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From little things, big things grow

Posted: 2pm 21 Sep 2020

The Samford Edible Garden Trail team is taking things to the next level thanks to a Moreton Bay Regional Council Grant. 

Founder Susanne Engelhard said $2000 in council funding to buy video and sound equipment was making all the difference to the group’s efforts to make home gardening accessible to everyone.

The Samford Edible Garden Trail officially launched in May – but not in the format originally envisaged by founders Susanne, Christine King, Ceri Benson and Vanessa Spotswood.

They had planned to launch an annual Samford-based gala Edible Garden Trail Open Day – similar to the Open Garden Scheme, but with a focus on growing food at home.

COVID-19 forces a rethink

But when COVID-19 hit in February, they were forced to rethink.

Instead, they contacted gardeners who had expressed interest in being involved in the trail and asked them to walk around their gardens, filming themselves as they went so fellow gardeners could still see behind the scenes.

“As we got to May 17, which was the original date for the Open Day, some of those restrictions were starting to lift,” Susanne says.

“We realised a couple of us could go to the first garden.

“The first garden was the first time all four of us had actually met – all our meetings were over zoom,” she laughs.

Filming the first episodes

Armed with a couple of phones, the team filmed their first episode of the Samford Edible Garden Trail, and then went on to film another 15 gardens over two weeks.

“We were four mums with no experience and if it was windy, we couldn’t film because the sound on a phone was terrible,” Susanne says.

Their idea really took off when their Facebook page and YouTube channel came to the attention of garden guru Costa Georgiadis, Susanne says.

Costa grows the audience

“Costa started following the trail, then he promoted it on his page and one of our videos had 10,000 views in the first day,” she recalls.

Susanne says Costa then got in touch and was very generous with his advice.

“He said one of the key things when people watch online is sound.”

She knew then that the team needed a better solution – so they applied for a Council community grant and were thrilled when it came through.

“We were able to get a couple of microphones and I got the only camcorder in Queensland,” Susanne says.

Inspirational volunteers

Cr Darren Grimwade (Div 11) says he hopes to see more locals take up backyard gardening.

“While I was disappointed the ‘real world’ garden trail event couldn’t proceed in May due to coronavirus, nothing can keep an industrious gardener down and I think the fortnightly garden tours the team produces are an excellent showcase for our region,” he says.

“Up until now the team of volunteers has been just been filming on an iPhone, so I can’t wait to see what they can do with their new camcorder and wireless microphones.

“Not only are these guys finding creative ways to work around social distancing restrictions using technology, they’re also promoting healthy living, which is essential right now.”

Hitting the road

Susanne says the trail’s aim to share information between gardeners and get more people growing in their own backyards is working and has the added benefit of creating a strong sense of community that extends beyond postcode 4520.

“Our little community project is spreading a little bit wider than us.

“We’ve been contacted by people outside the area (wanting to show their gardens) so we’ve been to the south of Brisbane and the Glasshouse Mountains – and I’ve had a message from Mackay, so I’m working on that too.”

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