Katherine Times features Food Ladder’s efforts in tackling food security

AN AMBITIOUS vision to construct a large-scale community garden in Katherine could solve a range of issues surrounding local food security, according to one of the women spearheading the plan.

The Katherine Women’s Organic Association is working towards building a sustainable garden “within walking distance from the middle of town” that would produce a diverse range of fresh fruit and vegetables for local consumption.

The exact details of the project are set to be finalised in coming weeks, and KWOA chair Taryn Kruger said it was hoped the hydroponic garden would deliver more than just food for the Katherine community.

“We started with the idea of a farm, but I suggested a community farm to tackle health issues, and that’s where is all came from,” she told the Katherine Times.

The project is being supported by Food Ladder, a not-for-profit organisation that provides greenhouse growing solutions for communities from a social enterprise perspective.

Mrs Kruger said the garden would be operated by locals and, if all went to plan, allow residents – including those receiving government assistance – to access affordable, quality produce throughout the year, regardless of climatic influences.

“We’re hoping we can create a unity and make it a family thing,” she said.

“By just keeping it as a community farm, people will see it’s for everybody.”

Food Ladder director Kelly McJannett said the hydroponic system was five times more productive than traditional horticultural practices, adding that up to 3500 individual plants could be grown at any given time in the Katherine garden.

“We can grow just about anything in the Food Ladders, so we will be directed by the market demand for exotic lettuces and herbs from local cafes and grocers, standard vegetables, and various bush tucker veggies, as determined by the [KWOA] women themselves,” she explained.

“It goes straight to the heart of the food security issue.”

The first harvest from the garden is expected in September.

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