Doctor’s good food mission
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.
Methven doctor Sophie Febery set up a free fruit and vege stand at the Methven Medical Centre.