Doc­tor’s good food mis­sion

Selwyn and Ashburton Outlook - - FRONT PAGE - ERIN TASKER

Methven doc­tor So­phie Fe­bery is in the busi­ness of getting peo­ple healthy, but she’s tak­ing it to the next level.

A pas­sion­ate gar­dener who utilises ev­ery inch of her quar­ter acre prop­erty to grow more than 30 dif­fer­ent kinds of fruit and veg­eta­bles, Fe­bery knows just how valu­able eat­ing a good, bal­anced, nat­u­ral diet is for a per­son’s phys­i­cal and men­tal health.

But she also knows that not ev­ery­one can af­ford to buy fruit and veg­eta­bles. So she’s do­ing some­thing about it.

Fe­bery is the woman be­hind Methven’s Food For­est and a thriv­ing veg­etable stall at the Methven Med­i­cal Cen­tre where she works, where peo­ple can help them­selves to other peo­ples’ ex­cess fruit and veg­eta­bles.

The vege stand idea came from an ar­ti­cle she read in a doc­tor’s mag­a­zine about a GP in the North Is­land who was do­ing some­thing sim­i­lar. The con­cept was sim­ple; peo­ple dropped off any fruit or veg­eta­bles they didn’t need, and any­one could help them­selves, pa­tient or not.

It took off. Through­out the sum­mer the veg­etable stall has been well utilised, although some were hes­i­tant at first, not want­ing to take some­thing for noth­ing.

‘‘Peo­ple are a bit re­luc­tant to just take stuff. One per­son tried to give us $5 for a mar­row,’’ Fe­bery said.

But it’s not about mak­ing money, it’s about shar­ing and getting peo­ple eat­ing healthy.

‘‘It’s one thing to tell peo­ple they should be eat­ing more fruit and veg­eta­bles and nat­u­ral foods, but some peo­ple can’t af­ford it,’’ Fe­bery said.

‘‘As a gar­dener I know what it’s like hav­ing ex­cess food that you can’t use and you end up throw­ing it out to the chick­ens.’’

In the past year Fe­bery has grown 294kg worth of veg­eta­bles, in­clud­ing 40kg of po­ta­toes.

‘‘I worked out that that saved me about $1600,’’ she said.

She’s pass­ing on her love of gar­den­ing to her two kids, who this year turned their sand­pit into a four square me­tre vege gar­den of their own, grow­ing peas, corn and car­rots.

‘‘The main rea­son I do all of this is I’m a re­ally pas­sion­ate en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist and I think the way we are eat­ing as a world is re­ally un­sus­tain­able,’’ she said.

Fe­bery is also be­hind the Methven Food For­est at Cham­bers Park, a com­mu­nity gar­den on Ash­bur­ton District Coun­cil land, where 11 fruit trees have al­ready been planted since it be­gan last win­ter. More fruit trees and raised gar­den beds are planned for the fu­ture.

ERIN TASKER/STUFF

Methven doc­tor So­phie Fe­bery set up a free fruit and vege stand at the Methven Med­i­cal Cen­tre.

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