Fuelled by the pressures of parenting twins, Jo Smith threw herself into the home garden when they were little.
“I went through postnatal depression with the twins and the garden has absolutely saved my life,” she said.
It is situated on a picturesque four hectare property on Bruny Island in Tasmania’s south-east, overlooking the D’Entrecasteaux Channel.
This is the young mother’s happy place, a lush and bountiful vegetable garden.
“It’s been a saviour,” she said.
She found that being in the great outdoors, simply putting her hands in the soil and physical labour, made her feel better.
“I know within myself if I’m not outside every day. I start to feel very anxious and really overwhelmed by motherhood, because it can be hard,” she said.
Thankfully as the garden thrived so did her mental health.
Three years on she has combined motherhood and a commercial market garden.
This season’s good rains mean it has been an “awesome” autumn-winter on Bruny Island, Ms Smith said.
She is still picking the last of the winter veg — kale, carrots, silver beet, rocket, cabbages, spring onions, and fennel, just to name a few.
In March, Ms Smith officially launched her market garden business.
“Unfortunately, but fortunately, COVID has been great for us,” she said.
People have wanted to buy their veg locally.
In the past few months she has made up 565 boxes for islanders, and she is now supplying local cafes and accommodation.
For spring and summer her target is to supply locals with 1,000 veg boxes.
“To provide our local community here on Bruny Island with seasonal food that is grown 100 per cent organic on a small scale farm, and for them to come into this space and to connect with their food, I think it’s just magic. It’s beautiful,” she said.
When the ABC visited Bruny Island it was the first day of spring and the young gardener had 3,000 seedlings to put in — spring onions, leeks, cabbages, broccoli, beetroot, the salad greens, carrots, and parsnips.
“It’s huge, it’s very busy, but it’s a really good busy because it’s part of my life. It’s my passion so I don’t see it as work,” she said.
Ms Smith is inviting other women to the farm to “chill out” and reconnect with nature.
Having always had a dream to offer other women a place to reconnect, she recently she opened the garden up to visitors.
“We had a day where women came and we did yoga, we had a long table lunch…all the food was grown from the garden and they were able to nourish themselves and we were just able to share their stories,” she said.
“I wanted to do this is because I went through postnatal depression and the garden has been a saviour and I want to offer that to other people,” She said.
The response has been huge according to the young gardener.