Introduction to Permaculture Workshop this Sunday 10th November, city farming, Heckle and Jekyll take off their jumpers, a visit from SA Premier Jay Weatherill and two geese equals a sheep.

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Food Forest News: November 8th 2013

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.

Introduction to Permaculture short course this Sunday 10th November

Permacuture design is being used more and more to provide efficient solutions to your need for sustainable housing, water and food. Applicable at the micro-scale of a tiny energy efficient cottage to the survival of huge refugee camps, the recovery of dying cities and the rejuvenation of traditional farms, it relies on 3 sensible ethics and 12 design principles. After a day of concentrated training you will be able to apply it in your home and employment. For many people it is a life-changing experience, empowering them to really do something to help put human occupation of the planet on a more stable footing.

Sustainable success

The Food Forest took the honours for the Barossa Regional Food Award last week in a glittering ceremony at Chateau Tanunda. The pint-sized permaculture property near Gawler was up against national icons such as Maggie Beer Products but the unique on-site processing of pistachios, the complete recycling of of green by-products as compost to go back into the pistachio growing cycle and the fully audited organic status of the business attracted the judges. 
Annemarie and Graham Brookman had put huge effort into finding and building medium-scale pistachio processing equipment such that processing can be established in growing regions around Australia, with the aim that by-products remain on farms and jobs are created locally. They journeyed to Sicily to find the jewel in the crown of pistachio processing, a small machine that opens nuts that have no natural split and frees the bright green kernel, much to the delight of chefs and bakers who frequent the Adelaide Showground Farmers Market, where The Food Forest sells its produce.
Graham said that small scale food systems embedded in communities were important for sustainability and food security. ‘Such self resilience builds local capacity, a vital strategy in permaculture design’ he said.

A short film about the Brookmans’ quest to build Australia’s complete processing system can be seen on YouTube.

Farming in the city

A new farm is arising in suburban Mitchell Park, Adelaide, and is run by Steven, Nat and Brett, three young urban farmers with a passion for fresh, local and sustainable produce. ‘Wagtail Farm’ comes from the name of a busy, insectivorous bird and the productivity of the houseblock sized garden suits the name perfectly.The team grows a range of vegetables, with an emphasis on delicious, colourful salads, Asian greens and fresh herbs that are sold to local markets, food co-ops, friends, and passers-by!
See What’s selling

Time to take of off your jumper!!

Heckle and Jekyll have decided that summer is on the way and are steadily rubbing their winter coats off on handy trees (you can see them in their former woolly glory in our August newsletter)! It is all part of the annual rhythm for Wiltshire sheep, who strip down for summer and grow woolly coats for winter. The local birds have been delighted to have the fibre for building structurally sound nests. 

Willy Wagtails launch pest offensive

Meanwhile at The Food Forest just one of the resident pairs of Willy Wags has built a super-strong nest made from woven fibres (including wool!) in a pistachio tree and has raised 4 hungry, fast growing babies. From laying to hatching is only 14 days and 2 weeks later they take flight to catch their own insects.

Claudia’s case study

A recent WWOOFer from Barcelona, Spain, worked on the Food Forest to complete her Master in Organic Agriculture at the University of Barcelona, using the farm as a major case study. She chatted to SA Premier Jay Weatherill about organic farming and similarities between SA and parts of Spain during his recent visit to the property.

Species number 85

For the first time White Winged Trillers (Lalage sueurii) have come to spend summer at The Food Forest. The chatty little birds have come down from the north to nest and obviously find our newly restored woodland area along the river to their liking. They seem to be much keener on devouring caterpillars than eating fruit, one of the downsides of their common cousins, the Black Hooded Cuckoo Shrikes. (Photo courtesy Frank Atkinson)
(Picture above is a model of the Food Forest by Tom Davies)

Being an Exemplar

The planet needs millions of good examples of sustainable design, to both show skeptics and enthusiasts how attainable environmentally responsible living can be, in every corner of the planet. Over the last few months The Food Forest has been visited by the SA State Premier Jay Weatherill, Minister of Agriculture & Regional Devlopment Gail Gago, Minister for Communities and Social Inclusion Tony Piccolo, and the judging panel for the State Food Awards.
The Food Forest team has been refining its productive species, its building techniques and its environmental restoration methods for 25 years and has welcomed thousands of visitors from all over the World to share what we have learned. It takes persistence but the payoff is accelerating. No longer is it a few friendly radicals that drop by. Whole schools now visit the property, universities have long requested guest lectures and tours but now the law makers are nibbling. 
It is great to stand up and be counted; it may start by explaining your wicking bed to friends and neighbours or talking to your Council about the potential for a community garden… it all counts! 

Geese - the ultimate grazers

Two geese equals one sheep in terms of grazing power but whilst some people regard geese essentially as small sheep with feathers, geese particularly appreciate ‘waddle access’ to fresh water.

Access to water approximately every 400 metres in our punishing summers is desirable if you want them to graze a farm evenly. Whilst a sheep trough will keep them alive the ideal construction is one that they can easily waddle into for a splash. Bathing helps them keep clean and to then have successful mating. A stock trough with ramps in and out avoids leg damage. One must also think of tiny goslings’ access to water; they physically can’t get into a normal stock trough. A creep waterer is ideal for them using a plastic poultry waterer within a shaded ‘cage’ which stops adult birds gaining access but allows the gosling to wander in and out.
PS Congratulations to Angela (PDC 2013) on the birth of 10 goslings from her 3 Food Forest Pilgrim geese.
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