The summer hiatus is over. The permablitz season is back! Bringing with it some gastronomic, horticultural truth. Choose it…
What does truth taste like? A bitter pill? On the contrary. You see we’ve been tricked. Scammed. By that thing in the supermarket that looks like a tomato but doesn’t taste like one. By the shiny analogue of an apple, making up for what it lacks in flavour and nutrition by a hidden load of pesticides.
I can tell you this, brothers and sisters, the apple in the Garden of Eden was no insipid, floury, waxed Jonathan. But truth doesn’t even come in the form of one apple alone. I want you to picture instead 60, 70 different varieties of organically grown, heritage apples, available for you to taste on the one day!
This is exactly what you get at the Heritage Fruit Society’s Pettys Orchard Apple Tasting Open Day on March 28. After going last year, Kati writes “I didn’t know apples could have so many different colours, flavours, sizes, textures etc.” It’s like we’re all living “in a world with no choices and no truth. So if you wanna TASTE SOME TRUTH … probs you need to come to this.
We’re blitzing up the Open Day this year, and there are more blitzes coming too. The blitz at Petty’s is already booked out but you can still come along to the open day to enjoy the fun. Book in to these others fast…
In this newsletter we’ve also hard times permaculture bringing relief to disaster zones and prisons, we’ve got urban honey, and we’ve got the inimitable Costa on permablitzing, and we’ll teach you new ways to pee.
~~~ Upcoming Blitzes ~~~
Been to three or so blitzes? Want to get blitzed? Contact us…
~~~ Upcoming Courses ~~~
~~~ Permaculture in Prisons ~~~
“As part of our food justice/permaculture work at Planting Justice, we teach urban permaculture at San Quentin State Prison to 35 medium security inmates in collaboration with the Insight Garden Program. Currently we have a 1000 sq foot native plant medicinal and flower garden that the guys have built and tend to, and we have submitted a proposal to build a permaculture inspired raised bed veggie/herb garden behind their dorms. Unfortunately, prison rules will prohibit the guys from eating any of the food they grow, so it will be donated to low-income families in Oakland, and we will attempt to donate it specifically to the families of the guys we work with who live in the area as a way to connect the guys inside with their loved ones on the outside.
“It has been a tremendous experience, transformative for ourselves, and especially transformative for the guys, who cultivate patience and nurturance for themselves and those around them through their work in the garden. Some of their reflections about their experience gardening in prison are on our website at www.plantingjustice.org
~~~ Sweet city buzz ~~~
Ever thought about keeping bees? They fly around the neighbour stealing other people’s nectar and turn it into honey. And it’s totally legal! What a great scam, and you can get in on this one. When they fly around stealing nectar, they pollinate everyone’s fruit trees too, so people think you’re doing THEM a favour. And did you know that the city is a great place for bees? Everyone grows flowers to look pretty and smell nice all year long, and the honey tastes great! My last batch of honey is called ‘Ten stings honey’ as that’s how many Dan got when he came by for an hour to help.
Last year The Age printed this article about a young beekeeper:
~~~ Permaculture in Disaster Zones ~~~
Since permaculture focusses on using on site resources effectively, it can be of use in disaster zones. There’s some discussion and examples here
Steve Cran is an Australian permaculturist, ex-military with experience implementing permaculture systems post-tsunami in Aceh and other places. His current work is a “community sustainability project in the north of Uganda near the Sudan border. Its a hot spot sometimes with cows guns and dust. These people have been aid dependent for 40 years.” Follow him at: www.globalsustainabilitycorps.org
~~~ Costa on Permablitz ~~~
Costa Georgiadis talks up permablitz in this great interview with Sydney’s 2SER show A Question of Balance
Click the headphones to hear it! (Thanks Costa!)
After Costa’s customary enthusiasm, I did a relatively low key follow up interview a few weeks later too… How the permablitz movement started in Melbourne
~~~ How to Repair the World ~~~
~~~ Storms in the Willows ~~~
A potentially controversial subject. Willows are widely considered environmental pests, yet they also offer some environmental services, as Australian Story celebrity farmer Peter Andrews has most famously demonstrated through his restoration projects. Their unique root mat is useful at capturing sediments, cleansing water of excess fertilisers, and building up fertility in degraded gullies.
A recent paper by Michael Wilson from Centre for Environmental Management, University of Ballarat states, “Research demonstrates that a cleared river reach has significantly worse ecosystem benefits than either a willow lined or mature native vegetation lined stream. Clearing will mobilise sediment, nutrients and organic matter, will make heterotrophic streams more autotrophic, will threaten habitat values for invertebrates and fish and will threaten pool-riffle sequences. There is a better way to manage willows; succession.”
This an important read for anyone involved in river restoration projects (PDF)
. It tends to be a permaculture approach to look first to see if so-called weeds might be doing a job healing a damaged landscape before eradicating them. Simple eradication can leave behind the very conditions in which the ‘weeds’ once again proliferate. Succession is the process of allowing pioneer plants to build topsoil and improve conditions so that longer lived and less ‘weedy’ species will grow through. It’s a longer term approach but one which works. More support for more sensitive treatment of willows from various researchers and land restorers here
~~~ The pee bale goes mainstream ~~~
Instead of flushing urine out to sea, using this rich source of nitrogen, phosphorous and other important plant nutrients can help us save water, reduce pollution, while improving our soils. And as healthy urine is sterile it doesn’t pose a health risk. One simple method is to have a bale of straw to pee on, which absorbs smells as it breaks down into compost. The method got some exposure in The Guardian last year.
Ok that’s it for this newsletter… see you at a blitz 🙂
Adam @ PB Decentral