but feel very impressed with myself, coming from a job in the corporate banking world to getting my hands into the soil. I am reminded everytime I talk to my family that farming/gardening runs in the family and I am so glad. The best thing about this whole experience was realizing that I can do this as a young female! From not being able to even start a whipper snipper to using a walk behind tractor by myself. I have gained incredible knowledge and understanding of conserving water, building a healthy soil, composting and so much more. I feel such a connection to the food that I have produced in the garden and an appreciation and passion for eating healthy, locally grown produce.

A huge thank you to Kyle Levier for being the mentor this year, our friendship started before I got the SAGE internship, when I volunteered on his farm to see if I could hack the hard physical work. While spending time there I thought it was a “stress-free” job, which was what I was looking for after dealing with customers and their finances every day.

Only when I started on my own at SAGE did I realise how I had underestimated the most important part of the job… SALES! It has been the hardest part for me, I struggled sometimes going to the market and thinking I wasn’t bringing enough or it didn’t look good enough, not helped by my very strict quality control. I learnt that I enjoyed wholesale selling and I’m very grateful for Southlands, Candelo Wholefoods Bega, LocalTable and Milton Farm Shop for their continuous orders and support.

The highlight of the internship for me was the SAGE Seasonal Spread event in March. I still can’t believe the amazing events team used the produce from the garden to feed over 100 people a delicious meal. I am really going to miss the SAGE Garden, but I luckily grabbed an empty allotment block so I have down sized from 600sqm to 10sqm. I am looking forward to discovering what I can achieve in a small space and to keep on learning about the soil and the nature of farming and to stay in this great, supportive community in Moruya.

Leanne and friend in a candid moment at the SAGE Seasonal Spread

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