Food Security Projects in Sanctuary Point
Services and groups in Sanctuary Point, in the Bay & Basin, have been busy addressing food insecurity. Projects like Home Grown Express are teaching skills, the Clifton Park Community Garden is sharing produce and knowledge and organisations such as Connect and BBCR are creating ‘care kits’.
Home Grown Express is a project that teaches parents and carers how to grow and cook healthy food. BBCR & Sanctuary Point Connect run the project, which includes a child minding service, enabling young parents to attend. Home Grown Express teaches healthy cooking food on a budget, growing vegies and making compost. Partner organisations include ISLHD, Heart Foundation and Shoalhaven City Council. Home Grown Express runs community kitchens where participants cook and share a meal together and take a meal home, or learn food preservation methods such as pickling, fermenting or preserving. The children at the Connect Centre also took part in the Little Green Spade program, which teaches gardening skills.
The Sanctuary Point Youth & Community Centre has two raised garden beds that are used to grow seasonal fruit & vegetables which clients are able to access. Make Healthy Normal Funds were used to expand perennial herbs, fruits & edibles for another three garden beds. Leftover funds bought fruit trees for Sanctuary Point Connect and ran an edible garden workshop, where children potted up and took home vegetable seedlings.
The garden beds are used as educational tools and a place to try new flavours. The produce is picked and taken home by community members. Plant cuttings are given away and resources shared. Produce is harvested for cooking classes and used for community events such as the Microfunding Soup nights. Community members with green thumbs give seedlings to the Centre, who is also working with council to incorporate a bush tucker section.
Clifton Park Community Garden is a thriving garden located in Sanctuary Point which holds open days and shares knowledge about how to use the produce in the garden with the community. The BBCR Sanctuary Point community shed has an edible garden which is cared for by disability clients and the support unit from the local high school.
Sanctuary Point Youth & Community Centre often see clients who are sleeping rough or aged community members or families on low incomes who, due to unexpected bills or expenses, are struggling. Food insecurity can be a real issue for many community members. The Centre has begun to provide 'care kits', made up of non perishable foods, enough for a dinner and breakfast until appropriate services can be accessed, (along with swags, overnight kits, baby/children's packs and hygiene packs). The Centre is looking to expand this service into the future. The closest food rescue centre is in Nowra, making these local food security initiatives a valuable service for the local community.