Planting the seeds of generosity in a Warwick yard

FOODASSIST is one Warwick organisation taking full advantage of the Warwick's Daily News free seeds giveaway.

The not-for-profit organisation, which runs out of a warehouse on Percy St, provides affordable food hampers to needy families, single parents, pensioners and other charitable organisations.

In the past year, the Warwick FoodAssist team has taken that to a new level, supplementing the food hampers with produce grown in their very own vegetable garden, and now the free seeds giveaway is ensuring that garden will keep on growing.

Warehouse supervisor Jenny Creed said the garden had been operational for about a year and nothing was wasted.

"Everything we grow in the garden goes into the hampers to help fill needy bellies," she said.

"The customers love the fresh additions to the hampers. The more we have the more they want.

"It's mainly appreciated more by the older people who come in; the younger generations are unsure what to do with some of the vegetables.

"So we've started adding recipe ideas and suggestions to the hampers to give them some help."

Miss Creed said the garden had surpassed all expectations.

"We have got so much more out of it than we ever expected," she said.

"We've expanded through the entire backyard and have even taken over the Warwick Community Garden at the railway precinct."

Miss Creed said the garden was tended five days a week by volunteers.

"All the seeds we use are either donated, brought in by volunteers and, more recently, we've been taking full advantage of the Daily News free seeds too," she said.

"It's made such a difference to our organisation to be able to offer the less fortunate that home-grown, healthy, fresh option."

Miss Creed said the FoodAssist hampers were generally filled with food items such as pasta, cereal, biscuits, drinks and chips.

"It's really great that we're able to add the fresh produce from our garden to make sure there is more nutritional value in what we're handing out," she said.

"It's really important that our customers have the healthier options as well."

The FoodAssist garden is planted in line with the seasons and has grown items such as; kale, spinach, pumpkin, potatoes, watermelon, rock-melon, tomatoes, onions, beetroot, lettuce, zucchini, cucumber, lettuce and various herbs.

Miss Creed said last season yielded 20 watermelons.

"We've also just started growing potatoes," she said.

We did a little research and discovered you can grow them in old tyres, so we're giving that a go, hopefully it works out."

"FoodAssist has been running in Toowoomba since 1996 and not only set up the Warwick branch but also were instrumental in helping start our garden," Miss Creed said.

"They supplied equipment, a mower and the all important seedlings to get us going.

"It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears from all of our volunteers to dig the beds out but it has been an overwhelming success."

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