Tag Archives: garden

It’s a cool late spring late afternoon. I walk into the garden, foraging for dinner produce, not quite sure what I’ll cook yet. I’m looking for a few herbs here and there, some salad leaves, a couple of chillies and whatever else catches my eye that might form dinner. It’s an organic garden. Completely natural. Only fresh healthy produce grown here. That’s such a good feeling, knowing that only wholesome, safe food comes from my garden everyday. But there’s another, perhaps equally important side to urban farming. The home economics.

If you are someone who grows their own food, even a little of it regularly, you’ll know it’s a saving. Every item grown, if even it’s just a pot of herbs, ultimately saves you money. Each produce grown is produce not purchased. That saves money, time and other resources. Now do the maths. If you grow only a little and it saves you some time and money, then growing more must save you more time and money. But … here’s where many people’s thought processes kick in with obstacle thinking: ‘But that means I have to spend more time in the garden’, ‘How much will it cost me to set up a garden and grow more food?’ and ‘It’s a lot of work gardening. Won’t it cost me for water and fertiliser?’

Some common sense answers to the rescue! Yes, you’ll spend a little more time in the garden, especially initially to set it up in order to get a yield. But how can more time in the garden ever be a bad thing? You get more fresh air, exercise and it’s so good for the mind and body. And what about the yield? All that fresh produce, straight from soil to plate!

There may also be some initial costs to set up your garden to grow more food, but they can be minor costs with the right knowledge and resources, much of which you may already have handy in your home and garden. As with anything in life, there has to be some give and take, there has to be some initial and ongoing investment, but gardening and growing food is not expensive, certainly not for what you get in return. Once you set up a ‘closed system’, it will cost you very little.

During summer, when the weather gets very hot and dry, I hear many people say they just give up on their gardens until the weather gets cooler again. I think that’s very sad, not only because it signifies a lack of knowledge (and perhaps willingness to seek the right knowledge), but also because you are letting your garden go backwards, and allowing an ecosystem to suffer or die. There are many options and techniques, from permaculture, for example, that will help you set up your garden to cope with and provide a good yield in extremes of weather. Gardening is not always easier, but it doesn’t have to be difficult or impossible, and there are skills and knowledge that make it easier than many people believe.

Permaculture and urban farming are all about sustainability, which means learning how to sustain your gardens and keep producing food consistently throughout the year, even through extremes of weather and other challenges. These paths also offer solid, time tested and proven methods for helping us ‘get off the grid’ – use more or only renewable energy, store water and other energies, grow and produce most of our own food, which all ultimately saves us money and other resources.

I would like to encourage and challenge everyone reading this and who follows me to choose to step up their food production. I can support you in increasing your food production without spending much or anything to do so, without increasing household costs, using local, cheap or free resources, with a fresh way of seeing your garden and your world. I can support you in making the transition from where you’re at now to a more solid investment in your garden for a greater yield – to save money, time and improve health and wellbeing.

For the same time, or even less, that it takes you to go shopping at the supermarket, you can put into your garden for a greater, healthier, fresher, organic yield. I will share skills, knowledge, strategies and much more with you to help you achieve this, if this is what you choose, if you accept my challenge. I promise richer, greater return on your initial investment of time and energy.

What can you do? I would love your support for my events and workshops. Your attendance makes my community work and business possible. This is a mutually sustainable agreement. I look forward to us supporting each other, watching your gardens grow and hearing about how you’ve saved money … and ultimately, how much more you’re enjoying your garden and nature. Thank you.

In the late 1970s in Australia, backyard or urban farming started to decline. People stopped keeping chickens, many times because of noise complaints and also because local council laws began changing around Australia. Supermarkets increased their range and availability of produce year round, making it more convenient for people to shop for their food instead of growing it. Families got busy. Life sped up. The focus changed to fast, easy consumption and away from sustainability. A generation focused on growing and producing their own food aged and died, and many traditional skills, such as food growing, chicken keeping, preserving and composting suddenly seemed archaic and hippy.

Statistics show that in 1960, around 92% of Aussie homes had backyard edible gardens and kept a few chooks, including roosters. Noise complaints about roosters crowing at 4am were very rare. Neighbours routinely swapped produce, information and stories. It was a simpler, and perhaps much healthier, happier time. Those of us old enough to remember those days, and still in love with growing our own food, keeping a few chooks and maintaining good relationships with our neighbours, would love to see a return of those days, and certainly there are some lucky people who have maintained or achieved that where they live now.

There is hope, though!

There’s a quiet revolution and revival growing in pace and popularity throughout Australia and many developed countries around the world. More people are waking up to the fact that those responsible for producing and safeguarding the food and produce we consume have long been taking shortcuts when it comes to our health and wellbeing, and the safety, care and respect for our planet. Big powerful corporations have slowly gained control over all kinds of food and natural capital, resulting in the exploitation of humans, animals and habitats. But will they take control of our backyards and verges? There is evidence they are trying, with companies like Monsanto trying to stop people seed saving from their own gardens, trying to force the use GMO (genetically modified organisms) and chemical use on our food, and in many ways threatening the survival of natural, ancient food as we know it on Earth.

Whether you subscribe to this or not, or you just want to live a simpler, more sustainable life, growing your own food and caring for your own space, you are part of a revolution – a growing wave of people choosing to take more control and responsibility for their own health and wellbeing, and for the welfare of their planet. The more of us taking up urban farming, which is as ancient as human civilisation, the stronger our collective voice will be if such a voice is needed to combat potential threats to our food systems in the future from multinationals seeking to patent nature and control what goes into our mouths.

Want to do more?

Grow more food! As much as you can, in every space possible. Produce, make, preserve and store more of your own food also. Eat less meat. Shop for commercial produce and products less, and network more in your local and wider community. You are a stronger cog in the wheel of positive change and greater sustainability on the Earth than you realise.