Passionate gardener Jackie French to “cut the vine” at the Southeast HARVEST

Prolific Australian writer and passionate gardener Jackie French, patron of the Southeast HARVEST regional food festival, will cut the vine at the official opening ceremony on Saturday 17 March.

Jackie FrenchJackie French is loved by Australians of all ages who have read her many books, whether on any number of gardening topics, or one of her treasured stories for children.

The Southeast HARVEST has enjoyed Jackie’s patronage since the inaugural event in 2009 (then called the Eurobodalla Slow Food Celebration) and SEH President Carole Carlson believes Jackie is the ideal patron.

“Not only is Jackie a passionate believer in living sustainably and eating locally, she’s an engaging speaker and a popular personality with people of all ages. We’re so lucky that she lives just up the road in the Araluen Valley.”

For Jackie, being patron is a chance to be part of a day that’s both fun and deeply encouraging about the way our world may go. As Jackie explains, “For thousands of years, including over a hundred years of white settlement, this region was entirely self sufficient. Then came the decades when almost nothing was made locally, and what was grown locally was shipped hundreds or tens of thousands of kilometres away, often coming back months or years later in processed form.

“This is changing. Now, once again, we can share each other’s harvests, but also the joy in growing things, and the sense of social cohesion — and just plain fun — from doing so.

“Local tastes good. It’s good for the planet. But mostly, it brings us together in ways that have been part of us as long as we have been human: sharing the harvest, eating together, providing for our community.”

Diary of a WombatJackie will officially open the 2012 Southeast HARVEST at 10am and will entertain her younger fans with a reading of her much-loved Wombat trilogy from 11am. She will then speak in the Main Marquee at 12.15pm.

The HARVEST is held every 16 months to enable growers and guest demonstrators to showcase produce from each season. This year’s festival on Saturday 17 March will be a celebration of Autumn, the season that many believe is the best time of year for this region.

A huge array of interactive stalls are planned, featuring local produce and locally made delicacies, as well as displays promoting more sustainable living and activities for children of all ages.

Limited event merchandise will be given away to earlybirds and a fantastic prize will be drawn every hour for a lucky ticket holder to win. Gates open at 9am.

Entry to the HARVEST is only $5 (16 years and over) or $10 for a family ticket (2 adults and up to 2 children 16 or over). Children under 16 are free. Tickets include access to the full program of events in the main marquee, including demonstrations from special guest presenters Jackie French, Julie Goodwin and Costa.

Visit the Southeast HARVEST website for more information.

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