Edible Backyards

07 Aug 2008

Rising food prices and the increased desire for locally produced, organic food are believed to be responsible for an increasing number of urban Australians turning their quarter-acre blocks, courtyards and balconies to food producing areas, with nurseries noting a significant rise in demand for vegetable and fruit bearing plants.

Some nurseries have experienced an increased demand of more than 30 percent for vegetable seedlings, fruit trees and berries. ‘There’s been an increase in the popularity of dwarf fruiting trees …obviously for people who have smaller areas and aren’t out in rural places,’ said Joe Caren, a nursery owner in Hobart.

Around the country, projects have been initiated which are fostering and supporting this growth in urban food production. Last Sunday August 3, a Melbourne based collective celebrated their fiftieth permablitz – a day in which people come together to volunteer their time to create an edible garden in someone’s suburban yard, tearing up lawn and planting an organic food garden planned by a permaculture designer.

Initiated in 2006, the phenomenon is gaining momentum and spreading to cities around Australia and New Zealand. Once having assisted a few times, volunteers have the opportunity to organize a garden makeover at their own home. Each blitzed household has at least one pre-working bee design visit, and several follow up visits to support them in caring for their new garden.

Earlier this year, Slow Food Blue Mountains embarked on one of its most ambitious projects to date: A Kitchen Garden in Every Blue Mountains Home, which aims for majority of residents in the region to be growing their own leafy green vegetables (as a minimum) by 2011.

The convivium has also created a fruit tree register of the region, mapping the location of fruit trees on private and public land throughout the Blue Mountains, so that surplus/unwanted fruit can be shared, and to enable jam-makers, preservers and bakers to find fruit which may otherwise go to waste.


More Information:

Bess Mucke
[email protected]

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