Article by: Hari Yellina
According to a nursery in Ballarat, interest for fruit and vegetable seedlings is increasing as individuals try to save money on their food expenditures. Heads of iceberg lettuce are currently selling for an average of $6 in the fresh produce aisle of any large supermarket, more than double the price of only a few weeks ago. Tomatoes, too, have become a new luxury commodity, with many outlets charging more than $10 per kilogramme. An increasing number of individuals are looking to produce their own home gardens, fed up with rising prices of once-affordable essentials. Formosa Gardens Nursery is a family-owned and operated business in Ballarat that has been in operation for 45 years.
Katie Wright, the company’s director, stated that sales of vegetable and herb seedling punnets have been increasing in recent weeks. “The demand has risen significantly. People are looking to undertake their own gardening at home in order to save money “Ms Wright stated the following. “Customers are inquiring whether we have them in stock and if they may buy more than one punnet at a time in-store, online, and over the phone.” Lou Ridsdale founded the nonprofit Food is Free Inc in 2014 to help the community with food security and education. The Food is Free Laneway on Ripon Street is one of the non-many profit’s programmes, offering the community the opportunity to pick up free volunteer-grown vegetables and seeds as well as learn how to cultivate their own.
The laneway’s foot traffic has increased “exponentially” in recent months, according to Ms Ridsdale. “We’re not able to keep up. We get a hundred visitors per day, which is incredible considering how little our area is “she stated Friend in the non-profit sector Ms Ridsdale’s innovation has been adopted by Ballarat Community Garden, which has created a gratis food table outside the gates of its Ballarat East facility. Sheilagh Kentish, the organization’s president, said the community had been respectful of the system thus far, taking only what they required. “Perhaps people passing by will leave something as well, which is a really nice thing to do,” Ms Kentish remarked.
Ms Kentish said the organisation was growing rhubarb and silverbeet outside the garden gates for non-members in anticipation of rising fruit prices. They also intend to increase their instructional offerings for home gardeners. Ms Kentish added, “We’re gearing up for additional programmes and helping individuals grow in their own backyard.”