|Brisbane, Queensland, Australia|
(projects i'm involved in)
It’s in my genes to grow vegetables and fruit. It’s part of who I am. I love being in the soil, getting my hands in the dirt, nurturing plants, growing edible things and then creating meals using those nutritious veggies – soups, stir fries, quiches, salads. My ancestors all grew veggies and I was exposed to organic gardening from a young age, helping grandma and great granddad in their patch of backyard dirt every summer in Canada (where I grew up). Then there was my paternal grandfather from Norway with his 2 acre plot, which, in hindsight, I can see it was a permaculture plot with strawberries, beans and other veggies scrambling amongst the blackberries.
My innate desire to garden has been a theme that has run through my adult life. Wherever I have lived, I have grown food. From far North Queensland to Tasmania I have had my little plot of earth where I give what I can to the soil, nurturing it, asking for some fresh nutrient rich food in return.
Taking a permaculture course was a pivotal moment for me: It felt like a coming home, sitting in the classroom listening to Geoff Lawnton talk about soil and trees and interdependency. I loved it. When I returned to my suburban Brisbane home, I vowed to make the best use of what I had. With my small yard, I built some raised beds as well as no-dig gardens and I started composting. We added a water tank, a solar hot water system and 1.5 kilowatt solar panels. I bought a worm farm and began feeding the soil with the juice. Within 18 months my garden had attracted birds and butterflies and a blue tongued lizard. I had created a small ecosystem in the corner of my yard! Then I decided to make use of the front yard, so I created a herb garden and planted several trees (lemon, mandarin, macadamia nut, papaya, and black pudding fruit tree).
We eat fresh greens every day and compost all the excess or feed it to the worms. My neighbours drop over and cut fresh herbs from the front yard for their cooking and I give away a lot of my produce to friends and others. We still have a typical Australian suburban home with native trees and an outdoor setting for BBQ get-togethers. I encourage others to change what they can, implementing permaculture principles where they can, even if they live in suburbia.
My next project is to plant some mango trees in the park across the road from us and maybe some herbs underneath them, so in the future people can come and pick what they want.
|Type: Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course|
|Teacher: Geoff Lawton|
|Location: Zaytuna Farm|
|Date: Apr 2009|