Sometimes it’s good to step into another climate and see what foods love that bio-region. Last week a young man said to me that he would love to see permaculture theory put into practice. Now we have great opportunity to see what 40 years of permaculture in practice can do.
The Southern Highlands NSW has mature sites showcasing many key permaculture strategies such as water and frost management, solar windows, greenhouses, specialist plants, community gardens, raised wicking beds, animal husbandry and more. The Southern Highland permaculture elders who will greet us are David and Anne Johnson, Peter Lach-Newinsky, Jill Cockram, Mossvale Community Garden, Judith and Paul Collins and Jo Dodd of QAF.
Water and Frost Management
The surface water management at Earth Keepers is impressive. They have built mounded gardens on rock-bed with meandering paths that turn into gentle water-courses in times of heavy rain. Each site also offers good examples of the use of the concept of solar windows. The gardens are designed to optimise sunlight in winter by the use of deciduous trees. And they have shaded rest areas for escape from heat in summer.
Retrofitting the Suburbs in Practice
The Quarter Acre Farm is situated on a suburban house block in Mittagong, NSW The property has been converted from a lawn desert into an abundant, diverse, ornamedible landscape over the past 13 years, by Joanne Dodd. Ecological design and practices are used to produce a range of crops, including out-of-the-ordinary vegetables such as skirret, yacon, waterchestnuts, and Chinese artichokes (Crosne). A variety of edible flowers, edible ‘weeds’, herbs and fruits are also grown, many of which are gifted in an informal bartering arrangement to two of the best restaurants in the Southern Highlands. The property also showcases repurposed materials in unique and functional ways.
Arts in the Orchards
Peter Lach-Newinsky constructs poetry as he tends his rare-fruits orchard with more than a Total of c. 260 varieties of fruit and nut (on c. 56 species/genus of trees).
Here is a snippet from one of his poems:
.……your hundred trees laid out
like a harem of hermaphrodites pruned open
to bees, wasps, frosts, the daily dose
of hydrogen bomb that lights & burns us
with tough love as we grow & die & eat
David and Anne Johnson sing and play. A colourful lifestyle thrives in these permaculture gardens.
Read more and book here to join the Grand Permaculture Tour.