Community Projects, People Systems, Urban Projects, Village Development — by Elspeth Brock March 5, 2013
I attended the Community Gardens Conference in Canberra in 2010. Myles Bremner, CEO of Garden Organic, Europe’s main organic gardening organization, was speaking about how surprised he was that in Australia there was no unified network of Community Gardens. In fact in Australia no one even knows exactly how many there are. This highlighted for me the importance of building local networks to improve the credibility of local food growing and share experiences and resources.
I wanted to share my experience of The Moreland Food Gardens Network (MFGN) in Melbourne, Australia, to show how a local network can work. It began with a group of people all somehow involved in community gardens and there are now a wide range of organisations and individuals involved, such as horticulturalists, community members, local schools, community health organisations, local council and academics.Comments (0)
Biodiversity, Insects, Plant Systems — by Elspeth Brock February 11, 2013
Bee Friendly Planting Guide (8mb PDF)
I just came across an excellent new resource for beekeepers. It is published by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation and entitled Bee Friendly — a planting guide for European honey bees and Australian native pollinators.
It contains over 300 pages of information on bee forage plants for Australia, for urban open space, private gardens and farms with a climate specific plant selection. The sections on street scapes is an excellent resource for people in urban areas who want to improve local biodiversity and not just plant street trees for aesthetics. It gives specific recommendations on species of eucalypt, tea tree, hakea and grevillea for bees — great if you only have room for one tree or want to plant out a native section of a farm.
There are a few plant surprises for me, such as Pig Face, a succulent native ground cover that will grow on tough slopes and verges, and gives you an excuse to include flowers in your permaculture garden — daisies, Zinnia, Coreopsis and Californian lilac are named as excellent bee fodders. Oregano, peppermint, lemon balm and rosemary are amongst other herbs listed as most beneficial to bees.
What’s best is it’s downloadable for free.
- How to Revive the Honeybee
- How to Attract Beneficial Predators & Pollinators
- Colony Collapse Disorder – a Moment for Reflection
Land, Urban Projects — by Elspeth Brock December 4, 2012
So you’re renting and think why bother working on the garden when you’ll only have to leave. In my experience it’s always worthwhile. For one you may end up staying longer than you think, and much can be done in a short time for not much money. When it is time to move on I always think of my gardens as charity for the next person and for the earth and its creatures. There is great saying — whoever “plants a tree, or sows a field and men and beasts and birds eat from it, all of it is charity from him” (Sahîh al-Bukhârî (2320), so whoever or whatever is fed from your plantings is in your favor also.Comments (3)
Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Medicinal Plants — by Elspeth Brock May 24, 2012
Climbing bean flowers have only one axis of symmetry
A practical thing botany teaches is too look at similarities and differences or patterns in plants. When growing vegetables you start to see resemblances between the plants and it can be useful to develop some general knowledge about how plant families are classified. I have found this knowledge particularly useful for:Comments (7)
Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Land, Society, Urban Projects, Village Development — by Elspeth Brock February 9, 2012
Ilma Lever Gardens garden designed for wheelchair access
When working in various gardens for community usage I found we often needed to consider access for gardeners of a range of abilities without compromising the overall function of the design. I want to outline some things I have found useful to make spaces disability-friendly whilst also maintaining the permaculture principles of multiple use values and productive landscapes. Access issues you may need to consider include wheelchair movement, limited bending, blindness, unstable gait from stroke or acquired brain injury.
Many permaculture systems are beneficial as they already aim to reduce the amount of physical labour e.g. no dig, animals doing the work for you, zoning, etc. So here I will focus on more specific elements.Comments (3)
Community Projects, Urban Projects — by Elspeth Brock November 16, 2011
It began with a large area of asphalt and a dream of expanding our community garden. Mulberry Gardens is in Glenroy, Melbourne, Australia and operates entirely as a communal space. All members share in the upkeep and harvest the produce — which is mostly shared amongst attendees at the Saturday morning communal sessions. The number of fast food and alcohol shops vastly outweighs fresh food outlets in the area so a community garden was established to help give locals access to fresh organic produce and share the skills of growing produce.Comments (2)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Courses/Workshops, Education Centres, People Systems, Village Development — by Elspeth Brock June 16, 2010
Wheat, almonds and wild flowers
I felt in some way instantly at home in Morocco. Ait Attab in the high Atlas has a similar climate to inland south-eastern Australia, orange-purple soil, masses of erosion, the hot burning sun, and a wide blue sky. Running wild are the ancestors of many plants familiar from English cottage gardens – poppies, gladioli, margarite daisies. We were treated to wonderful hospitality, beautiful gnarled olive trees, orange flat-roofed houses, home made bread – called bat-boot for the sound it makes when being made – and donkeys braying (well maybe not all so much like home).Comments (1)