Enterprising Individuals iSustainable from RIG News #9
Enterprising individuals – Jasmin and Slay Herro
iSustainable Indigenous Corporation
iSustainable Indigenous Corporation is a new, not for profit organisation that is focused on building and operating a sustainability learning centre in Sydney in conjunction with culturally inclusive, urban community gardens. Profits from the operation will be used to build Kitchen Garden Projects in Remote Indigenous Communities, helping to build community activities that care for our country and embrace good health through gardening and food. Watch this space! www.iSustainable.org.au
The project is the brainchild of Sydney based couple Jasmin and Slay Herro, who have taken inspiration from diverse sources – a health alert, Permaculture, and a return home to Thursday Island – to develop a passion for sustainable and healthy food, community gardens and spreading the word. Anthea from RIG met Jasmin at the recent Australasian Permaculture Convergence where Jasmin spoke about the couple’s passion to work with remote communities in addition to their work at the Summer Hill community garden and at Sydney’s Bicentennial Park where they will soon offer ‘iSustainable Kids – Pizza Garden’ holiday day courses for young children.
The Herro’s experience demonstrates the benefits of food gardens – good food, good gardens and good health!
Jasmin kindly shares their personal journey toward a healthier lifestyle and the creation of iSustainable Indigenous Corporation with us below.
“In 2004 Slay had a heart attack, it was lucky that he survived as he was close to 140kgs, he had type 2 diabetes, and was a man of extremes he would eat junk food and then work out until he dropped.
The night of his heart attack he was working out and thought he pulled a muscle in his shoulder. All night he groaned as I was in the other room breastfeeding our 6 month old while trying to put our 2 year old to sleep. Morning came and he was still moaning. Slay’s brother had to come to send him to the hospital and that is when we found out that he had a heart attack.
Things drastically changed. We had 5 franchise stores, 195 employees and I was now in charge of the whole lot. After Slay came home from hospital and recovered, he vowed that he wouldn’t work like that again.
After a few years of trying different things we moved into a smaller house which had space for a garden. Slay was now on insulin and still quite unfit and unhealthy. After a trip to Thursday Island where my mother was born Slay came back full of enthusiasm for building a garden (which I had been asking for over the last 10 years). On Thursday Island he had lived the simple life – catching fish and eating out of the garden – and he wanted to bring that back home.
He decided to use some of that expensive equipment that he had purchased over the years in the false hope that just having the machines would help him lose weight. The gardens quickly took over to the point now where all of our main meals are made from vegetables grown in the garden. Slay went on a veggie rampage and ate himself out of insulin dependency. His blood sugar levels have been extraordinary and have amazed all of his doctors. He continues to work out regularly and is hoping to start running a few half marathons next year. He has lost over 40kgs and continues to lose inches. He has more energy for the kids and is more involved with their activities.
The garden saved my husband from his bad eating habits. He is keen to try new foods and even ones he thought he didn’t like. We are both actively involved with the garden and with eating what we grow. Our passion for our garden has been easy to share and there is never a time when we are tired of it. People ring weekly to come and view the garden and see what we have done. We have decided to help others find freedom in growing their own food, sharing the knowledge and teaching their children. After completing my PDC with Geoff Lawton at Zaytuna farm, I like to use his saying “All the world’s problems can be solved in a garden!” and for us that has been true.”