This is an edited version of a presentation Joel gave at the City of Unley’s Sustainable Garden Design seminar in late 2010.
New and creative approaches to growing food are germinating in communities all over the world. These approaches demonstrate that the benefits of sustainable food growing can reach far beyond the act of gardening. Some build community or aim to improve health, while others address issues of food security or offer strategies for building sustainable local economies, and some are a combination of all of these. In many cities, grassroots food projects are strengthened by the support of visionary local governments.
Many important community food initiatives, like food co-ops, farmers’ markets, community-supported agriculture and school and community gardens are now familiar and are established as important components of the movement for local, community-based food. However in backyards and street-corners other, sometimes less visible, strategies are also contributing to the transformation of our cities.
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.
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.