Tag Archives: urban

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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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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Made by Hand

Made by Hand is a new short film series produced in Brooklyn, New York, celebrating, in the words of the creators, that “which is made locally, sustainably, and with a love for craft.” It’s a thoughtful, beautifully assembled series, the first piece a portrait of Brad Eastabrooke, of Breucklen Distilling Company, and the second, shown above, a piece on writer-turned-artisan-knife-maker Joel Bukiewicz of Cut Brooklyn. The films are inspiring, and offer insights into the nature of craft, the value of objects well made, and the kinds of communities that spring up around and in support of good, honest crafts.

See the full series at Made by Hand.

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Edible cities: communities and councils transform their streets

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.

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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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How to make fennel cordial

After acquiring a copy of Lynda Brown’s The Preserving Book, Jeremy promptly developed a rigorous program of regular DIY preserving workshops, hosted by our very own contender for South Australia’s smallest kitchen. (Despite its size, our kitchen’s generosity of spirit, if not space, seems infinite, with successful cheese-making workshops as well as daily cooking duties completed with cosyness and ease).

With a parade of syrups, cider, champagnes and cordials, the DIY Preserving Autodidactory program has been largely successful, although not always in the direction intended. Adapting one recipe for mint cordial, Jeremy also brought a selection of other herbs (fennel, lemon verbena) to test in the same proportions as the mint. The highlight, even better than the original mint, was fennel: sweet, punchy and ever-fresh.

Finished, homemade herbal cordials, complete with labels courtesy of Giles

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