Char­ity’s green light


Avon Valley Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Lynn Gri­er­son

JAMES McDon­ald’s com­mit­ment to grow­ing food for the most vul­ner­a­ble is about to ex­pand through a buy one, give one pledge he hopes will catch on.

The Mun­dar­ing grower will donate the same quan­tity of mi­cro­greens he sells at farm­ers’ mar­kets to a char­ity that makes meals for the home­less.

Giv­ing Greens is the next step in his model to pro­vide food to those most in need by hav­ing those able to buy the mi­cro­greens help fund the project.

“When I first started the Perth Ur­ban Farm Project in 2014, the whole idea was based around be­ing able to pro­vide qual­ity fresh pro­duce in un­used spa­ces for those less able to buy it,” he said.

“It’s es­ti­mated about 5 per cent of Aus­tralians ex­pe­ri­ence food in­se­cu­rity, but Aus­tralia re­port­edly pro­duces enough food to feed 60 mil­lion. These statis­tics sug­gest we don’t have a sup­ply prob­lem, just a dis­tri­bu­tion prob­lem – I’m hop­ing to help change that.”

The 30- year- old phi­lan­thropist re­alised after a few months of grow­ing and sell­ing mi­cro­greens that he could sup­port him­self well enough to give away sup­plies of the nu­tri­ent- dense vegies.

He launched his buy one, give one ini­tia­tive at the Perth City Farm and Stir­ling farm­ers’ mar­kets last week and set aside the same amount of baby greens for the char­ity Manna Inc in Vic­to­ria Park.

“Manna will be us­ing them in the meals they dis­trib­ute to those in need,” he said.

“Given these mi­cro­greens are in­cred­i­bly nu­tri­ent- dense and or­gan­i­cally grown, those ex­pe­ri­enc­ing chal­leng­ing times can still have ac­cess to qual­ity food.”

He grows the mi­cro­greens in a pot­ting mix in an open en­vi­ron­ment in less than a month on un­used land given free of cost.

“In gen­eral, mi­cro­greens are more nu­tri­ent- dense than ma­ture veg­eta­bles per gram,” he said.

Red cab­bage mi­cro­greens re­port­edly con­tain six times more vi­ta­min C, 40 times more vi­ta­min E and 69 times more vi­ta­min K than ma­ture cab­bage, as well as other valu­able nu­tri­ents.

Mr McDon­ald was a fi­nal­ist in the WA Young Aus­tralian of the Year in 2016 be­fore he com­pleted his Bach­e­lor of Sus­tain- abil­ity at ECU the next year.

“The idea for my projects came to me when I was trav­el­ling; I would sit with peo­ple on the street and talk with them,” he said.

“They had lit­tle ac­cess to food and be­cause I had worked on a farm grow­ing food, I saw the po­ten­tial for land to be bet­ter used.”

In be­tween projects, he runs a per­ma­cul­ture or­chard in Sawyers Val­ley and man­ages pro­duc­tion of bush tucker at a farm in Mun­dar­ing.

His Face­book page asks the ques­tion: could we feed Perth’s en­tire pop­u­la­tion from within the greater Perth re­gion?

He be­lieves ul­tra- lo­cal food pro­duc­tion would re­duce the en­ergy taken to pro­duce food and through a com­bi­na­tion of com­mu­nity projects and home gar­dens, com­bined with tech­nol­ogy and un­der- utilised ur­ban spa­ces, it may be pos­si­ble.

For more, visit www. face­book. com/ so­cial­ly­con­scious­mi­cro­greens.

Pic­ture: David Baylis www. com­mu­ni­typix. com. au d478142

Mi­cro­green grower James McDon­ald in the nurs­ery with a se­lec­tion of his mi­cro­greens.

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