Cup of Life project bears fruit

AN initiative launched last year to see food plants thriving across the greater Byron Shire area is already beginning to bear fruit - literally.

As Byron Bay Herb Nursery and Byron Movement prepare to launch the second year of their Cup of Life project, many of the 1200 food plants they sold and gave-away to community groups and individuals across the region last year are thriving.

Nursery manager and Cup of Life co-organiser Nick Thom said: "They've been going really well, especially the ones that got planted earlier in the year (at Tabulam). They're starting to produce fruit now," .

He said the project aimed to encourage participants to plant the food plants in their own gardens as well as public locations like roadside verges and gardens to improve food security, reduce food miles and reduce the reliance on supermarkets.

Mr Thom said they chose hardy plants which required little attention including citrus trees and vegetables plus natives like Davidson's Plums, Paw Paw's, Kang Kong and Midyim Berries.

His nursery has been busy propagating the plants in recycled biocups used for take-away coffee which will be available for purchase from local nurseries, hardware stores, health food shops and independent supermarkets and green grocers.

Last year the nursery, which is a not for profit business employing 15 disabled people, received a $4,000 grant from the Byron Services Club to purchase extra benches and irrigation to help increase the number of plants they could grow for the project.

"The extra income from the sale of plants will help us to continue to provide employment for people with disabilities, something which is becoming increasingly challenging to do," Mr Thom said.

Byron Bay's Liberation Larder, which provides meals for the homeless, is one of the organisations that has benefited from the project.

The larder now has a community garden on its premises on Fletcher St.

The Cup of Life 2013 will be launched at the Earth Food Activation Day on Sunday , at the Byron Herb Nursery at the Byron Industrial Estate from 1pm -7pm.

There will be live music, a circus performance, food and informative talks and movies.

There is a $9 cover charge which includes a free food plant.

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