Greenhorns: 50 dispatches from the New Farmers’ Movement
Edited by Zoë Ida Bradbury, Severine von Tscharner Fleming and Paula Manalo
Published by Storey Publishing
A few years ago, a young graduate and aspiring farmer with the spectacular name of Severine von Tscharner Fleming began profiling new American farmers. What began as a documentary film project has, in the ensuing years, grown into a thriving network with the mission of recruiting, promoting and supporting a new generation of agrarians. Drawing on the diversity of their members, the Greenhorns network utilises “avant-garde programming, video, audio, web content, publications, events, and art projects that increase the odds for success and enhance the profile and social lives of America’s young farmers.”
North America, like Australia, has an aging farming population. As a majority of farmers drift into their late 50s and early 60s, the absence of a new generation of aspiring farmers taking on the responsibility of food production has furrowed brows in farmers’ organisations for some years. The recruitment of “millions of rough and ready protagonists of place to care for our ecosystems and serve our country healthy food”, a “critical meeting of minds, bodies, and land”, forms the foundation for the Greenhorns work, it is not just a new crop of farmers they seek. Rather, it is the transformation of the food system into one that nourishes communities through a model of farming that is ecologically sound, locally-focussed and small(er)-scale.
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.
With the coldest Adelaide winter in years, now is the time to get quilting. Friends of the Earth is making a quilt to illustrate and celebrate the many visions of a just and sustainable food system, and we would love your contribution!
Like a landscape that feeds its community from a patchwork of farms and wild places, the quilt highlights the diversity of ideas, strategies and projects that make up a sustainable food system, and when completed will be exhibited, used to teach about the food system we need, and may even be entered in the Royal Adelaide Show!
Wherever you are, we invite you to embroider, print, patch, appliqué, sew, stitch your vision for a just and sustainable food system. It might be:
- something specific (like worm farms, or compost bins, or fruit trees planted in the streets, or rooftop gardens, or farmers’ markets, or heirloom seeds);
- or general (like stronger communities, or thriving local economies, or diverse polycultural farms, or food sovereignty, or fair trade);
- or a project you’re already involved with.
Use pictures, use words, use whatever you like (provided it can all be sewn together in the end!
Squares should be 30cm x 30 cm, with a 3 cm border all the way around (so the area for your image is 24 x 24 cm). Feel free to use your own fabric, or contact us if you would like to be sent fabric to get you started.
Submissions are due Friday 20 January 2011, but sooner is always welcome. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a message at (08) 8211 6872 to register your interest.
Lillipillies: the unsung tucker of the 'burbs
Winter brings with it lillipilli trees heavy with fruit. Footpaths and roads are buried beneath the purple fruit, and trees in parks and streets shiver heavily with the berries. An indigenous food plant of tropical and subtropical Australia, despite their ubiquity here in Adelaide, lillipillies (Syzygium sp.) still seem to transform many faces into a mask of terror when they see others popping the shiny berries into their mouth. Their arrival at winter Urban Orchards has provoked plenty of discussion – from participants incredulous that they’re edible at all, to the reminisces of participants who have spent time in South East Asia and who are reminded of forgotten tropical fruits with every crisp, subtle bite.
Following one particular Urban Orchard, I came home with a shopping bag full of lillipillies, gleaned from the South parklands. I’d remembered that Vic Cherikoff’s Bushfood Handbook contained some super-retro lillipilly concoction, and I was keen to expand my experience of this under utilised semi-wild food.
The fruit ices in their improvised moulds, the left one has the cling wrap in place
For Christmas, Soph and I got Pete and Shani some rocket-shaped ice-block moulds, however, the modern permie-improviser doesn’t require moulds to discover the pleasures of frozen breakfasts, particularly when temperatures keep on climbing. My parent’s peach tree has been under attack by carpophilus beetles, so I came home with a bag of peaches drilled and half-mushed by the fiendish little invertebrates.
Filed under diy, food, gardening