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Big things grow

IT all started with minimising food miles and has grown to a system that feeds the region.

Great team: Gil and Meredith Freeman are at the forefront of the Grow Lightly vegetable bags.

Great team: Gil and Meredith Freeman are at the forefront of the Grow Lightly vegetable bags.

The Grow Lightly vegetable bag system has exploded after the past few years with more than 120 families receiving local produce through the system.
Grow Lightly aims to provide South Gippsland households with fresh, organic and local produce according to program organiser Meredith Freeman.
“We are aiming to extend the range of what people grow down here and letting people know the extent of what can be grown down here,” she said.
Meredith, her husband Gil and a team of volunteers grow, pack and deliver produce to households all over South Gippsland.
“We pack the boxes in Coal Creek’s Sustainability Centre on a Sunday morning,” Gil said.
“We have six to eight volunteers working in there and the food is distributed by other volunteers.
“We have people in Ellinbank, Inverloch, Wonthaggi, Loch, Fish Creek, Leongatha, Korumburra and Foster and they all work on a roster system picking up the bags for their areas at different times.”
All the food provided by Grow Lightly is organic and locally grown.
“We don’t grow everything ourselves here obviously and we have about 50 local growers who help us out,” Meredith said.
“Twenty or so supply us regularly and most of these people are small to medium growers.
“It’s quite hard to get vegetables from the larger growers and the smaller growers are good because some people don’t have an outlet for their surplus produce at all.
“We also insist it is all grown organically. It’s not all certified organic because that is too hard for people to attain but we have a charter.”
This charter ensures the food produced is of a high nutritional value and that synthetic fertilisers, herbicide or pesticides are not used in the food production.
The charter also encourages the use of renewable resources as much as possible and aims to keep the process as local as possible.
Gil said the Grow Lightly system started as a small operation for family and friends.
“Our system started in the boot of the car and money in a biscuit tin,” he said.
“As it got bigger in Melbourne we ended up with eight to 10 bags.”
The couple decided to then cut their ties with the city and keep it in South Gippsland.
You may see Gil and Meredith at various farmers markets in the area.
“The markets we do, especially the Coal Creek Farmers Market, give us an opportunity to meet people who want boxes and also producers who have produce to supply,” Meredith said.
If you are interested in being involved in the project, either through supplying produce, volunteering to pack and distribute or to order a box contact Meredith and Gil via email at growlightly@dcsi.net.au or on 5659 8238.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=8173

Posted by on Aug 20 2013. Filed under Featured, Rural News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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