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Gardening a therapeutic outlet


Becoming a mother led Lee Sullivan to unearth the therapeutic, nutritional and sustainable benefits of food gardening.

She had always wanted to grow her own produce, something that became even more apparent after the arrival of her first son, Judah.

“I was very conscious of what was on the food we ate, and I started to realise we didn’t really know,” Lee told Newcastle Weekly.

But her grand visions of an abundant veggie garden at she and her husband Tim’s Swansea home were soon eclipsed by the reality of their cramped courtyard.

Nevertheless, Lee started as she meant to go on and invested in a few raised garden beds and quality soil, in which the family grew tomatoes, cucumber and zucchini one summer.

“I found it very therapeutic to have ‘me’ time in the garden, especially since I suffered from mild post-partum depression and felt like I lost myself a bit after having Judah, which is very common for new mums,” Lee said.

To chronicle her gardening journey and share useful tips and tricks, she set up an Instagram account – @urbanveggiepatch – which has amassed more than 80,000 followers in about four years.

As their family grew, they moved to a bigger home with a large backyard in Blacksmiths last year, and not long after, their second son, Jack, was born.

Lee said she relished the opportunity to involve the whole family in their food’s origin and watch it grow from seedling to harvest.

“You can’t beat food fresh from the garden; Judah loves picking cucumbers and eating them like apples,” she said.

“Not only that, it’s a sustainable way of living, when you think about the miles your food travels to the supermarket and the amount of fuel that uses, as well as food wastage.”

To share her story, Lee has been invited to speak at Lake Macquarie council’s flagship sustainability event, the Living Smart Festival, from Friday 27 to Sunday 29 September at Speers Point Park.

Gardening Australia guru and major drawcard Costa Georgiadis will conduct a Q&A session with Lee from 10am to 11am in the Grow Tent.

Other festival highlights include Feast for the Senses, an exclusive dinner hosted by MasterChef Australia 2019 finalist Steph de Sousa; a

Live Wardrobe Edit with the sisters from High Tea with Mrs Woo; and LSF Sunday Sessions live music.

This is in addition to workshops, cooking demonstrations, eco-living demonstrations, farmers markets and much more. Visit lakemac.com.au/living-smart-festival

By: Georgia Osland

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