American farmer, author and photographer Michael Ableman believes that urban agriculture can be the future for food security around the world.
What is urban agriculture and how might it work in practice?
He is in Australia this month, details of his speaking tour can be found below.
LIFE MATTERS INTERVIEW : GOOD LISTENING :)
MICHAEL ABLEMAN'S TOUR EVENT DETAILS
I'd love to know why they think an 'unwaged' person could afford $40 for a meal.
Hi Elaine, It's a tough one and something we are always grappling with.
However we need to cover not just the meal but also Michaels and the showing of the films costs, plus our staff costs for setting up etc.
Also, the meal will include desert and coffee and tea as well as supervision of the two other movies for 8-15 yr olds and 2- 7yr olds held concurrently.
Regards and I hope that answers your questions
I well understand $40 can sound pricy Elaine...
... the old world "bring-a-plate-method" is an endangered species it would seem in the city, a bit of a chancy thing... many turn up without a plate I hear frequently from organisers trying to run these things... and a lot bring processed or ??? goodies. Dinner it ain't!
Catering/food costs sure add up I've learnt from (funding my own) catering experiences ... adding on staff, a guest speaker, two films etc I know it to be a pragmatic price from the 'food connect' people.
ps Ive noticed a massive rise in a new form of catering for community dinners... people who can't staff and/or fund cooking for a gathering now buy in Domino's pizzas... which, if the vouchers are saved, would make dinner pretty cheap... but scary !
Dominos: ew ;)
A meal and an unforgettable experience!! Priceless :D Plus it's the cheapest public event being offered in Australia. All the others are heavily sponsored, and when the call went out last year for Brisbane folk to organise it, there were no takers. Once again, Food Connect steps up to engage the community in exciting international projects.
I don't think $40 is too much to pay for a film, dinner and a speaker, and obviously costs need to be covered. It's awful when you can't afford to go to things though :( We've all been in that position.
It's probably too far away for you anyway Elaine - it's in Salisbury, way over the other side of the city.
Have you had any luck getting a city cousin group together out your way so you can get Food Connect without driving for miles and your vegies going all limp?
I noticed they've added a few new boxes, some of which would work in with what you can get at the farmer's market - and you can get raw milk and good raw peanut butter etc.. and the Food Connect stuff is all spray free.
Did you try putting up a wanted flyer in the local health food shop? That might work.
har, and no-one can say so get a job when you've worked all your life ;)
it's going to be a growing issue I think, given the size of the boomer generation - affordability for retirees, that is. When I think unwaged, I generally think students and unemployed, but clearly that's going to have to change. Not sure what can be done though. Superannuation is a good thing I guess (unless the stock market and all the funny money economy tanks), but not for people who didn't get it. Imagine living on a pension and not having a garden!!? yoiks.
Main messages: a. observe, stay open.
b. Lack of farmers is crucial and we need practical skills where ever we go. At present 3% are growing for all of us and that is not sustainable
c. Land ownership is overrated, you can do a deal with a landowner, as long as you get both parties expectations right.
d. Organic needs to go beyond pesticide free towards a whole regional energy plan and different approach to food. Councils are not ready for this till some trigger event, but when they do, there are plenty of models.
e. Organic = elitist in some ways, as in only teh richer can afford to buy it BUT it is actually more the real price of food (to come) AND he is opening social enterprises in the poorest areas and teaching practical skills until people can keep themselves going.
f. 12 acres feeds 500 families, 1/2 acre can deliver $ 100.000.- if you do it right.
g. Look into peak phosphorous: perhaps every community should invest in a rock crusher.
Other people may well ahve collected other bits and bods, but this is what I got out of it.
Bravo Gabrielle...I went along and there's no way I could have remembered near as much so accurately!
I liked Michael's point about seeking alternatives to Land ownership very much... he suggested asking for a 25 year lease due to the financial and physical outlay involved in setting up... and the fact 5 years is an essential timeframe for getting established ... hence the need to ensure some longevity to see the returns.
I keep thinking how many young Australians aren't in work and wish there were initiatives trialled to build the bridges bw Urban Ag and the young. Of course it won't suit everyone long term...but to get a feel for the earth and whats possible has to be a good thing.
Are there things like this happening already?
WEll worth going... great conversations with new people and some familiar faces! And a good atmosphere.
There is Landshare currently active in Australia although in its infancy.
I can't remember the name of the USA group that Michael mentioned but apparently the difference that makes the difference is having thorough and robust processes to match the right farmer with the right landowner, having the expectations really clear. Maybe someone else remembers?