Category Archives: Agriculture

Dig baby dig! (And grow baby grow!)

With all this gloom and doom around, here’s something positive you can do. It’ll not only be good for your weekly budget, but all also make you happier. And surprise, in a very small way, also be good for the planet.

Grab a shovel, go out to the verge in front of your house, and dig it up. That’s right, turn that earth, plant some vegies in there, and watch food grow before your very eyes.

I did exactly that and you wouldn’t believe the results. Vegies are just some of them.

Guerilla gardening vegies - after‘After (a month)’

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James Woodford’s grid-life crisis: one man’s journey to leave the city and live sustainably

James Woodford

Lots of people dream of making a ‘sea change’ to escape the rat race of the city. Some people even do it.

But how many leave with the intention of living sustainably? To live on the land, grow their own food, generate their own power and water, and even restore their new patch closer to its original, natural state. James Woodford and his family are working on just that.

Audio: Interview with James Woodford about his new book ‘Real Dirt’.

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Sydney City Farm struggles to plant its roots

Will Sydney get its own urban farm? In the first of our series on city farms, we look at the proposal to put an organic farm at Callan Park in the city’s inner west.

The proposal draws ideas from successful farms that have ready been established in places like Melbourne and London. And the site is a beautiful location right on the harbour and in the grounds of the now abandoned mental hospital.

It all sounds good, apart from the fact that the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority have not included the farm in their plans for the whole site and a final decision is going to be made on its future use soon.

Audio podcast
In this interview I speak with Rod Simpson and Andrew Jackson from Sydney City Farm. Andrew is the head of this non-profit organisation and Rod is the architect and designer behind the plan. You can listen here to the Sydney City Farm interview. It starts with Rod Simpson.

How to support the Sydney City Farm
If you think the farm is a good idea, there’s a couple of things you can do. Join the mailing list at www.sydneycityfarm.org and write to the New South Wales Planning Minister and to the Vice Chancellor of Sydney Uni to ask them to include the farm in their plans.

More info on Sydney City Farm
More on the farm in this article from the Sydney Morning Herald.

Do your own thing
If you want to join or start a community garden where you live, check out the Australian City Farms and Community Gardens Network.

Biofuels: blessing or curse?

In many developed countries food prices have skyrocketed. So much so there’s been riots and demonstrations in a range of countries from Cameroon and Senegal to Haiti, Mexico and Egypt.  One factor is believed to be the increasing use of crops to produce biofuels rather than food.

So is biofuel an important solution to our transport energy needs. Or is it creating problems the world doesn’t need?

To find out more about biofuels and the situation for biofuels in Australia, I spoke with the CSIRO’s biofuels expert Deborah O’Connell. I started by asking where biofuels come from.  Listen to the biofuels interview.

Grow your own says The Green Gardener

Josh Byrne is a presenter on the ABCs Garden Show. He’s also written a book called ‘The Green Gardener’.

Josh reckons people have seen the light and are now using their backyards to grow food. In this interview, he talks about how to go about grow your own, making your garden sustainable and the role of permaculture in his work. Listen to the Josh Byrne Green Gardener interview.

I caught up with Josh at the Australian Permaculture Convergence.

Back to the backyard: the permaculture answer to peak oil

Permaculture is real counter-culture. Thats what I thought after attending the Australian Permaculture Convergence last weekend.

It combines traditional farming techniques and thinking about nature with modern technology to enable people to live differently to how most of us live. To live in a truly sustainable way.

In this interview, I tracked down David Holmgren, the co-originator of permaculture, at the conference.

Interestingly, having originally developed the idea in response to the oil crisis of the 70’s, David reckons permaculture is the answer to our looming energy crisis. With peak oil, permaculture is more relevant than ever.

More on permaculture on David’s site.

Community supported agriculture: a new way to get your fruit and veg

Ever dreamed of having your own farm? Don’t have the capital, the time or the expertise? Here’s a way for you have a direct connection with a farm and still live in the city.

It’s called ‘community supported agriculture’ and it’s rapidly growing in the U.S. Under the scheme, you pay the CSA farmer up front for a season. Not only do you get a regular box of produce, you can also get involved in the farm, help pick the fruit and vegies, and take your kids out there to show them where their food comes from.

Many of these farms also use organic practices and some biodynamics.

John Peterson has a successful organic CSA farm in the Mid-West of the U.S.. He had quite a ride with his family farm, almost losing the lot before he switched to CSA farming some years ago. John has documented his life and struggles in a great film entitled ‘The Real Dirt on Farmer John’.

I interviewed Farmer John about community supported agriculture when he came out to promote his doco. Listen to the Farmer John interview. You can find out more about the farm and find the film at: http://www.angelicorganics.com/ The film is worth tracking down. Margaret Pomeranz gave it 4 stars.