Category — Australia
Known for its prolific crocodiles, bird-eating spiders, and taipan snakes, Cape York, Australia is also home to Oryza sativa, the wild relative to the plant we know as rice.
Story and photographs by Lisa M. Hamilton
The California Sunday Magazine
Excerpt from Press Release
By Kat Garen
Scientists, agronomists and entrepreneurs are scouring the world to discover the secret to feeding a planet of 9 billion. The solution might lie in a little known corner of Australia—Cape York—a remote peninsula 100 miles from Papua New Guinea that’s part of the world’s greatest concentration of free-flowing rivers and extensive savanna. Known for its prolific crocodiles, bird-eating spiders, and taipan snakes, Cape York is also home to Oryza sativa, the wild relative to the plant we know as rice.
James Beard award-winning writer Lisa Hamilton traveled to this faraway corner of the world with Australian geneticist Robert Henry to uncover the secrets of rice’s wild relative, which could hold the key to feeding the world’s population:
September 3, 2015 Comments Off on Scientists wade through waist deep crocodile waters all in the name of wild rice
The urban agriculture officer role is about “sustainability, and it’s about cooling our city with vegetation”
By Clay Lucas
The Victoria Age
May 19, 2015
It is the kind of first-world problem that could only be so hotly debated within one of Melbourne’s richest, left-leaning councils: whether to continue funding a $100,000-a-year “urban agriculture officer”, to help gardens on public land flourish.
While Yarra Council considers whether it will fund an adventure playground in Fitzroy used by some of the city’s neediest children, a more heated debate is raging within over whether to cut a position encouraging guerilla gardens.
May 26, 2015 Comments Off on Melbourne, Australia residents defend ‘urban agriculture officer’ position
Residents and local councillors are divided over an “urban agriculture” plan for Melbourne’s laneways and footpaths, including the position of a part-time gardener.
By Clare Rawlinson
774 ABC Melbourne
May 13, 2015
The gardener is employed by the City of Yarra as part of council’s $100,000 urban agriculture strategy – a plan to rejuvenate disused public spaces for community gardens.
Since the strategy’s inception four years ago, councillors have persistently tried to axe it and debate is flaring again ahead of the council’s annual budget being set next week.
The draft budget has cut funding for the “urban agriculture facilitator” – a gardener who helps residents navigate council bylaws when trying to establish their own patches of urban agriculture.
May 21, 2015 Comments Off on Council gardener at centre of ‘urban agriculture’ debate in Melbourne, Australia’s inner north
Sydney Mayor building a $1.65 million ‘city farm’ for inner-west hipsters — complete with stingless bees and a ‘bee hotel’
“The benefits reach well beyond the commercial value of the food itself to educational, cultural and social values for participants and the broader community.”
By Miles Godfrey
The Daily Telegraph
May 12, 2015
The farm, which should have a 100-tree fruit orchard, 1000 square metres of land for crops, chicken hutches, outdoor kitchens, farmers’ markets and animal husbandry classes, is expected to be running by July 2016 and could mirror a similar “urban farm” in lower Manhattan’s Battery Park.
The Sydney project has been on the cards since 2009 and will produce an estimated 4.5 tonnes of fruit and vegetables per year, host composting demonstrations and cooking classes.
May 11, 2015 Comments Off on Sydney Mayor building a $1.65 million ‘city farm’ for inner-west hipsters — complete with stingless bees and a ‘bee hotel’
She is developing a template for a rooftop farming licence agreement that will set out the terms, roles and responsibilities of all parties involved in rooftop food production.
By Robin Powell
Sydney Morning Herald
February 17, 2015
The UTS study compared three types of gardens on the roof of three campus buildings. Vegetables and herbs were grown in a raised bed, a vertical garden and a wicking bed. (A wicking bed waters plants from below through a capillary action that draws water from a reservoir in the base of the container. The soil is separated from the water by a layer of geotextile fabric, and the plant roots take up moisture as needed. The reservoir means that watering – the most labour-intensive aspect of container-gardening – is reduced from every second day to about once a week.)
February 19, 2015 Comments Off on Australia: Rooftops offer a viable and sustainable space for growing edible produce
A little explored environmental gain in Sydney is the retrofit of roofs for urban food production.
By Associate Professor Sara J Wilkinson & Lindsay Page
Faculty of Design Architecture and Built Environment, UTS, Australia
There are environmental, economic and social benefits of retrofitting rooftops on city buildings for food production. Environmental benefits include lower carbon food miles, potential reductions in building related operational carbon emissions, reductions in the urban heat island, increases in bio-diversity and reductions in storm-water run-off. Economically, the benefits are reduced roof maintenance costs, lower running costs and direct access to fresh food. Thirdly the social or community gains are the creation of spaces where people can engage in growing food. Psychological and therapeutic gains accrue when people engage with natural environments. However there are barriers which include perceptions of greater risk of building leaks, high costs of installation and maintenance, and access and security issues.
February 19, 2015 Comments Off on Exploring The Potential For Urban Food Production On Sydney’s Rooftops.
A total of 37 smials, or Hobbit holes, nestled within the bucolic countryside
Dec 29, 2014
The vivid descriptions of the peaceful, merry, and diminutive Hobbits in J.R.R. Tolkien’s books have been brought to life through the magic of both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movie trilogies directed by New Zealander Peter Jackson. Situated within the picturesque 1,250 acre Alexander sheep farm on New Zealand’s North Island, the 12-acre Hobbiton™ Movie Set represents Tolkien’s vision of the idyllic Middle-earth village of the Shire.
January 2, 2015 Comments Off on Hobbiton Movie Set – Hobbit Green Roofs in New Zealand
Agricultural land on the fringes of our major cities is some of the most productive in the country, but urban encroachment is putting it at risk
Producer Cathy Pryor
Nov 26, 2014
Wayne Shields’ farm has been in his family since the 1970s, when his father first bought the fertile patch of land on the Mornington Peninsula to Melbourne’s east. In those days, the Peninsula was a quiet rural retreat from city life, frequented by holiday makers making a pilgrimage to the coast.
Forty years later, 30 per cent of the Mornington Peninsula is classified as urban and the boundary of metropolitan Melbourne is only 500 metres from the Shields farm.
November 27, 2014 Comments Off on Australia: Urban fringe agriculture under threat
Julian Cribb, the former CSIRO scientist and author of the books, Poisoned Planet and The Coming Famine, shared his thoughts at the 29th International Horticultural Congress (IHC) in Brisbane.
4000 delegates from more than 100 countries, the largest horticulture gathering in Australia this year, heard the message
By Ashley Walmsley
19 Aug, 2014
“The city itself is poised to change. Green cities alive with vegetation, fresh food, birds and insects will replace the polluted, soulless, concrete and glass urbanscapes of today,” he said.
Giant floating greenhouses and translucent vertical urban farms were just two ideas touted by Mr Cribb. He said by 2050, urban horticulture and farming could provide half the world’s food.
“They will ensure a highly diverse, local food supply that never fails,” Mr Cribb said.
August 19, 2014 Comments Off on “Urban farms key to hunger” says keynote speaker at 29th International Horticultural Congress
“Money can be the cause of a lot of problems in any kind of marriage, but in farming the money comes in fairly infrequently.”
By Lucie Bell
July 21, 2014
In Everything A Woman Needs To Know Before She Marries A Farmer, Joyce has compiled an A to Z collection of advice on topics which may be unfamiliar to women coming from a city background.
“It’s not like marrying a plumber, or a carpenter or a lawyer in the city, it comes with baggage.
“I thought there were a lot of pitfalls that women like me can find out about later, that can cause a lot of tears and can actually put a stress on the relationship.
July 29, 2014 Comments Off on A city girl’s guide to marrying a farmer
Brisbane City Council has closed the Northey Street City Farm ahead of its huge Winter Solstice celebrations on Saturday after finding asbestos.
The Australian News
June 20, 2014
Mr Copeman said without prior notice, council shut down 3.5 acres of the site with fencing after the discovery of demolition waste, including asbestos and possibly heavy metals.
The discovery was made during a BCC inspection related to an approved development of a picnic shed on the site; Mr Copeman said NSCF was cooperating with BCC in the investigation and management of the demolition waste.
June 30, 2014 Comments Off on Asbestos discovery at Northey Street City Farm, Brisbane, Australia
Experts believe now is the time to ‘draw the line’ and put in place permanent city boundaries to protect farms that could become increasingly important as climate change takes hold.
by Cathy Pryor
June 6, 2014
Wayne Shields’s farm has been in his family since the 1970s when his father first bought the fertile patch of land on the Mornington Peninsula to Melbourne’s east. In those days the Peninsula was a quiet rural retreat from city life, frequented by holiday makers on a pilgrimage to the coast.
Forty years later, thirty per cent of the Mornington Peninsula is classified as urban and the boundary to metropolitan Melbourne is only 500 metres from the Shields’s farm. While the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council is working hard to protect the agriculture it still has, the Shields’s organic farm now co-exists with its suburban neighbours.
June 13, 2014 Comments Off on Urban fringe agriculture under threat in Australia
The Agrarian Kitchen is situated in a 19th century schoolhouse at Lachlan, 45 minutes from Hobart in Tasmania’s Derwent Valley, Australia.
The Agrarian Kitchen grows and uses heirloom varieties of fruit, vegetables and rare breed animals in its cooking classes
Rodney Dunn and Séverine Demanet
Excerpt from web site:
The Agrarian Kitchen’s growing areas have been hewn from grazing paddock, securely fenced and tirelessly tilled to create a 500 square metre vegetable garden, an extensive berry patch and orchard.
The vegetable garden was first tilled by our own Wessex saddleback pigs to remove stubborn perennial weeds before being formed into beds. Paths are constructed of mulched tree trimmings from the property and lined with stones from our front paddock. The garden has been designed by local gardener and journalist, Paul Healy. The garden is now tended by our Gardening Team, Lee Farrell, Jethro Havenhand, Fin Fagan and Rodney Dunn using organic principles without the use of pesticides or artificial fertilisers. The garden is predominately planted with heirloom varieties and we are always on the look out for the old and interesting and are constantly experimenting with varieties, saving our own seeds where possible of the varieties that perform the best in our conditions, for example, at last count there have been over two hundred varieties of tomato.
March 26, 2014 Comments Off on Paddock-to-plate farm-based Tasmanian cooking school
The Circle Of Hops
One half of Make Beer is beer rep Steven Germain (above right with We Make Beer partner in crime Dan). At his home, he has 12 hop plants that he will be harvesting this weekend. His intention was always to create a fresh hop beer with them and, in part inspired by the fact he may not have enough flowers to do a 100 litre batch justice and also by a desire to launch a community project, he decided it would be even more fun if said beer featured hops grown by other people in their respective backyards.
March 12, 2014 Comments Off on Melbourne Australia’s Community Hop Ale
A Brisbane primary school is achieving improved learning outcomes, after turning classrooms into a kitchen and creating an extensive vegetable garden.
Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden at Ashgrove State School
The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden (SAKG) program is a dynamic curriculum program for children in year 3 to year 7. The program instills in children the values of growing their own produce and utilising this produce to cook healthy delicious meals. Children learn many valuable life skills through their participation in the program.
March 11, 2014 Comments Off on A Brisbane, Australia primary school has a kitchen garden