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.

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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.

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