Food grown by a Maitland church group and given free to those who need it is a project treated with great respect by local people, their members said.
For the past six months, members of the Rutherford-Telarah Fiacre’s Feast Community have grown herbicide-free vegetables that have been made available to whoever wants them.
Group members were speaking after kicking off their first growers group.
“Anyone is welcome to forage through the produce we have grown,” Anglican parish priest Mother Moira said.
“We started growing vegetables about six months ago and the project is tied in with looking after the welfare of people in our parish.
“Anyone can forage through what we have here and they are welcome to take it away.
“Our aim is to help feed our hungry people and the demand shows there is a need for a project like this.
“People were a bit shy about coming forward and taking things at first, but we have found them to be very respectful about what we are doing,” she said.
“There is no vandalism here, nor abuse of our system.”
Committee member Michelle Kelly said their group numbered up to 14 members, but they were also inviting members from outside the parish to join them.
They envisage having two gardening sessions a week – a working bee on Wednesday and a Sunday community growers group. Produce will also be taken for sale at the Maitland Markets at the showground. The group will set up a stall at the markets on Sunday, March 6.
“Our garden is a family-friendly project with all food distributed to local people in need through the church outreach program,” Ms Kelly said.
“St Fiacre is the saint of gardeners and here we seek to follow in that saint’s footsteps, restoring land, caring for our environment and working to benefit our local community.”
Story by Alan Hardie
Maitland Mercury March 5, 2016