Perth Urban Farming off to a fine start…

About 20 days ago I decided to finally launch what I have called the Perth Urban Farming Project and it is off to a good start despite me spending 14 of those 20 days on holiday with friends in another state with limited internet access.

I started with a Kickstarter campaign (can be viewed here https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1808819454/perth-urban-farming-project) to raise just AUD$320 to get 1000 flyers printed for distribution to homes in my desired areas to drum up some interest. My campaign has only 9 days remaining and I have 3 backers pledging a combined AUD$127 which is amazing! Just need to get the remaining $200 to get the flyers sorted.

I also posted an ad on Gumtree looking for land and have had a response from a lady so I am going to check out her space in a couple of days.

The Project

The project idea itself has been resting in the back of my mind for about a year now, screaming out desperately to be acknowledged and I have decided to make it happen. The aim is to acquire parcels of land in other peoples yards, that they aren’t really utilising fully, to grow food that can be given away. I am mostly looking for land quite close to the city of Perth so it can be easily distributed in the city to those mostly in need. It will be a lot of work and time to develop it into a consistent ad reliable source of fresh produce but I am in it for the long haul.

To me, it combines my desire to grow real, fresh, organic and local food and to feed people. And to especially feed those who don’t access to fresh food such as those considered homeless. For me, it is super-important to give your body quality, nutrient dense food to ensure physical and emotional well-being. I hope that Perth Urban Farming will encourage others to grow food in their gardens that they can share with their neighbours and friends, and that together we can ensure that everyone has access to quality, organic food.

Compost Toilet in the making

I recently spent a month in West Cork, a small town called Skibereen, in the Republic of Ireland. I stayed with a woman who advertised for some help with the garden on HelpX. As well as my gardening tasks I built her this composting toilet. Unfortunately I didn’t get to finish before I left but I managed to get this up in 2 days, all from recycled materials. There are some blocks I found laying around in the garden for a level foundation, then a pallet, and the structure was made from an old shed that blew down in a recent storm. Nestled behind her existing shed, just outside the back door, she will be able to start reducing her dependence on her septic tank and flushing toilets, saving precious water, while creating a mighty good compost for her fruit trees.

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Trees beat Money

Money – that soulless, arbitrary concept, subject to the fickle whims of markets and inflation, in itself good for neither feeding us, sheltering us or loving us – has become more meaningful, more valued and more sacred in our lives than trees – the providers of oxygen, water, food, shade, shelter and soil structure.

Mark Boyle, The Moneyless Manifesto

Portugal Holiday 2013

Well I have just returned from a 10-day holiday in the beautiful Algarve region in Portimao, Portugal. Myself and a few friends decided to rent an apartment and soak up the rays by the pool and the beach. We hit the town a few nights and run into quite a few people that we had met last year in a great bar overlooking the beach, On The Rocks. The local food was amazing too. I don’t know what it is but all of the food there just tastes better than here in England! Well….store bought stuff anyways.

It is such a beautiful part of the world down there. The people are so friendly and life is seriously laid back. I can’t wait to go back there. I have been learning the language for about a year now and actually having to use it was great. Even though some people I spoke to could tell I wasn’t that brilliant they still knew what I meant and showed their appreciation for my efforts with a smile. I can really see that they genuinely appreciate it when you make an effort to speak their language.

I am hoping to make my way back there in about 8-9 months where I plan on living for a year travelling around doing volunteer type work on organic farms and permaculture sites. From the minor research I have conducted there are numerous eco-communities living self-sustainably, growing their own food and harnessing their own energy promoting the principles of permaculture. I would love nothing more than to spend time in these amazing communities learning the language and living with the land.

There was another amazing thing that stood out to me whilst I was there. Our apartment was in a rather bland and monotonous holiday resort. All of the apartments and villas looks the same and the plant life was very ordinary and mostly ornamental. One morning, whilst my friends were still sleeping I decided to go for a walk through a very local-looking area, just roaming the streets, passing Portuguese locals saying “Bom Dia” and smiling. I noticed that 9/10 of the locals gardens contained fruit. Everything from Apples, Figs, Grapes, Lemons, Limes and Oranges. I thought this was amazing. Everywhere you would look there were healthy bunches of grapes and the most orange oranges I have ever seen.

Beneficial Relationships

Permaculture is all about setting up beneficial relationships, and one of the most important relationships is that between the people who produce the food and the people that eat it. The present food system operates on a very large scale and works in the interest of corporate profit, not of the producers or the consumers of food. Direct marketing links between producers and consumers can benefit both parties, and reduce the ecological costs of distributing food.

– Patrick Whitefield, The Earth Care Manual, Page 285