The number of cafes and restaurants installing their own backyard gardens is on the rise.
They are likely to be found in cooking establishments that support the local produce ethos, such as Bent on Food.
The cafe, and also cooking school, in northern NSW is owned and run by Donna Carrier.
The outdoor space behind the cafe has been planted with indigenous and edible plants.
But in the adjacent backyard, belonging to the Country Women's Association, is a kitchen garden with various vegetables, herbs and fruit plants.
"The ladies were kind enough to let us use the backyard for the garden and for people to sit in, and it's just become a really special place out here," she said.
"We planted lots of indigenous edibles and since then we've planted other edibles also because we just feel that we can utilise these in our kitchen.
"Obviously we can't grow everything we need, but we do use a lot of local growers for our lettuce, tomatoes and things like that.
"To be able to come out and gather some herbs and a bit of rhubarb and sometimes kale, it's great."
Donna estimates there are around 30 plants growing in the various gardens.
"I'm a bit addicted, every time I find something I want to go and grab to put into the garden," she said.
"The only problem is that it's a lot of work to keep it going, but it's fun.
"All the staff get into it and water it everyday, the kids have come along and built some fairy gardens for us, which is really sweet, and we've got a lot of flowers now.
"There's actually roses in this garden that have to be 50 or 60 years old, that the CWA planted many years ago, and they're absolutely beautiful old rose bushes."
The next addition to the garden could be bee hives.
"In Sydney they've even got bees in some of the cafes, which I've often thought would be nice but they'd have to be stingless bees," she said.
Donna will feature in an upcoming cooking series on ABCTV by indigenous chef Clayton Donovan.
"He was in the Manning Valley doing a segment on local venison and we filmed a segment up at the cookery school and utilised some of the indigenous edibles out of our garden," she said.
"We've got native ginger growing, and I always thought that with ginger you use the root, but he uses the ginger leaves to wrap fish in and cooks it in the smoker.
"He also taught me how to smoke things with the native mint and some of the native herbs that we've got, to give it a lovely smoky flavour."
Bent on Food is a finalist in the restaurant and catering category at the 2013 NSW Tourism Awards next month, and was a finalist at this week's 2013 National Restaurant and Catering Awards in two categories.
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