Connecting locals from garden to plate | In the Green Room

Mandurah woman Kaitlyn Fiori has always had a passion for good food, but she was concerned about the disconnect between production and consumption.

“I grew up in Barragup, and my mum was always really keen on growing her own stuff,” Kaitlyn said.

“I’m also really interested in the mental health aspects of growing your own food, there’s been a bunch of studies to show that gardening and being in nature can help your mental wellbeing.”

Looking to connect others with her passion for home-grown produce, Kaitlyn set up her now-successful group, Grow and Gather, early in 2016.

They meet monthly at different member’s houses, to share tips about gardening, using home-grown food, and most importantly, to swap produce.

“Our main focus is on homemade stuff, so any fruits or vegetables people have grown, also seeds, seedlings, stuff to help with gardening, and also stuff you can use for home-made food like jars, boxes, that kind of thing,” Kaitlyn said.

She said the group also maintains some key principals, which include trying to use organic herbicides or pesticides, reducing environmental impact, and being all-inclusive.

“We’re trying to get more of a presence in the Murray region, not just in Mandurah, so we’ll be at the Pinjarra Community Garden on Saturday,” Kaitlyn said.

She said that although Mandurah had some avid gardeners, there was a lot to learn from people who lived in more rural areas of the region.

“It’s great to be able to learn from people with experience,” she said.

“There’s a lot of information online and all, but it’s completely different to hear it from someone who actually lives in the same area that you do, with the same soil and experience here.”

Grow and Gather will be at the Pinjarra Community Garden Open Day which is set for December 3, from 9am-2pm.

The Share and Swap will run from 9-11am, and from 12.30-1.30pm there will be an introduction to aquaponics.

There will also be free kids activities, music, and a barbecue running through the day.

The community garden is at Lot 362 Pinjarra Williams Road, Pinjarra.

Join Grow and Gather’s Facebook page to keep up to date on their meetings and discussions.

Do you have a gardening question for Jess? Send your queries to jess.cockerill@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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