Harvesting our inner blitz (or bliss?)
February was a pretty crazy month, there was so much to see at the Sustainable Living Festival – and we also had our Fair Food documentary presentation, as well as a workshop from the amazing Kai Sawyer! Not to mention the incredible bounties that our gardens were bestowing upon us – we were busy harvesting tomatoes, zucchinis, chillies, herbs, apples – even coffee!
To celebrate this time of abundant harvest our song of the month is no other than Neil Young’s classic Harvest Moon.
Fair Food screening
Last week we teamed up with Permaculture Victoria to present the Fair Food documentary which was immediately followed by a panel discussion on the state of the agricultural food system in Australia at the moment. It was a wonderful evening with several thought-provoking discussions.
A *huge* thanks to the wonderful audience who helped us raise almost $400 to donate to the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance to help them in their work promoting fair food for all.
Permablitz Revisited - Ashburton 18 months later
A great design has ensured that this garden will serve Alex and Nicole well into the future, and the garden is already providing not only food but play spaces too!
Permablitz Revisited - Northcote 3 years later
Three years after their permablitz, Michelle and Chris now have all the lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and other veggies they could want. And with the herbs beds, there is generally enough seasonal produce for the whole family!
Hero of the Month
Dragon Tongue Beans
These brightly coloured beans are possibly the best beans ever. Tasty, nutritious AND fast growing! For Melbourne growing, sow the seeds direct in Spring (after the last frost) in a full-sun position. They are a bush-bean variety, and will grow to 70cm. Once the beans kick in, pick daily to maximise your yields.
Find out more about these funky bush beans here!
Bits and Pieces
The Kai Sawyer workshop
Kai Sawyer, peace activist, student of nonviolence, and permaculture educator from Japan, shared his vision of “peace” and “sustainability” as well as an amazing workshop in empathetic communication through a 3-4 hour presentation in Chali’s beautiful home in Fairfield.
Kai shared his story of exploring the world of “peace” and “sustainability”. This covered the time from the 9/11 terrorist attacks, to his experiences living in the jungle of Costa Rica with no running water or electricity, to his visits to various amazing permaculture communities. His story focuses more on people and relationships (social permaculture), social change and empowerment, rather than food production. He also spoke about how he is cultivating the cultural soil to plant radical practices of peace and ecology through his project called Tokyo Urban Permaculture.
The permaculture and social change projects Kai spoke about were mainly the Bullocks Permaculture Homestead and the City Repair Portland. Both showcased not just food systems but thriving communities that are impacting the larger society. The Bullocks is a rural example where 12 interns are trained each year to learn any skill they want and experiment with designing culture/community. City Repair is an urban example of residents reclaiming public space and illegally taking over an intersection, creating a beautiful mandala painting, earthen benches, kids playhouse, free tea station, etc. Eventually through these actions the community persuaded the city government that it was for the public good, and their illegal action has become legalised (they call it legal innovation). Now the city actively promotes this behavior, and City Repair have pioneered urban ecological design and community renewal.
If you missed this amazing presentation you can view his presentation (complete with pretty pictures!) online here – it covers the first half of the workshop excluding the empathetic communication elements. You can also check out his “An Invitation to Stop” TED Talk – definitely worth a look!
Kai is continuing to travel, before he returns to Japan to recommence training youth activists in Japan on nonviolence, and developing a “Peace and Permaculture Dojo” to train the next generation of change makers in Japan.
You can check out his website here.
This Rare “Goth Chicken” Is 100% Black
The Lambourghini of poultry has just pulled into the driveway, and its name is Ayam Cemani. This mesmerizing bird is a rare species of chicken from Indonesia, and its all-black appearance has made it one of the most exotic and mysterious breeds in the world.
Every part of this unique bird is black, from its metallic feathers to its onyx feet. It even has inky internal organs, an effect caused by a condition called fibromelanosis, a harmless genetic mutation that causes extra melanin to seep into the bird’s tissue. This process happens in embryo, resulting in adorably dark Cemani chicks.
Ayam Cemani has inspired Javanese folklore since the 12th century, when it was considered a bird of the elite. Its charcoal-coloured blood is rumored to be a delicacy of spirits that bring power and wealth, making it a good luck charm.
*Presently not for sale in Australia. Doh!
In the Garden
March is the beginning of Autumn, so there’s plenty to do! It’s a great time for planting new trees now that the weather is a bit cooler and there will also be time for the trees to establish before the onset of winter. Yes, winter is coming…
If you’ve got pumpkins in your patch, it will be time to pick them soon – make sure they are fully ripened (there shouldn’t be any green on the stem or skin), and cut them when the vine starts to die off.
Thinking of garlic as well? It’s a good time for it!
Seeds that do well in March include..
- Broad Beans
- Chinese Cabbage
- Garlic clove
- Mustard Greens
- Potato tubers
- Salad Burnett
- Shallot bulbs
- Spring Onions
- Strawberry runners
Remember: some seeds do better starting off in punnets, some in pots and some in the ground. To get the best from your seedlings be sure to check the best methods first!
From all at Permablitz Melbourne decentral – stay cool and enjoy the summer vibes!