Singleton's rescued citrus heads to Coonabarabran - a community battling severe drought conditions

On the weekend boxes of 'rescued' citrus will be heading north west to Coonabarabran, a community that is battling the worst drought conditions on record.

The local branch of the Country Women's Association (CWA) will distribute the fruit throughout the community which is bracing for it third tough summer. Recently formed Slow Food Singleton group were behind the rescue which they described as being a fantastic result thanks to the support and generosity of the local community.

Many wonderful old citrus tree were discovered in the local area including an orange tree estimated to be 90-years-old that was laden with fruit. Fruit was donated and or picked by Slow Food members with many boxes amassed over the last few days.

Michelle Higgis, Sarah Lukeman, Carmen-Lee Mensah and Ruth Rogers with some of the rescued citrus heading to the drought affected Coonabarabran district.

Michelle Higgis, Sarah Lukeman, Carmen-Lee Mensah and Ruth Rogers with some of the rescued citrus heading to the drought affected Coonabarabran district.

Slow Food Singleton co-ordinator Michelle Higgins said the members of Hunter Valley Slow Food based in Maitland have done eight drought relief runs to date. "Last week they sent boxes containing radishes rescued from Singleton, shallots, oranges, lemons, grapefruits, beetroot, cabbages, pumpkins, potatoes, carrots to Gundy in the Upper Hunter, "she said.

"The citrus from Singleton will head to Coonabarabran on Sunday morning on a coach along with other produce from the Maitland group." Michelle is keen for locals to join the Singleton Slow Food group and become involved in this international movement that's about growing, eating and buying locally produced food - supporting local farmers. "When we buy local produce it keeps the money within the community - supporting local or backyard farmers," she said.

Hard going rescuing citrus as Michelle Higgins climbs a 90 year-old-orange tree picking fruit.

Hard going rescuing citrus as Michelle Higgins climbs a 90 year-old-orange tree picking fruit.

"If you ask yourself is our community a sustainable community? If you a reliant on the supermarkets for everything then you are not a sustainable community.

"I grow my own vegies, but I still need to supplement that with the super market. "It's really lovely to share food around especially if something is going to waste. "It is amazing how much enthusiasms and joy there is when coming together to do a group project"

Ruth Rogers said that ever broadening level of community and networking is just wonderful, its really just encouraging people to get into their garden or sharing their excess.

"People are really starting to want to know where there food has come from, what has it been sprayed with? is it coming from overseas ? " Our generation now has to start thinking what is going to be left for the next generation, our kids kids. " Slow Food Singleton are planning another drought relief later this month run so if anyone has any excess fruit and or vegetables please contact either Michelle or Ruth - the group now has a facebook page Slow Foods Singleton. Michelle mob: 0404804954.