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Seeds that survived drought hot commodity for new Gloucester Seed Savers group

By Kerrin Thomas, Friday September 18, 2020 - 08:26 EST
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Caitlin Tonelli lets some of the plants in her garden go to seed so they can be collected. - ABC

Failing gardens were a common sight in the New South Wales town of Gloucester last summer as water supplies dried up in the drought.

Severe water restrictions were introduced, .

The Barrington River, which supplies the town's water, stopped flowing in parts and water had to be trucked in.

But , and the latest drought maps from the NSW Department of Primary Industries show the town is no longer considered in drought.

Now the newly formed Gloucester Seed Savers group is collecting the seeds of plants that survived the tough conditions.

"To come out through the other side and have some really good seeds to grow for the next generation, that was the uplifting part of it," coordinator Caitlin Tonelli said.

"Quite a few people have these amazing stories. For example, a watermelon plant that they didn't water for two months, but then when we finally had rain, it came back to life and it was the most amazing tasting watermelon.

"The seeds from that had been through such a bad drought … we know for next time that they're going to be really reliable seeds and they've gone through this hardship already."

'Hot commodity'

More than 30 different types of seeds are available for a gold coin donation, and people are encouraged to let some of what they plant go to seed so more can be collected.

Ms Tonelli said COVID-19 had seen demand increase.

"They became a really hot commodity, and people actually began stockpiling," she said.

"You could not get seeds anywhere.

"The positive was that during the lockdown people started thinking about growing their own food, and where they got their food from.

"We were sort of lucky to have that head start and we did have a lot of seeds in the seed bank ready to go for our launch."


© ABC 2020

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