Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

I received this message on the BLF facebook page from Margot: 

I am a student from Northwestern University in Illinois, USA. This summer, I'm conducting a 6-country research project on local food systems and food security. I'll be visiting Brisbane from August 1st to 12th, where I hope to interview organizers of various forms of local food systems. Is there somebody at Brisbane Local Food who would be willing to assist with my research, either by email or phone prior to my visit, or when I am in Brisbane?

I told Margot that I would be happy to help her.  I suggested that I talk to you wonderful folks and try to arrange some quiet garden visits for her so she can see the range of different approaches we all take (I reckon that is one of our strong points, as a group).  She has now joined us here on here on the ning site.  If you are interested within the 1 - 12 August timeframe, please reply in this post.  I will try to arrange some kind of schedule, should we get sufficient interest. 

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we wanted roof top gardens as part of our initial house plan - underground but it was too radical for the council - they wanted proof that it would work !!! so instead we covered the roof in solar panels and solar hot water systems !  this was my inspiration for our house plans of cousre the roof would have been planted with sweet potato pineapples and other perennial food plants and only grasses that could be used for food maybe even a rice paddy ! How To Use The Earth For Passive Heating/Cooling Your house:

Wonderful idea Mary Ann. Love the idea of roof top gardens - was watching Extreme Houses the other day and they featured one with a meadow on top...which the deer visited.

Gee I figured Councils these days would be more flexible. How can you prove something will work until you build it? Sounds like an endless roundabout. There's many partly-undergound houses overseas and heaps in ... is it Lightning Ridge? With people living in old mine workings.

That covered patio is really something though, the breezes and views making up slightly for the super insulation you could have had with the underground house.

BLF is important because it has sped up the learning and sharing (of suitable plants and animals) process for dozens if not hundreds of backyard gardeners. In effect it has helped turn us all into suburban farmers to one degree or another. Inspiring those who were hesitant at first, including myself.

No guidelines, no strict rules about what can or can't be discussed or done - the whole process has been totally organic if I can borrow that word. Just people coming together to share what they have learned. Speed gardening...a bit like speed dating. 

So far we have managed to avoid formalities and a committee-like atmosphere and focus entirely on gardening/farming.

Good goddess spare me from committees! That's how Camels came into being: a Committee set out to design a Horse.

What's this 'speed gardening'? Never was my patience tested more than with gardening! 'Speed dating' - where has romance gone?

Well put Lissa, that is exactly what we are and do,  as long as we can keep our little growing areas.  As that logo says" from little things big things grow".   We don't need a committee but we do need gardeners like you to remind us of the whole picture of gardening in the suburbs and supplementing from local food. 

The book from Jeffrey H is teaching me to be happy with my garden, this is my first book in which I have underlined some text in order to remember certain things.

Glad you like Jeffreys book Christa :) It is just such a neat little bit of simple good advice and thought isn't it. I too underline stuff in this book...or use a highlighter in my case.

If a committee is ever formed for BLF that is the day I say Good-bye... Just thought I would get that in...

Elaine, I love your analogy of Committees.

I really am looking forward to Jeffery H's Garden Visit, I do plan to get his book whilst there.

There is also that garden in the middle of the racecourse at Sandgate.  Lissa arranged a visit there a while back.  From memory, they had a some refugees growing food there.

I agree with others that the looseness of BLF is its strength. It gives us all the opportunity to see what others do and adapt it to our own situations.

Green P Farm Michael Crook would be the go-to guy for a visit. Very successful - they sell organic produce regularly at their stall in Sandgate.

There's some good suggestions here.  I'll send Margo a message. 

My main aim in growing food is to produce food that has taste and is fresh. Also pretty sure it would be healthier then its bought counterparts. I only have a very small garden but it does produce most of our greens. We keep chickens also. I share eggs and chicken run compost with my parents in exchange for eating their excess produce and honey from Dads hive. Plus I get the 'joy' of watering their gardens and pot plants when they go on holidays.

Pretty Produce on Lamb Isalnd might be worth contacting to see if they are interested in being involved.


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Vetiver grass helps to stabilise soil and protects it against erosion.  It can protect against pests and weeds. Vetiver is also used as animal feed. (Wiki.)

GrowVetiver is a plant nursery run by Dave & Keir Riley that harvests and grows Vetiver grass for local community applications and use. It is based in Beachmere, just north of Brisbane, Australia.

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