Meet the Southern Harvest Association Community
Committee & other volunteers
– Kerenza Brown
Our President, Kerenza, brings to the role a passion for locally grown produce and those who grow and produce it; a love of cooking and a collaborative spirit keen to inspire change in our local food systems and build community. Kerenza’s
micro-enterprise – Flat Out Produce is a perfect example of what
happens when ideas and unexpected opportunities for collaboration
collide. Originally intended to turn excess local produce – much of
which was going to waste in the gardens of Captains Flat – into a range
of jams, chutneys and other delights, an early experiment with infusing
garlic into extra virgin olive oil to address food intolerances, led to
the eventual collaboration between Flat Out Produce and the local olive
grove, ‘Aminya’. As well as introducing the local community to this
wonderful local organic olive oil, Flat Out Produce has developed a
boutique range of infused extra virgin olive oils using the ‘Olimia
Estate’ oil as the base.All herbs and produce used in the infusions are
sourced from local growers or from Kerenza’s own garden. Plans are
afoot to expand with other flavours and complimentary foods such as
As well as running Flat Out Produce in ‘spare time’, Kerenza works as a public servant, influencing positive change in the area of residential energy efficiency; is a busy mum and wife, slave to a boisterous miniature schnauzer called Ruby, and has ambitious plans to implement an awesome permaculture design (courtesy of a super-talented friend) in a garden full of weeds and untapped potential. On weekends when not ferrying her daughter to choir practice, Kerenza appears at the Southern Harvest Farmers Markets in both Bungendore to volunteer on the Community Stall or run her own. Kerenza’s personal vision is to see Southern Harvest Association grow to become the ‘go to’ organisation in the Southern NSW/ACT region for how to create and sustain real change in the way we shop, eat, consume and interact as communities, with local produce, small scale farming and micro/home-based enterprise, at the very heart of our existence.
– Jo Gaha
Jo has had a varied career as a social worker, counsellor, academic and senior public servant before becoming an alpaca farmer. She lives on 120 acres in Michelago and breeds high quality alpacas in a variety of colours and produces natural alpaca fleece and yarn. The yarn and hand made goods are sold under the name of Pacawoolly. The farm uses sustainable, natural and economically viable products and processes in the care of the alpacas, the land and the fleeces.Her heritage as a woman from Lebanon, with a mother who was a wonderful gardener and cook has given her a love for, and commitment to, locally grown, seasonal foods and she can turn any set of seasonal ingredients into a delicious and wholesome meal.
– Ruth Gaha-Morris
Many of my earliest memories are of growing, cooking and preserving food. I am passionate about eating ethically and sustainably, having local food security, and I love to feed people. I run a small catering business utilising local, found and foraged foods to create tasty treats and year long preserves. I also run workshops in preserving, fermenting and cooking and get great satisfaction from teaching others how to work with the local harvests. I also work with the Farmers Market Alliance of NSW and, on a national level, with the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance. In October 2019 I was selected to facilitate regional engagement with the Committee on World Food Security as the Australasian Coordinating Committee Member for the Civil Society Mechanism.
– Alex Ford
Alex has been involved with SHA since 2015 when she started participating in SHA education workshops due to her interest in sustainable local food and homesteading. Since this time Alex has been a regular market visitor at Bungendore and has been heavily involved in the Produce Box scheme; initiating the Downer (Inner North) pick up point and supporting Ruth with various roles. Alex has supported the SHA Committee since 2018 and currently assists the Secretary mnages membership matters. Her work experience has primarily been International Development and Volunteer Management and she currently works for a local government association. She enjoys pottering in her backyard garden with her daughter, and making homecare products from local ingredients.
– Andy Bray
I moved to Bungendore from Victoria with my family five years ago, first living on some land and then moving into the village. The closeness to so many talented and dedicated growers is one of the blessings of living here. I love to cook and have enjoyed settling into the weekly rhythm of walking around to the farmers market, carrying the fruit, veggies and other bits and pieces home, clearing out the crisper and imagining the weekend’s recipes. I’m volunteering my time as Treasurer to Southern Harvest because good eating and care for the land are things that are important to me and the people active in Southern Harvest deliver it. In spades, you could say.
– Sarah Burgess
Hiya! Professionally I am a bean counter (affectionately used in jest), I am an accountant. I have volunteered to be the assistant treasurer. I have no green thumb skills whatsoever, but I am a keen bean and I love to cook (home-cooked-rustic-intuitive-creations) and more than cooking, I love to eat. The only philosophy I am guided by in being a committee member (my first) is wanting to help and the self-interest of being able to get my hands on the best, local ingredients around. I am blessed to be surrounded by honest, hard-working and knowledgeable people in Southern Harvest.
– Bronwyn Richards
In 2002, I relocated to Braidwood. Prior to this most of my working life was spent in the Illawarra, with over 30 years experience in policy development, administrative review and social justice activities. I have always had a strong interest in organic farming and sustainability. Since moving to Braidwood I have established a small organic four season, slow food farm (cool climate) selling produce (vegetables and meat) all year to consumers and local restaurants. I also have a strong interest to redevelop, organic, sustainable and local food systems using agricultural systems that have environmental, economic and social outcomes. Together with my partner Helen we grow produce organic and Permaculture principles plus lots of loving care, in a small market garden. We attempt to produce as much of the food we consume as possible. This of course includes vegetables and also animals. The focus is on growing food to be consumed locally. It’s about caring where your food comes from; how and where it is grown; and how it is processed, prepared and shared. This is simple honest food of the highest quality. It is food with soul and we believe you can taste the difference. We sell food from our slow food garden (Wynlen House) through a market stall on Saturday mornings. Food is picked and sold on the same day. We believe eating should be acknowledged as an agricultural act. I have been a member a producer member of Southern Harvest since 2012
– Geoff Foster
Geoff Foster, with his wife Colleen, trading as Jerrabatt Gully Organics, has been supplying fresh produce to customers in the Canberra-Bungendore region since 1995. Located at Bywong, their property is devoted to intensive vegetable production, and includes a few scattered fruit and nut trees. The farm employs three local workers on a part-time basis.
Mainly they provide weekly boxes of mixed vegetables year-round to subscription customers, therefore it’s necessary to grow a large number of vegetable varieties. Climate and weather play a large role in what the farm can produce and they grow most frost-tender crops in a large greenhouse. They harvest rainwater from farm sheds and the greenhouse, save much of their own seeds and grow all their own seedlings for transplanting. Geoff also sells his produce through the Southern Harvest weekly produce box subscription scheme and at the community stall at the Bungendore Farmers Markets. You can find him there from 9-12 am every Saturday morning.
– Chris Curtis
Chris, in partnership with Jennie, runs Roogulli Farm, a small family farm in Bywong. They operate a market garden, producing mixed fruit and vegetables, and a sheep stud breeding pure bred Babydoll sheep.
During the summer, the farm produces a range of heritage tomatoes for sale at the Bungendore Farmers Market. Chris is also undertaking research into the use of wicking beds for water-efficient growing of vegetables year-round.
– Hazel Parker
Motherhood changed my consciousness about food and how it is grown, and thus started my journey into organic, biodynamic, permaculture and regenerative farming. My family and I moved to a rural property in Burra in 2014 with the aim to become as self-sufficient as possible by growing our own fruit and vegetables, producing our own dairy and raising our own meat. I discovered quickly that growing food was a passion and from there ‘Parker’s Patch’ was born. We are now aiming to grow a market garden business that provides a living for our family. This is the first committee I have been a part of and I’m learning the ropes but I see volunteering with Southern Harvest, as a producer, an important connection to the local food producing and food consuming community.
PRODUCE BOX LOGISTICS VOLUNTEERS
– Bronwyn Wilkes
Bronwyn is a voracious vegetable eater who has been subscribing to the Southern Harvest produce boxes since the Summer 2017-18 season, and volunteering since the Winter 2018 season – first at the Canberra City Farm site in Fyshwick, then later setting up the ANU collection site in Autumn 2019. She loves being able to support farmers who are stewarding the land, air, and water of this beautiful part of the world in ecologically sensitive ways. She enjoys the opportunity to be involved in helping other eaters access nutritious food farmed in ways that support the health and wellbeing of farmers, eaters, and ecosystems alike. Bronwyn particularly relishes the sense of community that SHA’s produce box scheme has helped to grow, and not just because she has a captive audience for her terrible food puns, but it also means she’s not the only person to get ridiculously excited about broccoli and leafy greens.
– Sonia McDonnell
Sonia had thought for awhile that being self sustainable was the goal, to be reliant as much as possible on what she could produce in her back yard. To this end Sonia attended permaculture courses, gardening workshops and grew many a veggie in this pursuit. Whilst this has taught her a lot, she found it to not actually be a realistic goal especially with working, having a young family and a small business.
So Sonia joined Southern Harvest Produce boxes as a way to supplement what they could grow at home, with good quality local food. However, what Sonia discovered, as well as delicious, nutrient dense food, was a rich community of people. “Farmers who can tell me about why the swedes are good this week or how come a carrot can grow to 750g and the real impact of drought; Community Stall customers who can delight with me in the lush colour of Warrigal greens or share the joy that a bunch of radishes can bring; veggie box subscribers who regail me with a story and recipe of how they used turnips in the previous week; and other volunteers who I enjoy catching up with every week. I started being a veggie box subscriber and have ended up finding a community to belong to and that’s pretty great”.
Meet the Staff
MARKETS & PRODUCE COORDINATOR
My work with SHA as acting Secretary, Market Manager and Produce Coordinator, allows me to have worthwhile and meaningful linkages into my local food and farming communities. I am constantly amazed and often overwhelmed with the depth of community connections we are making through our activities like Harvest Festival and multi-farm produce boxes.
PRODUCE BOX & ADMIN ASSISTANT
I have always had a love for food and the Earth. This love affair got a little hotter when I moved to Canberra in 2018 and began working on local biodynamic and organic farms.
My long held curiosity around the interconnectedness of life has drawn me in the past to working in the community development and wellbeing sectors. However, these days I strongly believe that food and farming are at the centre of connection. I feel that well farmed food has the capacity to heal our relationship with the earth, ourselves and each other.
Outside of Southern Harvest you’ll find me farming at Brightside Produce, baking sourdough and eating loads of veggies, and there’s a good chance it’s all being done within reach of a book on soil microbes.