Kenmore Park


It has been a year of great testing for Brenton and me. It is sixteen months since I had the stroke.  We would like to see a faster recovery for me but count our blessings day by day. We do not accept this `ball and chain’ so, continue to look forward to a complete healing and meanwhile we carry on life as normal as possible. Brenton had several quick trips without me to check on water, etc. We planned to come up three weeks early to prepare for apricot picking but we praise God we came when we did as the apricots were colouring.  We realised Brenton could not cope with picking plus sending the five tonne crop out so we decided to take some loads to a health shop in Alice Springs. A friend in Alice Springs started taking apricotsto aboriginal communities. He then sold to the public for $3 kg by the bucket at their house. It started well (Woolworth were selling for$12 kg). Then someone put it on Facebook and by the time we got home he was out of fruit. We did three trips in ten days and were pleased we and did not have as much waste as we feared with birds etc. The profits from stone fruit financed the free gift of grapes to the APY lands.

Soon after the harvest had finished we had a visit from two police officers who wanted to buy some fruit .They asked about the orchard & we shared our desire to get fruit to aboriginal people, particularly the children and the aged, at an affordable price. One said`I would love to help with that’.. We found she is Supt. of the APY Police  The police from across the Lands  meet at Umuwa (about 50 km away) every Thursday.

We have had a tremendous crop of Red Globe grapes which last well and carry well. Some vines have up to 65kg. For the last ten Thursdays we have taken a load of grapes to Umuwa and people as far as the WA border received gifts. The police have enjoyed this outreach. Our friend Don Perry came over from Ernabella on Saturdays and helped pick and saturated Ernabella each week with grapes for every family..We have just received a report from Don that `runny noses’ which was a symptom of malnutrition in children is now almost a thing of the past. A bunch of grapes a day for two months for every child in Ernabella hasproven this. Our desire is for fruit to be supplied all the year round.

Greetings from Brenton & Margaret Pope

P.O. Box 1, Spalding-South Australia 5454

Phone:      08-89558301    (Kenmore)                                 08-88458045    (Spalding)



Kenmore Park

January 2012 News

Just over a year ago I was sharing with an aboriginal leader about the garden vision of how we were preparing to feed the APY lands at a time when there would be little or no welfare.  He replied, `This is like the vision of Joseph as he prepared for the famine in Egypt!

It occurred to me later that in July 2012 it will be seven years of preparation. In another six months there may be little or no welfare. Less than forty years ago the aboriginal people had no welfare. The people then were much healthier and knew how to work to eat. Our welfare handout has robbed them of their motivation, destroyed their health and sent most of them to the grave 20-30 years early. It has probably been a greater tragedy than the early persecution from the white settlers.

God in His mercy is going to afford them a `soft landing’ transition to locally sufficient living with the best of both cultures at their disposal.

In the last few months we have seen some amazing preparations for God’s plan. He has given us favour through relationships with the CEO of the Lands Council of the APY lands. He said, `You produce the food and we will guarantee to deliver to the people of the lands’.

The apricot crop was about a fortnight away from the first picking when we had a terrible storm of 130km/hr winds with hail. About two thirds of the crop was hail marked and useless for fresh market. We were able to pick from the protected side of the trees and fresh market to the schools, aged care and stores east of Amata but had only one picking before school holidays. The remainder of the crop we had to peel off the hail marks and freeze in 1 kg sealed plastic bags. By Christmas we had about 1500 bags in freezers and now the schools are looking forward to making apricot pies etc. during the next ten months.

We have been in contact with every school in the Lands plus every store and aged care centre. All are keen to receive regular supplies of apricots, table grapes, tomatoes, rock melons and other vegetables at a basic price to cover overheads and at the same time be affordable for the people .We have had excellent contacts with SA government officials.

We have been blessed with the help of George Summers from Saddleworth who wheel barrowed forty tonnes of cow manure to all the trees. Alec, a retired school teacher from Ernabella, gave three weeks of help during the apricot season. We have a special friend, Gillian McGrady, who co-manages a large building contracting firm in the APY Lands. She brought some of their staff to help pick one day and on a Saturday organised two carloads of helpers from Umuwa. They included health and building inspectors and other public servants. There were precious times of relationships around the meal table. The ABC radio from Alice Springs approached us to do a program on the garden which was on ABC Rural around Australia. In the past twelve months we have had numerous visitors and made relationships like never before. We have had visits from schools who want to start a garden. It is God’s timing that the garden becomes known. We often call it the continuation of the old Ernabella mission garden.

Our nephew, Andrew, has contributed much of his time and resources to the setting up of a solar powered irrigation system. We have 54 solar panels already erected facing north and hope to be ready in a couple of months to have our own water supply and be independent of the government  town supply. We plan to have a gas producer powered generator to use over periods of cloud cover in the thunderstorm season (December-February). Andrew has already had two trips to Kenmore and probably there will be another two before finishing. Allan Fraser arrived at the right time to grad a 1 km trench from the bores to the garden Dudley Dagg of Ernabella kindly donated a day’s work with his Ditchwitch digger.

We expect a couple of tonnes of table grapes which will supply the Lands from January to the end of March. Tomatoes that have set since the hail storm should give continuous supply through until frost in June. Later this year we hope to start a good sized poultry run. This would give a supply of organic eggs and table birds for the Lands and also be an important part of manure for the garden.

All of this needs helpers who can train the local young men and women in horticulture and poultry. We are believing that God will send along the right experienced and dedicated helpers who we need for this year and beyond.

Margaret and I are managing but in this year 2012 we will both be in our eightieth year. We cannot keep up the pace that we have done of the past few years.  Also we feel that God will call us to other areas of Central Australia to use our past experience to help set up other gardens. We feel that where possible food should be grown locally and not carted hundreds of kilometres.

October 2011

We continue to see more encouragement with the aboriginal folk helping in the garden. With help available we are planting a large quantity of vegetables. We hope to have our 50m x 20m covered garden up before Christmas.

The citrus and vines have had a marvellous spring growth following all the rains. We are supplementing them with trace element minerals of iron, zinc and manganese which are absent in the sandy soil. Margaret and I worked two weeks straight getting on top of the weeds which had flourished also with the rains. Weeding has taken so much of our time so we have reluctantly decided to use Roundup and spot spray on the weeds in the trees. It was a hard decision to make but it will release our time for the vegetable and poultry projects. We believe that God will send someone to supervise and help in these areas.

March 2010

Our first three years with the garden project at Kenmore has been a learning experience both on horticulture and our relationships with the local aboriginal people. We were blessed with help with the loader and tipper carting of the many loads of cow manure and with the grader in preparation of the ground for planting. Almost all of the planting, weeding and harvesting of the fruit and vegetables was done by Margaret and I. We had to keep our eyes on the vision that God had given us- that we were to prepare for a forthcoming famine. Our patience was tested many times as we worked in the heat whilst the people watched videos under air conditioning.

The last four months of our fourth year have seen a breakthrough as prayers have been answered. Almost the whole community have come out and helped with fencing the new area, picking apricots and recently planting the sweet potatoes and butternuts. We were greatly encouraged as their leader, Donald Fraser, has taken a personal interest in the garden. He set the example and most of the family and grandchildren responded and were so pleased with their achievement.

We had our first significant crop of apricots- about 140 two gallon buckets. The community agreed to give away the whole crop to other communities-to Ernabella,. Amarta, Fregon, Mimili and Indullkana. Some even went out to the WA border and some to communities around Alice Springs. At the same time apricots were being sold at Ernabella store for $1 each. We said, `Freely, freely have we received so freely, freely give’. It was a joy to give a bucket of fruit to the grandmothers at the Ernabella Art Centre. They feed many of their deserted grandchildren and struggle financially to do so.

We recently planted an all the year round patch of 300 citrus trees. Our first crop of table grapes is just ripening.

The community is becoming more aware of the timing of the food project. As finances tighten up they can see the wisdom in becoming locally sustainable. We have just returned from our 28th trip to Kenmore. God has blessed us with a minimum of mechanical troubles with our old diesel Peugeot. He is now sending us younger helpers who have a vision and heart for the aboriginal people.

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