Tag Archives: foraging

A new adventure: Trees, Bees & Cheese

In November 2012, Sophie, Asher and I finalised our acquisition of just under 50 acres near Second Valley, on South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula. This comes after a number of years looking for land, weighing the merits of buying and dreaming of a regenerative, permaculture-based small farm. It’s an exciting adventure, and the process of our developing relationship with this patch of ground is now being documented at the blog Trees, Bees and Cheese. We invite you to check it out.

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Free box: growing vegies with salvaged materials

Newly planted seedlings in the salvaged vegie bed.

Living in a rented house, we’ve been slowly, subtly expanding the reach of our potted garden over the under-utilised spaces of the strata. Sophie recently spotted a broken produce crate in hard rubbish, and we thought it was time to set-up a herb and leafies bed in a sunny corner.

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Upcycling Pallets: the urban timber source

I’m a long-time admirer of pallets and am regularly delighted by the possibilities they offer for reuse and transformation into other useful objects once their life as a pallet is ended. Likewise, I’m often surprised by the quality of the timber used. I’ve used a red cedar pallet to make a light-weight bike crate, and a couple of years ago used another pallets to bang out an extremely rustic stool. I’ve been pondering some other pallet-based carpentry projects, and have gathered together some inspiration below. It’s especially exciting to see some craftspeople using rough-hewn materials with such elegance. The examples of intelligent reuse are seemingly inexhaustible, so I’ll update this post whenever I have the time and energy!

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Upcycling pallets: how to make a bike crate

Sophie's Belleville, with finished crate affixed

Since Sophie purchased her snazzy new bike, a three-speed, step-through ladies’ Trek Belleville, replete with racks on the front and back, she’s been in need of a receptacle to make those racks all the more user-friendly.

This seemed like a perfect opportunity to hone my fledgling carpentry skills as well as implement my passion for upcycling. Some time ago, I’d spied a pallet abandoned outside a shop at the end of our street. The soft, silvery wood looked to me like red cedar, so partner-in-craft Jeremy and I returned later to collect it. Lightweight and easy to work, a bike crate sounded like the perfect use for such fine timber!

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From Plagues to Plate: Eating locusts and grasshoppers

Grasshoppers kick back on the warrigal, Glandore Community Garden

The air around our legs clattered with the tumbling bodies of locusts, their gleaming translucent wings bursting outwards as they hop through the grass. While at our urban community garden plot grasshopper populations have been noticeably high, in the browning stubble of paddocks on the eastern side of the Adelaide Hills the numbers still indicate the population spike that comes from good rains and plenty to eat. Indeed, with the recent plague, there’s been a surge in discussion about the possibilities of eating those that feast on our farms. Walking through these farms on a Sunday afternoon, I was reminded of the description of John the Baptist, as a gentleman who “wore clothing of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey” (Mark 1:6).

While that introduction alone is enough to get John invited to headline a permaculture skillshare, the Judeo-Christian tradition has further references to hopping cuisine. Articulating the ancient Hebrew holy laws regarding food, the Old Testament book of Leviticus reminds the faithful that there are “some winged creatures that walk on all fours that you may eat, those that have jointed legs for hopping on the ground. Of these you may eat any kind of locust, katydid, cricket or grasshopper. But all other winged creatures that have four legs you are to detest” (Leviticus 11:21-23).

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Urban Orchard DVD now available!


DVD copies of
An Urban Orchard have now completely sold out (thanks, enthusiastic community food advocates!) However, the complete film will shortly be available for free viewing and download online. Stay tuned!

“A delightful film that highlights the power of everyday people to effect positive change. A must see for anyone interested in securing a food future for their community.”
– Phil Dudman, Landshare Australia

Tracing the history of food gathering and production on the Adelaide Plains, from the Kaurna Aboriginal nation to present day backyard gardens, An Urban Orchard is a celebration of growing and sharing good food.

In the inner southern suburbs of the city of Adelaide, South Australia, local residents meet to share the bounty of their backyards. Around the table of the ‘Urban Orchard’ produce exchange, people from diverse backgrounds share their knowledge of food production and preparation. While deceptively simple, the exchange is a rich opportunity for building community, reducing waste and powerful element in emerging local food systems, where the talk is more often of ‘food metres’ than ‘food miles’.

Focussing on the emergence of homegrown fruit and vegetable exchanges, the film follows the journeys of local gardeners involved in the exchange and offers inspiration for other communities to build more just, sustainable and local food systems in their neighbourhoods.

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Edible weeds: chickweed, mallow, sow thistle, plantain and nettle

This article is adapted from a segment Joel did on Radio Adelaide‘s Gastronaut.

Foraging for nettles, Maude Island Farm, Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, Canada

With healthy winter rains on the Adelaide Plains, neglected corners have once again been swallowed beneath a green tide. In a segment earlier this year, I presented a handful of the last edible weeds standing midway through an Adelaide summer. The cooler months bring with them a wealth of unsolicited edibles in the form of chickweed, mallows, plantain, nettles, thistles, and others. (In fact, almost all of these were the most prolific plants in the nature strip outside my house).

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