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Byron Shire
May 9, 2021

Food fair puts gardens on show

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[author]Story Chris Dobney Photos Jeff Dawson[/author]

We knew we were in the right place when we saw a girl dressed as a pink unicorn playing a guitar near the entrance of the Mullumbimby Community Gardens.

The first Mullumbimby Local Food Festival was Mullum doing what Mullum does best: grassroots creativity with enthusiasm, authenticity and originality. And lots of fun.

The beautiful mandala garden was full of twisting paths, herbs, veggies and permaculture perennials such as amaranth, arrowroot, lemongrass, comfrey and much more.

The sunny day led to lots of long chats, large cups of homemade lemonade and organic pizzas hauled straight from the handmade clay oven. People sitting around on hay bales listened to gardening guru Jerry Coleby-Williams of ABC’s Gardening Australia and local-food pioneer Helena Norberg-Hodge.

Staffing the Byron Council stall was none other than Jan Barham herself, lounging in a lovely sun frock and yarning to constituents about how nice it was to be back in the Shire after week spent in Macquarie Street meetings.

There were many other stalls too, from seed savers to bush foods and hemp farm promoters.

A band struck up in the rotunda (or should that be ‘octunda’) and people came and went. The day’s event – the first of its kind – raised a few hundred dollars for the garden, which will do doubt go quite a long way given the volunteer nature of the place.

But its real value was in the publicity it afforded. One resident who lives right by the garden had never visited until Saturday – and was amazed by what she saw. ‘I had no idea it was so organised and established,’ she told Echonetdaily. ‘It’s great that people are prepared to put so much energy into projects like this.’

Pictured: Cob oven pizza served hot by Arnika Degraff. Frolicking in the garden in her swirling petal dress is face painter Yahandi. Sophie Merino and Joel Orchard show eager kids some of the wonders of growing your own food during the Fork in The Field workshops.

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