Growing the community

Farmer Kyle debuts at the SAGE Farmers Market

Don’t worry, the harvest was more than this.

Earlier this year, SAGE took on its first student market gardener. After an application process, Kyle (who you might recognise as the coffee guy at the market) landed the gig and has been on a steep learning curve towards becoming a fully fledged market gardener ever since. This is a fantastic example of how anyone with an interest and a passion (and a gap in employment) can learn to grow food. Kyle was a painter by trade until recently and through sheer enthusiasm and dedication (and a lot of help from SAGE) is on his way to a radical career change.

After a few setbacks involving insects, bunnies and lack of rain, Kyle finally had his first crop for sale at the market yesterday. Of course — zucchini and squash. It is December, afterall.

Naaaawwwww… we love that Farmer Kyle is making sure the SAGE garden is productive and acting as the training ground it was originally envisaged to be.

In the 4 or so years that SAGE has been up and running, a lot has been achieved. It’s an organisation born out of the recognition of a handful of people that this area was languishing agriculturally and economically. What has been achieved by the work of the executive and the membership is nothing short of astounding. The SAGE site is transformed from a patch of phragmites to a functioning and productive demonstration garden, the Southeast HARVEST gets better every year, the educational program of SAGE workshops continues to grow in scope and popularity and last but not least, this very market only exists because of the ground that has been broken by SAGE since 2009.

It is happening right before our eyes. Our local food system is rebuilding and with surprising speed. The market is the poster child for the movement, but a huge amount of work and enterprise goes on behind the scenes — largely voluntarily. I count myself lucky to be in the thick of it and witnessing each small step towards a thriving local food economy.

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