Saturday, February 25, 2012

Free Screening - The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil - Sun 26th (Transition Coburg)

Come one, come all, to Transition Coburg's inaugural Film Screening.

The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil is the the first of a collection of films they intend on showing for free over the next couple of months as an informal way of introducing people to the issue of peak oil and some of the ideas that the Transition Movement involves.

The film will be shown in the meeting room behind the Coburg Library at 3pm on Sunday the 26th Feb. (entry via the mall)

This will be a chance for people to watch an inspiring film and meet other locals interested in learning about Transition Initiatives. Bring a friend, a neighbour, or the whole family.

Look forward to meeting you all :) 

Transition Coburg

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Community + Food + Forest: Help plan a food forest for Darebin (25th Feb)

A Sustainable Living Festival local event

With a push within the Darebin Environmental Community for a Food Forest to complement the Northcote Library Food Garden, interested locals and others are invited to join a discussion and site visit to plan for an approach to Council.

When: 25 Februray 2012, 3 to 4.30pm (2.30pm for registration and tour for 3pm to start)

Where: Northcote Library Food garden, 32-38 Separation St, Northcote.

Afternoon tea provided.

There will be a maximum of 30 people so please RSVP by Email :
or contact John on 0449 508 318 or Charlie on 0403216252 for further information.

Collaborative Groups: Heritage Fruit Society, Transition Darebin, Permaculture Inner North, Friends of Herring Island, Deep Green Permaculture

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Imagine if our street trees gave us food... Grafting guerrillas make street trees productive on the sly

 Having trees in our streets is good for many reasons:
  • They provide habitat.
  • They clean and cool the air and provide shade.
  • They make our city easier on the eye.
  • They add character.
Councils don't really plant trees for food though. I've heard a few reasons thrown around (e.g. the food attracts insects or rodents or could present a slip hazard) but I'm not aware of any evidence-based policies on this (if you are, please share them).

In Moreland (and other boroughs around Melbourne) public spaces you'll find lots of olive trees, the occasional fruit tree and (as far as I know) one community orchard (well, food forest in waiting really). You'll also sometimes see people traipsing along the streets with ladders and buckets to harvest the olive trees or wandering through the food forest picking apples or figs. People eat the food that these trees make.

It's challenging to secure land for more traditional urban agriculture projects like community gardens but imagine if even 10% of our street trees produced food...

The Guerrilla Grafters of San Francisco decided if they couldn't get their council to plant productive trees, they could make them productive anyway (the even came up with ways to placate the council).
"[They]graft fruit bearing branches onto non-fruit bearing, ornamental fruit trees. Over time, delicious, nutritious fruit is made available to urban residents through these grafts. [Their] web application helps grafters to find graftable trees, to track how grafts are doing, and helps to facilitate gleaning of fruit."
Check out this video about their work and ponder the possibilities for food security and food miles and imagine how cool it would be to grab a couple of apples off a tree on the footpath to take to work with you each day or to put in your kids' lunch box.

How can we get more productive trees in our streets?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Hot Diggity!! Luscombe St Community Garden fundraiser - Sunday 26th 12-8pm (Brunswick)

Hot Diggity!! The annual fundraiser for the Luscombe St Community Garden is here again.

Where: 43 Luscombe St, Brunswick
Where: Sunday 26th of Feb, 12pm-8pm

There'll be loads of local bands to dance on the lawn or sit and relax. 

Check out the event on Facebook and follow developments on Twitter (@hotdiggityfest)

They'll have beers and ciders a-flowing, games for the kids, and the lovely people at Le Sausage and Bike 'n' Blend can sort you out with something to keep your belly full. 

Gardening, music, beer and sausages. Sounds like awesome fun!

(If you haven't heard about this community garden before, neither had we! More details here)

Incorporating Disability Access and Therapeutic Spaces in Permaculture Design

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.


Have wide, even paths for a section of the garden with plants that do not overhang too much. Soft plants that hang a little over the edges are excellent as they add to the sensory experience. Espaliered fruit trees and arbours for vines or beans etc. make good use of space. These paths do require a higher energy input to be made wider and level so consider using them as heat traps or shade tunnels.

Wide gate on the chicken yard for easy access

The full article by Elspeth Brock covers appropriate tools, sensory garden design, raised beds and therapeutic gardens, to read it go to the Permaculture Research Institute website.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Looking to swap shuffle and share with your neighbouring food gardeners? Here's How.

A great thing about growing your own produce is that you get to choose what you plant and harvest. The tricky bit is working out the timing of your harvest, and the ongoing dilemma of most gardeners - how to make the most out of your patch. Most of us can't grow everything that we would like, and sometimes even though we might be great at growing beans, tomatoes and lemons - we might be craving oranges, rhubarb and basil.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

PepperTree Place open garden event Sat 18th and Sun 19th (Coburg)

A first for this unique community greenspace, the Open Gardens Australia event will showcase the edible landscape of PepperTree Place on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th February, 10am – 4:30pm.

Take a closer look at ways to “grow your own” at home while exploring the unique story of a garden steeped in history. Fun and friendly guided tours for adults or kids throughout the day, garden fresh lunches and quality baked goods from the Cafe Cooperative social enterprise, and quality plants on sale at the PepperTree Community Nursery.

Garden tour info:

  • Sat 11am: People, Plants and Place with Steven Wells, Horticultural Therapist and Landscape Designer
  • Sat 10:30am: Bugs Alive (for Kids) with Lizzie Bickmore, Family Gardening specialist.
  • Sat and Sun: PepperTree Place; Past, Present and Future with Sustainable Garden expert Diana Cotter

This beautiful and productive urban landscape provides living examples of innovative, creative (and sometimes down-right-old-fashioned) ways of growing food organically. Each garden space and community initiative is managed with environmentally sustainable principles in mind and with the aim of being a practical learning tool for the individuals, families and community groups who access the space.

For further information please contact:

Claire Hetzel on 0431 494 773, chetzel(at)

Gunyah edible garden, open over this weekend in Coburg

Australia’s Open Garden Scheme
Sat 18th & Sun 19th February 2012 -10:00am to 4:30pm
Gunyah – 22 Lochinvar St., Pascoe Vale

(thanks to SGA for this text)

Gunyah, the aboriginal word for ‘resting place’, is both an affirmation and a contradiction when applied to this wonderful garden hidden away in a secluded street in Pascoe Vale. Passerbys looking over the front fence, see a beautiful cottage garden typical of this quiet and picturesque street. And as its name suggests, Gunyah does provide plenty of cool restful spots to escape this summer’s heat. But as you enter the garden and meet Karen Sutherland, the vibrant and passionate owner of the garden, you quickly realise that you are in a very special place with surprises around every turn of its meandering paths.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Food Swap: Inner North Urban Harvest - Saturday 18th Feb (Coburg)

Saturday 18th (and every third Saturday of the month as it goes) between 10am and 12pm, join a small gathering of friendly swappers who converge on McCleery Reserve on the corner of Vincent & Munroe Streets in Coburg for the Inner North Urban Harvest.

Contact: 0430586500 or ekeogh(at) or aliciahooper(at)
Check out our Food Swaps page for more info on where you can find a food swap near you and for general info on food swaps.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Investigating: Sickly Citrus - using leaf colour to identify trace element deficiencies

While my lime and orange trees have dark green foliage, my Eureka Lemon leaves have been a sickly, uneven green despite nesting in deep, damp loam and receiving some modest applications of complete trace element powder and decomposing sugar cane mulch over time.

It would be nice if nature had colour-coded deficiencies in the major plant nutrients (Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium) in the color of foliage, however it is not so simple.

Edible Gardens Tours - Bellfield/Heidelberg West, Heidelberg, Watsonia, Montmorency (Saturday 11th Feb)

(From Transition Banyule)

Urban farming
Urban Farming by donkeycart on Flickr

Transition Banyule are offering you a Banyule Edible Garden Tour on Saturday 11 February, as part of the Sustainable Living Festival.

Don’t miss this great opportunity to network with other food gardeners and share experiences. 

Please choose one of the 4 different tours detailed below at Bellfield/Heidelberg West, Heidelberg, Watsonia, Montmorency.

Each tour will cover 3 different food gardens and will finish with a lunch made of ingredients from these gardens. 

The cost is $10 ($5 concession, children 15 years and under free) and places are limited to 12 people SO bookings are essential.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Sharing Abundance in Moreland - bringing together those who grow, those who pick and those

At the end of last year Sharing Abundance was launched to harvest and distribute fruit in the suburbs that would otherwise go to waste from private and public land. 

Inspired by seeing so much perfectly beautiful fruit being allowed to drop from trees and rot on footpaths and alley ways, Sharing Abundance offers a service - to harvest and maintain those trees and distribute the fruit equitably in the community where the tree is grown.

Similar projects are currently being run in the UK and Canada. Now, here in Australia, this service is currently only available in Moreland but hoping to expand across Melbourne and beyond. 

The first harvesting event will be held in mid february and continue into citrus season! So far they are receiving many registrations for volunteer harvesters (which is great) but not as many trees as they had hoped for. This is a great service for those people who don't have time or the inclination to harvest their own tree, or are just stuck with too much fruit!

Read on to find out how to register.
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