Here at VEG we are counting the sleeps until we host a rare Melbourne
visit of Kay Baxter and Bob Corker in early June. This wonderful duo
are so far ahead of the game it's not funny. They have been growing
virtually all their food, including grains, for over 30 years,
and if the supermarkets ran out of food they would probably not realise
for some years! Kay Baxter is a household name in the NZ gardening and
permaculture community as a legendary seedsaver and author of several
popular books on food production, orchard design, and nutritious food.
She speaks from the heart and years of experience about her journey into
the art of producing and preparing nutrient-dense food in a way that
can sustain our soils and bodies for generations to come. Bob Corker
has been a permaculture designer for three decades, is the founding
force behind the Kotare ecovillage project in NZ, and with Kay is a
co-founder of NZ's Koanga Institute.
Dan & Amanda from VEG recently had the pleasure of working
alongside Kay and Bob in NZ to present one of the two Permaculture
Design Certificate courses the Koanga Institute runs each year. It was a
wonderful experience living in the land of the Kotare community land trust, eating nutrient-dense well-balanced food, and being able to include practical design, fruit tree pruning, food forest planting and other workshops throughout the course.
During their visit Dan will take Bob on a tour of some of the
permaculture properties in and out of Melbourne, and in addition to Bob
and Kay each presenting a workshop/talk, we are thinking of hosting a
casual evening of discussion for those interested in learning more about
the Kotare project - contact us if you're interested.
Our wonderful warehouse manager and friend Carey runs a small farming operation in Melton 40 kms from Melbourne, where he produces eggs and crops for local groups in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) arrangement. The problem is, his single dam leaks! On the evening of May 27 2012 we're helping with a fundraiser in Yarraville to raise some money to help fix the dam and help Carey's chooks, crops and cows get through next summer without getting too thirsty. No booking required - just show up and we'll hope to see you there!
In the new Brunswick-based VEG warehouse, we generate a fair few offcuts as we craft our vegie beds and chook houses. The offcuts are all untreated and ethically-sourced cypress macrocarpa which is a common firewood, burns hot and slow, but can throw sparks so is not recommended for open fireplaces. Also, it will require some further drying (a matter of days if inside, or months if outside). If you or a friend is after some firewood to keep cozy this winter, contact our warehouse manager Carey:
. The deal is you come and load it into your car or trailer yourself at a prearranged time (usually work hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays). We're currently selling:
A loosely stacked market-crate full for $40 (photo to come).
An overfull stacked market-crate (122cm wide x 122cm long x 73cm high) full for $50. That's a lot of good firewood for $50
A sack full as per photo below for $6 (perfect for the camping trip!)
Adam from VEG has an article about urban permaculture in this new Dutch
publication Food for the City which also features one of our heroes, the famous Indian physicist, food activist and seed-saver Vandana
Shiva and a lot of other great people.
Food for the City. A Future for the Metropolis
2050 nine billion people will be living on earth, 75 percent of them in
cities. If we go on at this rate, we will need several extra planets
for the production of our food. ‘Food for the City' examines how we can
keep feeding our cities.
Ever since Carolyn Steel's international
bestseller ‘Hungry City', food is no longer a subject reserved for
experts. The publication ‘Food for the City' goes a step further and
presents 13 unique visions from across the world on the future of food
in the city in the year 2050. In addition, a timeline from 2050 BCE to
2050 CE and a richly varied pictorial essay offer the reader an
intriguing look at a subject that may be hip and hot now, but has in
fact occupied people for millennia. The chef, the activist, the
industrialist, the artist, the philosopher, the architect and the
farmer, among others, offer their view of the future of food for the
In honour of International Composting Awareness Week (ICAW), which begins today, we remember
Marjory the Trash Heap, the wise compost pile from Jim Henson's Fraggle
Rock. Marjory 'knows all and sees all. In fact, Marjory is all: "I'm
orange peels, I'm coffee grounds, I'm wisdom!"'
at her steaming away! She seems to have a good mix of brown (high
carbon) materials such as autumn leaves with the (generally high
nitrogen) food scraps, which is essential to a good compost pile.
We believe the lone example of Marjory serves highlight just how few talking compost heaps there are in popular culture. Maybe she could be brought back with her own talk show.
A few days back VEG's Simon, Will, & Lynden completed this chicken system including a Veg Standard Chook House, a VEG Custom Strawyard, and two enormous runs. Some lovely gate and hatch details in there - these sorts of things really make a difference in managing the system day-to-day. Now all that's required is some chooks who this time next year will be laying some serious easter eggs!
A couple of years ago we came into some lovely young pekin bantam chickens who spent several days with us at the Gardening Australia Expo in 2010 -- and were so relaxed about it they laid eggs every day and seemed to love the attention. Since then they've been having a wonderful life at the CERES Permaculture and Bushfoods Nursery in Brunswick East, where they keep the company of Barry, a pekin rooster. And as these things happen, one of them has just become a mother! We took down a VEG chook tractor so she can raise her babies in peace. How cute!!
Update 16 April: Here they are a now, scratching like little champs!
Monthly guest Adam Grubb from Very Edible Gardens and the
Permablitz network chats to Donna and Kulja about lead contamination in
Melbourne backyards, issues surrounding food safety, and more on the
For the last couple of years Adam has been a monthly guest on The Grapevine on Triple R
radio with Donna Morabito and Kulja Coulston. This weeks discussion
was prompted by an article in the Sunday Age (and a kind of retraction) about
lead contamination at Ceres Environmental Park. (In the past Adam's spot was on the fourth Monday of the month, but that might change.)
UPDATE Mar 16: Read this article by Chris Ennis from CERES about the truth of the matter and some dodgy journalism.
Tune in to The Grapevine each Monday morning from 9am til 12pm on 102.7FM or at www.rrr.org.au.
Yesterday Dan and Adam ran day two of VEG's Two-Day Introduction to Urban Permaculture, which is run on the property of Kim and Clive, VEG's first ever design customers (Kim is now a VEG team member and a much better gardener than us!). We had a lovely day with a great bunch of participants - thanks again to you all for coming along. At the end of the day Dan did a quick walk around - after having completed a late-summer lightening prune (about 12 large deciduous fruit trees in 2 hrs!), hence the carnage (tough love). We love this property, not only because Kim and Clive live there, and because Kim feeds us so well (from the garden), but because after five years the garden is beautiful, and about the most pleasant place we know of in Melbourne to spend a Saturday.