Open Day Sunday August 31, plus way too much other good stuff to fit in this small space...
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Food Forest woodlot

Food Forest News: August 2014

Welcome to the Food Forest E-newsletter: it's about self reliance, new design tricks and good things that are happening in our community. If you received the newsletter you may well be subscribed… but if not, subscribe via our website.

Upcoming events 

  • Open Day: Sun August 31
    Strawbale Building Info Session: 10am - 1pm
    Permaculture Walk & Talk: 2pm - 5pm

Upcoming workshops

  • National Workshop on Carobs and Jujubes: Sept 4
  • Sustainable House Design: Sept 28
  • Building with Strawbales: Oct 11-12
  • Introduction to Permaculture: Oct 25
  • Organic Vegetables & Free-Range Poultry: Oct 26
  • Permaculture Design Certificate: April 22-26, May 8-10 & 23-24, 2015
Open Day

Open Day - Sunday 31st April

We look forward to welcoming you to our patch of the beautiful Adelaide Plain and the gorgeous Gawler River.

The Day starts with a morning session on building with straw bales, and features a builder, an architect and an engineer who specialise in strawbale construction to lead visitors around our display buildings.

In the afternoon, Permaculture design will be explained and visitors will learn about drought-hardy orchards, organic gardening, food self-sufficiency, how to keep chooks in the suburbs and other sustainable living tricks.

The address is: 
80 Clifford Rd, Hillier. Details about times, cost, what to expect etc, are on our website.
Carob and Jujube workshop

Ancient species ready for climate change
Carob beans and Jujubes workshop September 4

Primary Industry and Regions SA is to sponsor a public workshop in conjunction with Carobs Australia in Adelaide on Sept 4 (9.45am-4pm) for landholders, food industry personnel, chefs and keen fruit growers to hear the latest information about growing and processing from world experts and to discuss industry prospects.

World-renowned carob expert Joan Tous (pictured above) will speak at the upcoming workshop.

These ancient species have been identified as a key future food species for Australia. Over a million dollars has been invested by farmers and research institutions across Australia in recent years to devise technology to unlock the potential of the tree, brought to our country by early settlers for agroforestry and ornamental use. Meanwhile advanced propagation techniques have enabled the commercial production of Jujube (also known as Chinese date) for which growing local and export markets exist.
Both species grow in relatively low rainfall areas, are tolerant of saline water and require very modest chill hours, so can dodge the effects of global warming which is already upsetting the flowering of many tree crops in Southern Australia.
cosy cottage rainwater tank

Rainwater Tank action as El Nino threatens

WWOOFer Rob Harris used some ingenuity and load straps to build this elevated stand to provide pressurised rainwater to Cosy Cottage. It worked like a treat. Meanwhile the homestead has been bolstered by the addition of a second 22 kilolitre tank which makes the home 99% water-secure.

verandah with transparent polycarbonate sheetsLet there be light!

Dark rooms lead to the habit of turning on lights and wasting power so the homestead's southern verandah has been fitted with transparent polycarbonate sheets above doorways and windows, allowing natural light to flood into the old home.

Returning to the coop

Young food-forester Tom Brookman has completed a PhD in Climatology and returned to SA from NZ, with fiance Abby Young, to take up a position in natural resource management.
compost spreaders

Compost time!

The Food Forest sends up to half a tonne of value-added products off the property each fortnight (mainly to Adelaide via the Farmers Market), so there needs to be a return of the nutrients lost in order to retain fertility in our soil. We have just had our annual compost spreading on the orchards and balance the nutrient cycle by using composted green and food waste from the city. This is done to certified organic standards by Peats Soils and Jeffries Garden Supplies just west of Gawler. Local contractor Alan McKenzie has a specialised compact tractor-spreader which can even fit between vineyard rows. Using compost over some years we have increased soil carbon from 0.7% to 3.6%.

pruned grape vinesPreparing for extremes

We are finished pruning and hard on its heels comes propagation. We are expanding our planting of grapes as a hardy and highly productive species capable of producing remarkable crops on modest rainfall.

Varieties that we'll be planting more of are extreme high temperature tolerant varieties like Mataro, Vermentino, and Fiano but not forgetting Shiraz, Tempranillo and Chenin blanc that have shown a fair degree of tolerance to recent heat waves.

Australia's own permaculture magazine 'Pip'

Don't forget to subscribe to this terrific new publication. It is published twice a year and is available at select retail outlets and available online at It is also available digitally. The second issue is due out soon.

If you have a brilliant idea for an article or great pix contact from Robyn Rosenfeldt. Phone: 0408375991 Email:

totally wild filming at the food forestTotally Wild at The Food Forest

If you or your kids are addicted to Channel 10's 'Totally Wild' you may have been devastated to have missed SA presenter Shamus' visit to our farm. He gorged himself on apples, disgraced himself with olives and was wild about carob. Thank goodness for archives... you can watch it now here. The segment at The Food Forest is 17:30 minutes in if you want to move the tab to avoid crocodiles and other scary creatures.
stinging nettle

No spinach? Try nettle pie!

The stinging nettles are growing well this time of the year and are full of fantastic minerals and vitamins. When you blanch stinging nettles in boiling water for a minute they not only lose their sting, but de-leafing the stem is then painless and the leaves retain their colour.

Our Afghan friends also use the 'weed' marshmallow as a leaf vegie.
string grid for modelling

Knowing where you really are when 3D modelling!

This ingenious string grid was devised by Justin Scott (yes, an engineer) to be able to exactly situate the existing and future elements on the 3D model of his permaculture farm. The wooden model could also have won a prize in any model-making or sculpture competition!

Marketus interruptus


farmers market produce

Alas we are approaching the time of the beloved Royal Adelaide Show (the biggest crowd SA produces each year) and the Farmers Market needs to move aside briefly. We will be at the showground for the market on August 24th but won't return till September 21st. Some of the usual market stalls will have sites within the Show but many of us take our annual holidays (along with our gardens that are at their most unproductive levels for the year as we move from winter species to summer species)... and don't complain - our American counterparts close their farmers markets for three months or more!

Note that we'll be selling fresh produce at our Open Day on August 31st! Market member discounts apply.

Strawbale Building Symposium: Friday 5th to Sunday 7th Sept

strawbale symposiumAn international conference on building with strawbales is to be hosted by AUSBALE in Adelaide, Friday 5th to Sunday 7th September 2014. Join overseas, interstate and local presenters covering a variety of sustainable and strawbale building techniques in a purpose-built strawbale church hall in Ferryden Park, Adelaide.

A big programme of presentations will be capped-off with a tour of strawbale buildings on the Sunday.

See and the Ausbale Facebook page for more details.
Contact: Lance Kairl: | 08 8555 4223.
Gawler River revegetation

Woody weed jungle tamed

Last month 200 metres of the riparian alluvial flood flat of the Gawler River was cleared of a giant woody weed infestation (African Boxthorn, Prickly Pear, Peppercorn, plus California Burr and Castor Oil plants) by contractors and volunteers and quickly stabilised with a cover crop before significant flows came down the river. Some 200 tyres were recovered, including a monster tyre weighing in at quarter of a tonne, all of which have been recycled. The new parkland has a complete canopy of existing Red River gums and will be progressively revegetated with locally indigenous species by our local community group GRRR.

glass of red wineFine wine bargain

We have a number of cases of our 2013 Gawler River Merlot available at only $100. Support the repair of our river in a most enjoyable manner!

Orders can be picked up at the farmers market or drop offs to Adelaide may be possible. Please email orders/enquiries to
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