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)’

The other, even more brilliant thing, is that I’ve met some great people who live around me who’ve pitched in and helped get it to where it is. We now have over 30 in our little collective. Every time I’m pottering around out there some passer-by comes up and says “I just wanted to tell you you how great it is you’re doing that.”

Here’s the before and during shots:

Guerilla gardening - before‘Before’

Guerilla gardening - during‘During’

I’ve felt a sense of community, which really is an amazing thing to strike in Sydney. (Not normally one of the city’s strong points.) And of course there are all those other benefits – like the joy of picking your own stuff to eat, getting your hands dirty, showing the local kids where food comes from, saving on food miles, peak oil and all that. In fact those clever Permaculture people were advocating we do this long ago.

You can hear my interview with David Holmgren, one of the original proponents of Permaculture, here. He reckons its quite possible for Sydney to grow all its own food here where we live (except for broadacre things – like wheat.)

In amazing recent turn of events, Britain’s National Trust have pledged to hand over stately home land for people to grow their own vegies. (Recent story from The Independent.) And here’s an article from the Herald last year: Green solution just outside your door.

Useful links:
Australian City Farms and Community Gardens Network
Sydney City Farm (brilliant new plan for a farm in the city)
Food for the Future Fair (a celebration of urban food growing which inspired us)

Anyway, what are you waiting for?

p.s. Next project on the agenda is to do a tour of community vegie patches round Sydney. Suggestions of where to go are welcome.

Special thanks to Barbara, my neighbour. It wouldn’t have happened without your hard work and ‘yes we can’ attitude.

4 responses to “Dig baby dig! (And grow baby grow!)

  1. Beauty, Phil! Nice article. Also check out the notion of Guerilla Gardening. Permaguerilla gardening would be even better!

  2. ndekezi maarifa

    Phil, your work is great! I like vegetables fresh and straight from the garden. Imagine, if we all do this in our yard! This would be a great to our planet too- in small great ways!

  3. Along similar lines, FallenFruit.org is a cute idea – produce a map of all the publically accessible fruit trees in your neighbourhood.

  4. Andrew Hillhouse

    Go Phil! Love the idea.
    A couple of years ago Sarah put a wheelbarrow of our excess pink grapefruit outside our gate with a sign that said “FREE TO GOOD NEIGHBOURS”. Not only did we get some passion fruit and wine in our wheelbarrow in return, it sparked a discussion on what actually is a good neighbour. Provocative Produce….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *