Growing the community

2019 SAGE Annual Report and AGM minutes

It’s difficult to envisage how an idea will develop, what it will look like, or even if it will fly.

But here we are celebrating SAGE’s 10 year anniversary. A wonderful achievement on so many levels. We are going to celebrate this milestone on 28 September, but it is timely to now briefly reflect on how integral SAGE has become to the community.

Very proudly, we are recognised as a group that gets stuff done, just look at this site for instance, and as well, we have the intern program, the Farmers Market, we run lots of workshops and social events, we have seen so many people develop new skills, and who have found their happy place in our community through SAGE, we are embedded in much of the council’s strategies and we are providing significant economic benefit to the local community. What an awesome resume we have.

I want start my report today by making special mention of the Veggies for All program and in particular, Kathryn Maxwell. Kathryn and I attended the IMB Community Foundation’s 20 year celebration in Wollongong back in June.

IMB have supported more than 700 projects over 20 years and they wanted to shine a spotlight on some of the standout projects over that time. The criteria, and I quote… “projects that demonstrate innovation and commitment, address local needs and connect communities in pursuit of common goals, and by doing so strengthen the communities around them…”.

I am very proud to advise that SAGE was one of 20 projects recognised as a Spotlight Project. IMB also announced 20 local heroes from the last 20 years recognising, and I quote “…people whose tireless efforts to support others and persistence to deliver meaningful project outcomes have made a profound difference…”. Kathryn was one of the 20 recipients.

To top it all off, the IMB Bank Community Foundation have once again supported our “Veggies for all” program with a $20,000 grant that will enable more beds being installed in backyards around the Eurobodalla, this will bring the count up to 192 installed over the past 3 years. In addition, the grant will enable the establishment of a community garden at St John’s church in Moruya with up to 14 wicking beds, supplying more local low socio economic groups and families with fresh vegetables. Kathryn your dedication, focus and determination is exemplary, congratulations on your awards and thank you.

Community Food

Some of you may not be aware but we distribute food to the refuges, the Red Door café and Anglicare in Moruya, supplying vegies that we grow here and any surplus food that the growers have available after the market. This is an important part of SAGE’s role and whilst we have had limited supply through this very dry period, Alda Rudzis and Kathryn Maxwell have continued to provide veggies, often from their own gardens.

Research Projects

We have 2 projects under way. The first being an Economic Impact Study on the farmers market. This is conducted over the 4 seasons and the results will be published in December/ January. Also we were approached by the University of Sydney to sponsor a capstone project for a post graduate student studying MSc in Sustainability. The student will be researching a Sustainable Food System Model for Eurobodalla. This will give us some very valuable statistics and theoretical framework and policy recommendations for SSF. This project has just commenced.

Farmers Market

As you are, no doubt aware, we had a change of personnel with the Manager, Farmers Market position. We farewelled Kate Raymond who has been with the Farmers Market from inception and has been pivotal in its development and success. In its 6 and a half short years the market has won the Delicious Farmers Market award twice and been a finalist once. Not Bad! It has become a very important part of the local food security equation and provides significant economic input into our community. Thank you Kate and we wish you well in your future endeavours.

And we welcomed Amy Whiting. We were very fortunate that the moons aligned and Amy was wanting to come back home to Moruya. Amy was the events coordinator for the Canberra folk festival running all the stall holders, a somewhat bigger role than our market. Amy has quickly settled into her role and will put her own stamp on the market as she builds knowledge of our particular dynamics.

Intern

Kylie Emmert has had a tough year here. We have struggled to provide consistent meaningful mentoring, the weather has not been kind and yet she has shined through. Kylie is very focused and determined, she has embraced all the learnings we have been able to deliver as well as attending workshops and consulting widely, to now have the confidence to move onto her own plot which she has already established. Kylie, you have been a delight to have around and we wish you well.

The committee has decided to suspend the intern program this year due to the focus on SSF. As a consequence, we offered the garden to all the past interns for the next year and we are fortunate that Kat has taken up the offer.

Education

  1. Backyard Veggies Gardening (a series of 3 workshops) -­ Alison Walsh
  2. Germinating and raising seed -­ Phil Timms
  3. Seaweed Wonders -­ Stuart Whitelaw and Kirsten Bradley
  4. Spoonsmith -­ wooden spoon carving -­ Jeff Donne
  5. Backyard Chickens -­ understanding the basics of ownership -­Evan Bayley, Georgie Murray and Dr Lou Baskind -­ Supported by LLS
  6. Seed savers -­ Julie Davis from Bega seed savers
  7. Backyard Gourmet Mushrooms -­ Marita Smith
  8. Sustainable Soil Management -­ Bruce Davidson -­ Supported by LLS

Events

  1. Celebrated Spring Equinox, Summer Solstice, Seasonal Spread at Autumn Equinox and Winter Solstice – 4 large events with food and music.
  2. Milkwood Book Launch -­ working with Janice at Moruya Book Shop
  3. Friday night sunsets throughout Summer -­ a casual get togethers in the garden, meeting new people and playing music
  4. Movies in the Garden -­ organised with Moruya Film Society
  5. Food share that takes place once every month
  6. New members induction
  7. Launch for the Incubator

Team Members

Sandra Makdessi, Stuart Whitelaw, Alison Worthington, Sasha Ermichina, Kat Cathcart, Kylie Emmett, Dallis Tanner, Lindsay Gates, Leanne Nicole

New members to the team

Marie Zuvich, Lou Dempney, Ann Salmon, Claire Shirra and Hugh Favaloro

Community plots

During the year the committee decided that as the community plots had lost their appeal and they had fallen into a pretty sorry state we would resume the area for commercial beds. The notice went out and the reaction was swift, resulting in a reversal of the committee’s decision. Sonia Bazzacco and Belinda Bain have taken the reins and we now have a reorganised layout with defined boundaries, a billing system and some restated rules. This is a great result and we look forward to seeing them flourish once again.

Seed savers

Has fallen into a bit of a hole this year but Dee Gribble and Di Clarke have kept it ticking over and have some plans to reinvigorate it in the near future.

Grants

Last year we were awarded a co-­funding grant that in part allowed us o build the accessible toilet, well to our surprise the council informed us that they wanted to reimburse us for the toilet. Suffice it to say that this has greatly enhanced our financial position.

At last year’s AGM we spoke about the emerging Stepping Stone Farm which was born out of the “100 acre” farm in our strategic plan. We have come so close to realising this aspiration yet we are still not there yet. So much work has been done by Alison Walsh and Trevor Moore in grant writing and schmoozing the grantors it is somewhat disappointing that nothing has yet come to fruition. However, we remain positive and enthusiastic that one of these applications will bear fruit.

I feel confident that we will get SSF up and running in this next year and to underline my confidence and out of the blue I received a phone message from Senator Arthur Sinodinis just this week offering $50,000. Maybe miracles do happen but we will have to wait and see what terms and conditions comes with this offer when we get his letter.

In closing, I wish to personally thank the committee and the many volunteers for their support for SAGE and in particular their support to me.

Thank you

Mark Barraclough
President 2018-­2019

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