Posts filed under ‘Garden/Permaculture’
In 1649, in response to government disharmony and infighting, Gerrard Winstanley and a group of local residents began to plant vegetables in common land on Saint George’s Hill, in Surrey. This coincided with a time when food prices had reached an all time high and the government was showing inability to respond to the needs of the citizenry. Winstanley invited all to “come in and help them, and promise them meat, drink, and clothes” and thus the original diggers were born.
We may not be in the 1600’s but our current situation feels remarkably similar. It is becoming blatantly clear that governments of all stripes are struggling to keep up with both the pace and the scale of the changes that will be required for the future. With peak oil either here or nearby and a rapidly changing climate it is also highly likely that our food systems will be disrupted to at least some extent. Back yard agriculture can take up a great deal of the slack but we need more to grow the things that either can’t be grown in small spaces or are inefficient in a private context.
We need to reclaim the commons!
In times gone by commons were shared public spaces that were held for the public good. Whether it was a place that goats and cows could graze or a grove of nut trees that would be harvested by the whole village, the common filled the gaps of food production and also provided a focal point for the community. The Croxton Common is envisaged as just such a place (though maybe without the cows!). But we know that waiting until such a place is required will make it ten years too late we have to start now! This is why Transition Darebin is mobilising and inviting all residents and citizens of Darebin and beyond to get involved with the Croxton Commons, the development of the land surrounding Croxton Railway station (an coincidently on a hill near St. Georges Road).
But what will it look like?
Exactly what the Croxton Commons becomes will depend on the will and the energy of the people attached to it. But the aim is for it to include urban fruit and nut orchards, community and enterprise spaces, recreation areas and social focused spaces. It will be a truly multi-use space that will aim not to reduce the current amenity of the area but add to it through careful design and inclusive forward planning. It will also make use of the most efficient form of transport (the train line) to promote hubs for food sharing, markets and maybe even tool and skill sharing.
This is a project that has been in the wings for some time but thanks to some help from Victrack and Darebin Council we have finally got to a stage where the real planning and working can begin. That’s why we’re putting out the call for thinkers, designers, doers and coordinators; for permies, horti’s, gardeners, handypeople and local folk; for anyone who wants to chip in and help bring this plan to fruition.
We’re kicking off by teaming up with local community garden Our Apple Tree to have a ‘Clean up Australia Day’ event. We’ll be meeting at Our Apple Tree (corner Herbert Street and Beavers Road) at 10am and then walking (and cleaning) up through the Commons finishing at Spencer Reserve, our first site for a barbecue (12:00-1:00). If you can’t make this event but want to be part of the Croxton Commons Group then please email us at email@example.com.
Darebin Fruit Squad is currently looking for new volunteers to join their harvesting team. If you are keen on harvesting backyard fruit to supply the foodbank Jika Jika community centre would like to hear from you. Contact: Liz on firstname.lastname@example.org or (03) 9482 5100
see all the details of Share Make Mend in the post below – see you there!
Fruit Squad ready for summer fruit harvest in Northcote
Fruit Squad is a project that involves volunteers picking backyard fruit and giving it to SecondBite, an organisation that redistributes fresh, nutritious food to those in need via hostels, rooming houses and community services, many located in Darebin.
With the summer seasons fruit ripening fast, the Fruit Squad is currently looking for back yard trees to pick. If you live in Northcote, in the area bounded by Separation Street, St Georges Road, Grange Road and Heidelberg Road, and would like to register your fruit trees for harvesting, or want to pick your own which we can collect, please call Jika Jika Community Centre on (03) 9482 5100 or e-mail email@example.com.
Fruit Squad is an initiative of Transition Darebin in partnership with Jika Jika Community Centre, with support from Darebin City Council.
For our first gathering of 2013, we are teaming up with Urban Reforestation, who are hosting a workshop called “The Art of Community Gardening” at the Old Apple Tree. It will be more of a discussion than a one-way workshop – people with all levels of experience and interest are welcome – whether you are an old hand or just finding out about community gardens.
If anyone has not come across the Apple Tree before, it’s a bit of a local icon. A very big, very old apple tree right next to the railway line which has been lovingly documented by photographer Cat Wilson, and adopted and given a new lease on life by locals including TD members and people in the neighbourhood, most recently led by Urban Reforestation members, who have spruced up the area, adding seating, a planter box and other plants. And started a facebook page for the Apple Tree.
After the workshop there will be a hands-on working bee, giving the apple tree and surrounds some TLC.
And then a picnic which will double as our first TD gathering of the year. Perhaps we may even bring out the TD banner, which still needs a little more painting to be complete, and features our apple tree inspired by… you guessed it – the Old Apple Tree.
Saturday 12 January
10.30am morning tea and meet up!
11am Workshop and advice sharing on setting up a community garden. Tips
include: engaging community, creative design ideas, working with local
council and ongoing maintenance.
12pm Working bee at The Apple Tree Herbert Street! Putting some
creative design ideas into action.
1pm Yummy vegetarian picnic lunch – please bring a vegetarian plate to share. Come and meet with TD peeps and the locals around the Apple Tree.
Cost: by donation.
For more details and to RSVP for the workshop see http://www.urbanreforestation.com/community-gardens-2/workshop-the-art-of-community-gardening/
Grafting workshop with John Pinniger tomorrow night (27th July 2011) at Loophole Community Centre located at 670 High St, Thornbury.
Be on time for a 6:30 start.
Hope to see you all there!
SATURDAY JULY 16th from 10am-3pm
Come down and help out, as we dig, plant and chatter around the new jewel in Northcote’s crown.
You are welcome to donate healthy seeds, cuttings and plants and to be part of the fun watching a dirt pit transform into the garden of Eden.
Check out the Northcote Library Food Garden Blog for up-to-date info.
We are pleased to announce the start of a new venture – house/garden visits. Nothing new? Yes, these are small groups where the host discusses growing veggies, planning gardens and retro-fitting their house with you. Maximum group size is 10. On the day the group would visit 2 homes.
You must register by emailing John at firstname.lastname@example.org (please put ‘Progressive House Tours’ in the subject). The cost is $5 per person, payable on the day. Once you register, we will email the address of the first house, and public transport details. In most cases the distance between the two houses will be walkable.
Our first tour.
House 1. Northcote. Water diversion, fruit & veggies. House insulated and double-glazed. Aquaculture begun.
House 2. Northcote. Energy-efficient retro-fit of an old house on a small block. Water harvesting, storage & internal use. Solar heating, house orientation, weather stripping. Basic veggie, fruit & berry growing.
Date: Saturday 23rd July.
Time: 2.pm. Finish approx 4.30.
Initial Location: Notified after registration. 100m 246/250/251 bus. 1.5k Fairfield station.
What an inspiring afternoon learning all about Angora Rabbits and how you can make clothes from their fur. It is the softest stuff I have ever felt and when knitted into clothes is just divine. What amazed me about this afternoon was not only has Asphyxia created her own house out of mudbrick, created a garden that supplies oodles of fruit and vege but also has an animal that supplies her with wool to create her own clothes. The rewards of this type of lifestyle are huge. Asphyxia mentioned wanting to see if she could live like a “medieval woman”- what a great aspiration in this fast paced, consumer orientated society.
Early yesterday morning, a group of 12 adults and 6 children set off for a berry picking adventure. We went up the windy road to the lower hills of the Strzelecki ranges and found that the Sunny Creek Organic berry farm was a little cooler than the highway we had transcended from.
The day started with a talk on the history and setting up of the permaculture designed property by one of the owners, Phil. We learnt of the importance of frogs and bees to the organic berry farmer, why currants will grow under chestnut trees but raspberries won’t, and how to tell a golden raspberry plant from a red raspberry, even before it fruits. Most importantly for our purposes on the day, we learnt how to judge a berry for immediate eating versus one for keeping a few days or freezing.
Then it was time to pick and be merry. Everyone had a bucket to fill, and there were oodles of beautiful plump berries to be had – silvan berries, boysenberries, youngberries, blackberries (all types of brambles), a rainbow of raspberries (yellow, red, purple and black) some red currants and a smattering of blueberries.
It was a perfect temperature for picking and we were in under the nets reaching for large clusters of berries, some so ripe that they fell off their stalk as soon as they were touched (then you had to ferret in the undergrowth to save them!). Of course a fair amount of berry grazing was done along the way, encouraged by the owner, who suggested we savour the sharper, more acidic, less ripe fruit and compare it with its more fully ripened and darker neighbour.
The owners gave us a lovely spot to have morning tea and our picnic lunch, and the children had a lovely time seeking adventures in the nearby bush and looking for tree frogs in the pond.
After weighing and packing our bounty, we wandered our separate ways home with our berry treasures, some stopping off in Yarragon on the way for a cuppa, and others checking out the new foal on a local farm, all determined to add one or two varieties of berry to our gardens next spring.
Perhaps the apple season will take us for another venture up into the hills– cox’s orange pippins and Canadian cider apples await. We will keep you posted re picking season for the apple crop and highly recommend the quality of the berries and berry picking experience at Sunny Creek.
Rachel and Jos
(on behalf of the fun_raising group)
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