Guest post by Dr Alice Palmer, CEO of Sprout Tasmania

Hi Everybody!                                                                                  

I am very excited to be a part of the Tassievore Eat Local Challenge! I am the CEO and one of the founders of Sprout Tasmania. Sprout Tasmania stands for Sustainable Production, Research and Training Inc. We are a not-for-profit that assists small to medium sized food producers with marketing their produce and value-added lines of produce and mentoring them about sustainable production techniques. We also provide workshops to the community about growing sustainably in your own backyard.

                                                

Two weeks ago I was very fortunate to spend an afternoon at the Agrarian Kitchen with owner Rodney Dunn and we walked around his garden eating food such as Asparagus straight from the ground. You may be surprised to hear this, but until two weeks ago, I didn’t know that Asparagus was grown as single shoots! I thought that they grew in bunches like you see in supermarkets…. The Agrarian Kitchen is a prime example of growing local and eating local and learning how to grow, cook and eat from your own backyard.

 

Now you may be thinking, how does a person who doesn’t know how Asparagus grows become the CEO of Sprout Tasmania and teach people about food production, but there are two founders of Sprout Tasmania! The second founder is Tony Scherer, part owner of Frogmore Creek vineyard. Tony has a wealth of knowledge about sustainable food production. He grew up in California growing and selling his own produce from the age of seven. Me on the other hand, I have a very off-green thumb! I am a researcher who investigates sustainable methods of food production as well as the effects of climate change on crops. For my PhD, I developed a standardised method for production of compost tea for powdery mildew and bunch rot disease control in vineyards. One of the aims of Sprout Tasmania is to teach people, like me, how to grow your own food in your own backyard, small to medium sized property or balcony but also to provide scholarships to researchers to investigate new innovative sustainable food production techniques.

Over the last few weeks, I have been part of the Tassievore Eat Local Challenge. During this time, I have made every effort to buy local and eat local and grow and eat produce from my own backyard and balcony or my friends or family 🙂 To me, it is really important that restaurants and cafes support local small to medium sized producers. In one acre, you can grow a diverse range of high quality premium produce and with a little manipulation you can also grow over autumn and winter. This year, Tony grew melons, tomatillos and peppers over winter and harvested them in August!

They were juicy, fresh, extremely tasty and local.

In 2013, Tony is going to teach me how to grow food from January to December over summer, autumn, winter and spring. It is my ultimate aim to have a backyard by the end of December 2013 that is full of herbs, vegetables, fruit and natives which are intermingled together creating its own ecosystem.

Luke Burgess is one of our board members, owner and chef of Garagistes. Here is a delicious recipe from Luke utilising Tasmanian lamb! Sprout Tasmania has locally grown lamb available over the next five months – for more information about the lamb or anything we do at Sprout Tasmania, please email us at: info@sprouttasmania.com.au.

Happy New Year every body!

Alice