Monday, 12 December 2011

Our first nine months

The story of Daylesford Community Food Gardeners first nine months demonstrating how a guerilla action at one garden developed into three community gardens throughout the town.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

A fleeting visit

We had Helena Norberg-Hodge, the writer-director of the brilliant film The Economics of Happiness, at the Albert Street community garden today.

From L to R: Helena Norberg-Hodge, Meg Ulman (DCFG & HRN), Laurel Freeland (SHARE, HSC) and Elizabeth Hak (ESAC)

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Garden Party

In honour of spring, we are hosting a party at Rea Lands Park and we'd love it if you could join us.

A HUGE shout out to the extraordinary Ian Robertson for the poster, and to the utterly delightful Jasper, for the use of his photo.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

How it all began

Patrick wrote a short piece on our beginnings for Trouble magazine and then submitted an excerpt of it as an abstract for a global symposium on guerilla gardening in New York, forthcoming. Today it was accepted and instead of flying over to deliver his paper he'll make a video. Stay tuned, in the meantime here's the bones of that paper/video to be:

(click for bigger).

September double bee

This month's working bee began at Albert St and ended at Rea Lands Park. As we have two gardens now we have decided to extend the monthly working bee sessions to four hours, two hours at both gardens more or less, but come for as much or as little as you wish...

So monthly working bees will continue on as usual starting at 10am on the second Saturday of the month starting at Albert St then heading to Rea Lands park for lunch and some more work until about 2pm. Here's some pics from this month's first double bee.

Jeremy and Tia weed the potato patch at Albert St.

Lena and Mara exchange notes at Albert St.

Fiona works while the rest lounge at Rea Lands.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

New community garden brewing at DNC

Patrick was asked to draw up a design for a safety fence that is to be included in the community garden at Daylesford Neighbourhood Centre. DNC has been working away on establishing another community garden with an emphasis on sustainable food production. DNC run a certificate program in horticulture, and many other related courses and workshops from edible wild plants to cooking. Many of us can see all of Daylesford's community gardens being networked not only as a community food system, but doubling as educational resources.

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Sunday, 14 August 2011

Oh, joyous day

Daylesford Community Food Gardeners' first planting day at Rea Lands Park. Film by Artist as Family, music by Souls on Board.

Many thanks to the community, the neighbours, Hepburn Shire Council and especially sustainability officer Jill Berry

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Access and Inclusion Plan (and a little something else)

Patrick worked on a couple of drawings today. The first being an Inclusion and Accessibility draft plan for Rea Lands Park showing a proposed all access path and picnic table, and an all access composting toilet (with water tank) and parking. This drawing is in preparation for our meeting on Friday to discuss possible funding potentials for such dreaming...

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The second drawing, well, it speaks for itself really...

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Thanks so much to Kim, Kevin, Digby and Morgan at Designscope, who scanned the drawings.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Sow What When (Daylesford)

Ian Robertson has produced a beautiful year round guide to sowing vegetables in Daylesford.

Click here to see what's ready to go in now. You might be amazed how many things can be planted in the colder months.

Access, generosity, planning and planting

We've been pretty busy getting ready for the first big community planting day this Saturday. People have been so generous, offering time, money and labour. Kevin Slattery donated $100 towards fruit trees, Hepburn Shire Council has donated $1000, and many others have been giving their time to get Rea Lands Park ready for this coming day. Jill Berry, such an apt surname for a sustainability officer, has been remarkable in her efforts to assist this project. Thanks Jill!

Paul Dempsey, our community gardener extraordinaire, has been busy collecting leaf mulch from around the shire, either on bicycle or on foot, and planting berries and fig runners from various local permaculture gardens. Thanks Su, David, Maureen and Steven.

Today a small group of us met at the garden to discuss accessibility to the site. It was agreed a design for an access path will be drawn up and a staged plan of requirements to make the space more inclusive.

Jim Hammerly, Bev Watson and Fiona Porter

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Council backs a second garden

Last Tuesday, at the monthly ordinary meeting of council, Hepburn Shire Councillors unanimously voted to go against the recommendation to sell the Albert Street site, and to support the continuation of a community food garden there.

Big thanks to councillor Sebastian Klein, who put the motion forward, and councillor Don Henderson, for speaking so passionately on behalf of our endeavours.

Preparing the potato patch at the last working bee at the Albert Street garden.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Garden blooms, 'decision looms'

More empathetic press in the The Advocate this week.

Please let our councillors know how much the Albert Street community food garden means to us, and how it is fast becoming a hive for social warming and just free food, open to all.

Picture: Daniel Hartley-Allen (courtesy of The Advocate)
Write your support of the garden to the following councillors:

Jon Barrell –
Janine Booth –
Sebastian Klein –
Rod May –
Bill McClenaghan –
Don Henderson –

Sunday, 10 July 2011

July bee

A great crowd rocked up to the Albert Street garden yesterday to plant more leaf vegetables and to rotary hoe two new potato beds – thanks Adrian! We were given a small donation by a passerby – thanks Darma – so we walked up to Harvest and bought some organic Bullarto spuds to plant.

We took the rocks we dug up from the ground and began to make a cairn with them at the front of the garden.

We lit a fire to defrost our hands, and shared thermoses of tea and a delicious cake – thanks Alison!

We meet for working bees on the second Saturday of each month from 10am-12. Hope to see you for the next one on August 13.

Monday, 4 July 2011

More warm commentary from Costa

SBS gardening guru Costa opened the Albert Street garden back in early March. After hearing our news of securing Rea Lands Park as a permanent community food garden, and that it looks likely that Albert Street is going to become a permanent site for community food, Costa wrote this:
Yay DCFG. What a fantastic result. Congratulations on your efforts, initiative and vision to bring the issue of local food production/ security to the heart of your town. It is way way bigger than Daylesford now and sets a wonderful benchmark from which others across the nation can now build leverage and action in their respective local patches. I will be using your garden as a wonderful example of local action with global ramifications in my travels and talks. And it all began with a circular garden bed made from some hay bales in a vacant lt of land next to the library, the local school kids, some seedlings and the love and vision of your active locals.....All powers to you...I love it

Costa Georgiadis

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Neighbourly relations

In Gaza, organic agriculture has grown out of a concern for safe supplies of food. When Hamas took control in 2007, Israel imposed a crippling food blockade and insecurity among Gaza's 1.6 million people rose. Not only were a number of foods blocked from entering, but stocks of pesticides and fertilisers also dried up. 80% of people became reliant on food aid.

While here in Central Victoria things are not as extreme, we still have so much to learn from people who are living in other parts of the world. With energy descent, a challenge that no country will be exempt from, pesticide and fertiliser supplies will also dry up, making organic food production the norm, rather than the exception.

Recently, a contingent from DCFG bussed over to Trentham to visit their community garden.

Although Daylesford and Trentham are separated by 20km of Wombat Forest, we are united by organic gardening, and transitioning to this as the norm.

For those who live out that way, the Trentham Community Garden is located next to the train station. And for those who like to do their travelling more virtually, you can find them on Facebook here.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

A tremendous win for community, local government and transitioning communities

Last night at the not so ordinary council meeting representatives of DCFG spoke against the contentious sale of two public sites (Rea Lands Park and 33 Albert St), and for these two spaces to be long term homes for community food production.

Representatives of DCFG presented questions for council. Here's Brett Adamson delivering his.

The outcome was unanimous from councillors to support the Rea Lands Park site as a community food forest pledging to work with us and cover our insurance, and, despite a deferment on making a decision for the site at 33 Albert St (next to the library), it looks like all councillors are principally in agreement not to sell the land and allow the continuation of community food being grown there too.

This support from council is just what we've been looking for. Thank you to councillors, supportive council officers and the community for all your parts in working towards an inclusive, healthy, peak oil resilient future. Last night was truly a joyous occasion and DCFG now really feel supported by our local government.


Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Albert Street Community Garden to be sold off?

Tonight is an 'ordinary council meeting' to discuss the potential sale of the Albert Street community garden land, and to discuss the proposed Rea Lands Park community garden.

Many in the community have been working tirelessly to convince council to fully support local action to take responsibility for our food resources, and make these resources accessible, organic and free.

Brett, Pia and Fyfe did more work at the Albert Street garden last week and here is Zephyr adding his bit of carpentry know-how to their work.

Many of us believe that just because council is in debt, this doesn't justify the sale of community assets, assets that will be important for transitioning back to a local food economy. Most of the debt derives from paying bureaucrat's salaries.

Too many bureaucrats spoil the broth!

Friday, 17 June 2011

Draft design for Rea Lands Park

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The Daylesford Community Food Gardeners (DCFG) met on the 27th May and agreed in-principle that the type of food system that would be most suitable for Rea Lands Park is a tree crop garden, or food forest.

It was also agreed that Patrick Jones prepare a draft design for the site, taking on the ideas from the first design session that was led by David Holmgren, in which over thirty participants were involved (see below topographical map with notes).

Working with sustainability officer, Jill Berry, it was then agreed that this draft design be prepared for the council meeting on June 21.

The proposed garden has several main points:

1. This is a long-term food garden for the purposes of community enrichment and food security.
2. The garden constitutes heavily mulched tree crop beds to suppress weeds and conserve water. Thus it is designed to be low maintenance.
3. A large open space remains for play and other community activities.
4. Mowing is reduced and it will be requested that herbicides and any other pesticides not be used in the garden. In-kind mowing is all that is asked of council, in terms of garden maintenance.
5. No existing flora or infrastructure is to be removed.
6. No earthworks or built infrastructure is required.
7. Donations will be sought for some trees and organic materials.
8. Grants will be sought for some trees and organic materials.
9. Access to the site for people with disabilities is possible by car from the access lane.
10. Monthly working bees at the site will continue indefinitely, as they currently are at the Albert St garden.
11. We do not seek money from council, however we ask that all community gardeners be covered by council’s public liability insurance.
12. The food grown at the garden is for the purposes of feeding local families. It is not to be capitalised upon, except for the purposes of fund raising for the garden’s development.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Yemaya shares her thoughts

We have been learning about our community in social harmony. The community garden is a place that offers free food. You are welcome to go there and feed yourself. I like going there with my class. It was very fun jumping on the hay stacks and looking over the fence. I also liked creating it with Costa. Going there makes me feel so happy and joyous.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

June bee

June's working bee saw about fifteen happy food gardeners descend today on the Albert Street garden for a couple of hours under the lovely winter sun. Here's a little snapshot of the session.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

DCFG in the Courier

This article appeared in the Courier last weekend. It is an extended piece on the recent Advocate article.

Click for bigger.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Second Advocate news story

A second story has run in the Advocate this week on DCFG and the sale of Rea Lands Park.

Click for bigger.

Interestingly, Betty Rea took photographs for the Advocate newspaper in the 1970s, according to Dave Leunig and confirmed by Daylesford Museum director, David Endacott.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

At Friday night's meeting

At Friday night's meeting, in which over twenty people participated, we resolved to meet on every second Saturday of the month, from 10am - 12 noon, to continue to garden together on a more regular basis. In the summer months this would coincide with the Harvest Swapmeet.

Albert St garden (next to the library)

We also resolved to continue working on a plan for a permanent food system at Rea Lands Park, in the form of a low maintenance food forest, while continuing to grow raised-bed vegetables beside the library. Jill Berry has been reinstated as our contact in council, which is a positive step from the CEO, and bodes well for better relations between us.

Patrick spoke of the food forest model, as a longer term community resource, growing fruit and nut trees which will be mulched with underplantings of perennial vegetables, herbs and berries, a larger version of what Patrick, Meg and Zephyr created in Sydney last year:

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Today's story

Pic Adam Trafford
Today's front page story, from here.

Rea Lands Park protest
The Advocate
24 May, 2011 02:06 PM

DAYLESFORD residents held a protest on Thursday morning against the sale of one of the last public parks in Daylesford.

More than 40 people attended the peaceful protest at Rea Lands Park, which was gifted to the Daylesford community in the 1980s by long-term resident Betty Rea for specific use as a community park.

Patrick Jones, who organised Thursday's protest, said he believed Hepburn Shire Council was selling the park so the site could be used for a civic centre.

"Rea Lands Park should be left as a park out of respect for Betty. Legally, the council can probably sell in, but morally they shouldn't," Mr Jones said.

"This park is a great picnic place, the local kids play in it and mothers' groups use it as a meeting place."

Mr Jones hopes to hold talks with the Hepburn Shire Council about the possibility of re-establishing the community food garden from its temporary site near the Daylesford Library to Rea Lands Park.

Hepburn Shire Mayor Rod May said while the council was sympathetic to the community food gardeners' concerns about the park, he said their protest on Thursday was premature.

"The council has said it would look at disposing of poorly-utilised assets and the Rea Lands Park comes under that category. But at the council meeting on Tuesday, the council said it would leave the door open to consider the park for the community gardeners," Cr May said.

"There will be ongoing negotiations to see if the council finds the community garden compatible with its own direction for greater sustainability within the shire."

Friday, 20 May 2011

Thanks Jodie!

This screen grab is representative of how community is beginning to dig in. (Jodie and her family gifted top soil to the community garden at Albert street.)

The digital and microbial interplay...

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Thursday, 19 May 2011

First peaceful protest (in honour of Betty Rea)

After we discovered council was thinking about selling Rea Lands Park, and that our questions about this were refused an airing at the last council meeting, we staged our first protest yesterday.

Dharma school students, who are studying Social Justice issues this term got to work making positive placards. They were all about the generosity of a past town elder who left us an incredible gift – land for public will.

The community and the media turned out with a glimpse from the sun. The message was simple – honour the late Betty Rea's gift to the community!

We would like to work with council to develop a food garden at Rea Lands Park, but first we need a guarantee that Betty Rea's generosity will be respected and celebrated.

!!! Rea Lands Park to be sold?

After we started working with Hepburn council, building relationships with council officers and councillors, we found out that other members of council seemed to be acting against us. Annoyed by this we wrote to the CEO of Hepburn Shire Council, Kaylene Connrick, asking 4 very specific questions. We asked that these questions be raised at the next council meeting, however Kaylene Conrick refused to read them on the grounds that they were embarrassing and insulting to council officers, effectively silencing us. So here they are, now available to the public [pls nb I have omitted council officers names, except for the CEOs]:

dear kaylene,

i write so as the following questions be considered and respectfully answered by council tonight at the ordinary meeting in creswick.

1. a fortnight ago two council officers met to discuss with the daylesford community food gardeners (dcfg) potential sites for a permanent community food garden. a third officer did not show at that meeting and sent no apologies. the upshot of our meeting with the first two officers was that rea lands park was the most suitable site for this community endeavour. the third officer then submitted a recommendation completely antithetical to this position with no community consultation. as this officer is a community development officer, why then was she so actively working against community interests?

2. what has been your role, as CEO, in swaying this recommendation, working against community interests, and in taking one of the sustainability officers [who we were forming good communications with] 'off the case', just when this community group were starting to engage with council? it seems that this is a purposeful sabotaging of relations, and a negation of officers who are trying to forge good relations in the community. can you please tell us why this evidently deliberate sabotaging has occurred?

3. dcfg is a growing group of social gardeners wanting to create positive responses to climate change and energy descent with no money required from council and our insurance covered by share (sustainable hepburn...). a large scale civic centre with new council offices which requires enormous amounts of energetic and economic inputs is not essential to the well-being of the people of the shire, nor does it go any way to build resilience against ecological and energetic crises. we believe rea lands park is being sold to fund such an unimportant and costly exercise. are you recommending that rea lands park be sold to fund the new civic centre or some other council project? what is more important than food, energy and water security in our shire?

4. rea lands park was gifted to the community for community use. this park's heritage lies with the rea family, particularly betty rea, who was the community benefactor. does council not believe that morally it has an obligation to honour this generous legacy from a past elder of the town?


on behalf of dcfg

First design session Rea Lands Park, Daylesford

As we can only garden at the Albert Street garden temporarily, we have started to look for a permanent site, working with council sustainabilty officer Jill Berry and infrastructure manager Peter Reeve.

We had a good scout through the town of Daylesford looking at available sites for permanent food production. We found Rea Lands Park. Perfect site. Deep volcanic soils, North facing, protected from the south, and a site gifted by a Daylesford elder to the community in the eighties for community use.

Here is a topographical map obtained from council that Patrick Jones has added to, drawing up the suggestions made by David Holmgren and the community after the first design session.

Click for bigger.

A second celebration

National Permaculture Day celebrations at the Daylesford Community Food Garden in Albert Street (next to the library).

This event was hosted by Daylesford Community Food Gardeners (DCFG) and Hepburn Relocalisation Network (HRN).

Thanks to our friends SHARE (Sustainable Hepburn Association), Daylesford CFA, Hepburn Council and local residents for their support!

Costa brings more love (to our first action)

Our first action