Meet Matt and Lentil…

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Matt was a graphic designer, Lentil was a speech therapist. But something was missing from their lives, so they gave up office jobs and city life to create the life they love on a flower and vegetable farm 120km from Melbourne.

“It was difficult to leave my job as a speech therapist, because I was helping people, and working with kids. But I had to be honest with myself, growing flowers, farming and living here is what makes me happy,” says Lentil.  “And growing flowers makes other people happy. It’s sometimes hard to choose to be happy, but people should be encouraged,” adds Matt.

snapdragons2

Photo by Lentil Purbrick

  Together they created Grown & Gathered. They grow more than 500 varieties of fruits, vegetables, edible and cut flowers and herbs on an acre of land, and bring their weekly 300 kilogram harvest to Fitzroy on the back of a van, selling the veggies and trading the flowers. That’s right – the flowers are something money can’t buy – you can only exchange them for something other than money. The only criteria is that it is thoughtful. It’s about much more than growing and selling vegetables and flowers, explains Lentil:
It’s about having good conversations with people and creating community. I started selling flowers but it wasn’t what I wanted to achieve, the beauty of it was being lost because it became about the money. The flower exchange is about getting people to think  about what they have, about where their products come from.

“We’ve been given simple things like pickles, preserved and baked goods and quail eggs. It’s beautiful seeing what other people have in their lives, what they can do, give or are good at. We’ve been given beautiful artworks, gig tickets, there’s a lady making me a ring in response to flowers I gave her.”

Photo - Helen Walker

Photo – Hilary Walker

Matt and Lentil re-use everything in a process they call ‘closing the loop’.  From fertilising and sowing, to harvest and delivering, to harvesting again.  They collect as many compostable scraps as they can – from restaurants they deliver to and people who bring them to the van, so they can return what came from their land when it comes to fertilising it again.

And the feel good factor doesn’t finish there. The couple have  just introduced the concept of ‘paying it forward’.  For every $40 of spare change they receive, they’ll donate a box of veggies to an individual or family who really needs it.

If the beaming smiles on their faces and cheery personas are anything to go by, it seems like they’re onto a good thing.

Have you got something you can offer in exchange for a beautiful bunch of Lentil’s flowers? To get in touch with Matt and Lentil go to www.grownandgathered.com.au

 

 

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Zara is founder and editor of Oh My Goodness. A certified holistic health coach, National Breast Cancer Foundation speaker and Bupa health influencer award finalist, Zara is passionate about making it as easy and fun for people to lead a healthy lifestyle. She’s appeared on The Project and Today Show; her recipes have been featured on I Quit Sugar, Sport Luxe, and Show and Tell Online; and she’s a regular contributor to Medibank’s Be. Magazine and Fairfax health online.

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