On the 8th of December we attended the annual Milkwood Permaculture open day at their farm near Mudgee, NSW. We’ve been following Milkwood Farm’s exploits on the web for years and had decided to sign up for the Milkwood beekeeping course in November. We were really sad something came up and we had to cancel. So it was great to finally get there and see it all in action.
Mudgee and surrounds has some great foodie spots, so it wasn’t a hard decision to make a long weekend of it and enjoy some of the region’s delights. We stayed around 30 minutes away from Milkwood and the drive to the farm provided a perfect example for why permaculture is important. We were shocked as we drove through a barren landscape suffering from intensive overgrazing. It was the typical strip cleared landscape, littered with erosion gullies and any remaining trees were dead or dying. You could see there was nothing but a layer of dust on top of the rocky ground and any water would run straight off. It really got us thinking deeply about the principles of permaculture before we arrived at the farm. Driving in to Milkwood you sensed something was different. Tracts of green highlighted what, elsewhere, was dry, barren landscape.
The day started at the ‘Woolshed’ with a couple of presentations explaining permaculture, what Milkwood is and does and their food philosophy. Around the Woolshed we were shown Milkwood’s rocket stove powered showers, seed ball making, mini forest garden, composting toilets, erosion management, kitchen garden and worm farms. The Woolshed was also host to the amazing eating experience we had throughout the day. Read More
We were lucky enough to visit Roogulli, in Bywong, during their open day for the open gardens Australia program. Roogulli is an amazing property being restored using permaculture principles and emphasizing sustainability. It was great to see all the principles we are learning about and trying to achieve in our little garden on a large scale. Here’s some photos and if you want more info on Roogulli you can find it at the Fresh Landscape Design webpage.
Well, we’ve been a little slack over the last couple of weeks, but I’ve been playing with my camera. Here’s a couple of photos from our kitchen garden.
More updates coming soon…
It’s been a while since we’ve updated you on the progress of our little forest garden. It’s coming along and we’ve been doing a lot of planting. A lot of work is also going into the eternal fight with the grass. We don’t want to use a synthetic weed mat, but it seems the grass has survived under the cardboard and mulch. With the recent heat it has pushed itself through and seems to be thriving in the environment we have made for it. So we are back to the drawing board on keeping it at bay…
Over the last two weekends, as well as mowing and fighting the grass in the forest, we have been busy planting. We’ve planted Tansy, Raspberry, Blueberry, Lemon Balm, Rhubarb, Lavender and some ground cover Thyme. (Thanks to the Urban Homesteading Club – Canberra for donating some of these!). Many of our fruit trees and bushes are flowering as well.
Next weekend will probably be more of the same, although less planting and more fighting grass. It’ll be a lot easier when we finally have a house and can live here… We’ll update you on our kitchen garden soon!
Last Saturday David and I went on a ‘date’ without our baby William for the first time in almost a year. Actually, it was better than a date! It was a fantastic dinner and panel discussion hosted by the Mulloon Institute at Mulloon Creek Farm on ‘Food – the Art of Health.’ The inspiring and fascinating panel included: Read More
This week’s links are a juicy selection of topical subjects, sink your teeth into them!
Genes and Gut Bugs
The Assembly of an Infant Gut Microbiome Framed Against Healthy Human Adults – This is a fascinating short video depicting 3D model growth patterns of human gut microbes from a new born human birthed vaginally to 3 years of age. This is the newest frontier in human health and wellness. Look after your microbes!
On Wednesday the 3rd October I was pleased to attend the Sustainability Learning Community‘s annual ‘Great Green Debate’ at the Australian National University. This year’s topic was a contentious one. Distinguished panel guests were invited to address the topic, ‘Should Coal Seam Gas play a larger role in Australia’s energy future?’
Pinch and a punch for the first day of the month, we hope you had a fabulous long weekend! This week we focus on food security and genetically modified food. We hope you get impassioned by the challenges and inspired by the potential.
Food Security In Spotlight – Until we have a nationally endorsed food plan that takes into account the concerns and interests of all Australians there should be a moratorium on the sale of national food, water and environmental assets to foreign investors.
Vanishing Horticulture – Despite the government’s insistence that we have a ‘strong and resilient’ food system and that we should be focusing our food production efforts on Becoming Asia’s food bowl, we are far from food secure and rapidly losing our food production assets.
The Right to Food and Nutrition Watch 2012 – The gross inequality in our food systems, loss of land and water ownership to multinational corporations, environmental pollution, hegemonic control over food production and distribution…. it’s not only a developing world problem, it is happening in Australia…. Occupy our food system! Get involved in the People’s Food Plan! http://australian.foodsovereigntyalliance.org/
Myths About Industrial Agriculture – This is an excellent article in Al Jazeera by one of the heroes of the fair food movement, Dr. Vandana Shiva. We need to take note and get involved in supporting a more sustainable, equitable and holistic food system. “Industrial agriculture is an inefficient and wasteful system which is chemical intensive, fossil fuel intensive and capital intensive. It destroys nature’s capital on the one hand and society’s capital on the other, by displacing small farms and destroying health.”
Genetically Modified Food
Scientists Warm on CSIRO GM Wheat Threat – What is the CSIRO thinking??? Why is the government allowing these trials to happen without proper testing. The risk to human health and our environment is huge, for what purpose? To line the pockets of greedy multinational corporations!
Safe Food Foundation Media Release – Another article on the dangers of GM crops and the need for stronger regulations, more stringent and rigorous testing and banning of GM. The risks to our health, the environment and the resilience/sustainability of our farming communities is too high.
Diet and Health
Diet and Disease: What’s the Link? – Now I am really excited about going to the Mulloon Institute’s event “Food – The Art of Health” next weekend. This article highlights what an interesting line up of speakers/panelists will be there and its all happening in a wonderful setting with delicious food. See you there!
Welcome to another Monday Link Heaven. There’s some great food for thought so enjoy.
Here we go, as promised, Monday Link Heaven on a Monday! Enjoy!
Food, Health and Human Evolution
Are Organic Foods Safer or Healthier Than Conventional Produce – Claims are being made in the media that organic is no better than conventionally grown produce based on a recent study stating there is no difference in nutritional values between organic and conventional produce. But that is not the only reason to be eating organic.
New Junk Science Study Dismisses Nutritional Value of Organic Food – Following on from my previous link about media headlines claiming that organic is no better for you than conventional produce, this article explains how false and misleading these claims are.
Alzheimer’s Could Be the Most Catastrophic Impact of Junk Food – George Monbiot is a respected commentator on health, food and agricultural issues. He highlights the growing body of research that is linking Alzheimer’s disease to our ‘modern’ diets. In fact, Alzheimer’s is being considered Type III Diabetes due to its connection to insulin dysfunction. I do disagree with Monbiot’s blanket defamation of fats. Fat from ‘clean’ sources is very important for our health. It is the processed, fake and rancid fats present in ‘modern’ foods that cause problems.
Modern Day Wheat is a ‘Chronic Poison’ Says Doctor – Another article on the dangers of wheat. This time the finger is pointed at modern wheat, manipulated and bred in the 60s and 70s to contain higher levels of gluten and gliadin (an opiate), and able to produce greater yields (albeit it with a heavier reliance on pesticides, fungicides, herbicides and fertilisers).
Food and Politics
Confronting Corporate Power in the Food System – This is a well written and important article for all of you who care about what you eat and the farmers who grow it. Please read and contact the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance to see how you can become involved in the People’s Food Plan.