Tag Archives: sustainability

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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Book review: Greenhorns

 

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.

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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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Permies make passata

In the inner southern suburbs of Adelaide, a small group of permaculturalists have been gathering to experiment with artisanal food skills. From cheese-making to sourdough, they’ve been exploring and sharing the skills that make good food. To herald the end of summer, we sourced 180kg of tomatoes from local farmer’s markets and had a go at making passata. A 15-hour food preservation epic, our kitchens are now lined with long-necks filled with crushed tomatoes. This film is a little something I shot amid the spraying tomatoes and bubbling barrels.

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Filed under adventures, chickens, children, community, diy, food, gardening

Tools, tools, tools

I’ve been a bit of a sucker for old, hand-powered tools and utensils for a while. At every opportunity, I’ve snapped up rotary egg-beaters and mincers from secondhand shops, and my souvenirs from a trip to West Africa were a sickle and a machete, purchased from tool sellers in the Bamako markets.

Liberty Tools, profiled in the video above is a kind of paradise for those who are excited by mysterious, rusty objects, and in the last couple of weeks, I’ve come upon some other, local vendors for tools. If you’re in Adelaide, check out:

Bakker-Burke
49 Torrens Road, Bowden SA 5007
0417 885 571
Mon-Fri 10.00am-5.00pm
A very impressive collection of old farm and shed tools, as well as kitchen utensils. I was particularly delighted by the presence of scythes, sickles and a comprehensive cross-section of egg-beaters.

Cross Road Collectables
441 Cross Road, Edwardstown SA 5039
Mon-Sat 9.00am-5.00pm
Sun 11.00am-3.00pm
Woah. This place is astonishing, with an array of antiques, tools and kitchen utensils overflowing from the shopfront and spreading, tsunami-like, through the house, the backyard, the carport, the shed. If you like mincers as much as I do, then this place is for you, together with vintage beer bottles, old LPs, comics, saws, soldering irons, souvenir beer steins, you name it really.

Stop By Op Shop
Church of the Trinity, 318 Goodwood Road, Clarence Park SA 5034
Tues-Friday 9.30am-3.30pm
Stop By is conveniently located in a cluster of secondhand and antique shops on Goodwood Road, and while it has a modest collection of goodies, the volunteers are delightful and seem determined to extract as little cash as possible from customers. They’ve recently been receiving tools, and local tradies have already started getting in on the action, regularly checking in for $1.00 chisels and more. Also have great kitchenware and oodles of baby gear. The Salvos have a giant shop across the road too.

There are more, and I’ll share any other discoveries as I come upon them – feel free to share some of your own too!

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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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