This is Yvonne’s Story

We had the pleasure of visiting Yvonne’s garden the other day.  Yvonne will be joining the Spare Harvest team to write a series of blogs on how to live more sustainably.  We look forward to sharing her stories with you.  In the meantime, get to know Yvonne better.

Tell us where you live?

Maleny in the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia.

Why did you join Spare Harvest? What appealed to you and how did you find us?

I joined Spare Harvest to be able to share excess produce. It really found me because Helen reached out to me in an online group where we are both members. Initially, I did not follow it up but I joined after seeing the information booth at the Queensland Garden Expo last month. The concept of Spare Harvest really appeals to me as I believe a strong and connected community is essential for our future. Yvonne's orange tree on spare harvest

Is there a cause or charity that you are passionate about? Why?

My passion is waste reduction in all of its many and varied guises.  Almost everything I do and am involved in relates to this in some way?

Share with us a little more about yourself. What gets you up in the morning? Your passions, hobbies and interests.

My desire to make a difference and leave a habitable planet for future generations is really what drives me. My personal interests are cooking, gardening, film, theatre and travel. My passion is trying to live more sustainably and developing community bonds and networks to support that goal.

What do you believe in and what matters most to you?

The things that really matter to me could be summed up as kindness and authenticity.

How would you describe your garden?  What do you grow?

I would definately describe my garden as a work in progress.  Today I could pick kale, purple cabbages, rocket, coriander, baby carrots, grapefruit, lemons, oranges, limes, snow peas, avocadoes and cherry tomatoes. We are fortunate to live in one of the most temperate climates on the planet and we are currently coming to the end of a very mild winter. Yes, the climate is changing and our temperatures are already increasing noticeably year on year.  We also have blueberries, raspberries, mandarins, asparagus and sweet potato growing. In the next week or so I will plant some more beans, carrots and corn.

What is your frist memory in the garden?

I think my earliest memories are of my grandfather’s vegetable garden. The fig tree, banana bunches hanging from the rafters under the house, freshly-picked carrots and the mass of mint growing beside the garden tap where it thrived in semi-shade and regular water.

What do you enjoy most about gardening?

The thing I enjoy most about gardening is being able to produce at least some of our own food. I cannot overstate the value of fresh, pesticide-free, unpackaged food that has travelled no more 20 metres from the garden to the kitchen. This is closely followed by the ability to share the bounty with others in my community.

What are your top gardening tips?

My top gardening tips would simply be:

  1. Keep trying
  2. Compost, compost and more compost
  3. Get to know your own environment – soil, water, sun/shade, rainfall

Yvonne's orange tree on spare harvest

What are your 3 favourite foods?

It is really difficult to choose just 3 favourite foods because for me it is more than the food.  It is also the company, location and circumstances of the meal that make it memorable.  A bowl of Chapmans’ ice-cream with fresh blueberries in the summer of Prince Edward Island.  Baked salmon fillet with balsamic roasted cherry tomatoes and green beans.  Nachos (vegetarian) with refried beans.

Please sYvonne letting the chickens out on spareharvesthare with us your favourite recipe.

My favourite recipe is making our own refried beans.  It is really versatile and can be frozen for future use.  This link will take you to the recipe on my blog and includes photos.

What are your top recycling tips?

My top recycling tip may well seem counter-intuitive but I would really like people to think about this carefully. **Recycling should be your last resort.**

I think that too many people see recycling as a panacea for all of the environmental ills and they feel that they can salve their conscience by trundling a full recycling bin to the kerb for a regular collection. Do you really know what happens to the contents of your recycling bin?

Even though some councils collect certain recyclables there may not even be a market for them. Additionally, it takes a lot of energy and resources to actually create new materials and in the case of plastics, it is not so much recycling but downcycling when it does occur. Plastics cannot be recycled infinitely. By the best thing is to consider reuseable/multi-use products. A perfect example of this is the supposed soft plastic recycling bins at some Australian supermarkets. It is much better to make or buy a few strong fabric bags to be used for many years rather than 6 – 10 single-use carry bags each time you go to the supermarket and then feel that you are doing the right thing by ‘recycling’ them in a ‘soft plastics’ collection. Reducing your consumption and being mindful of everything you purchase can be much more effective than recycling after mindless purchasing.

If you could invite any 1 or 2 people to dinner, who would they be?

There are many people that I would love to chat with but the two I would choose would be Michelle Obama and Costa Georgiadis as I admire their passion for connecting communities as well gardening. I think it would be great to compare their different circumstances and understand their reasons for becoming involved.