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Vote For Gardening Australia!

Hello Dear Friends,

I have two bits of exciting news to share with you, which can be summed up with Costa’s (host of Gardening Australia) gorgeous smile below…

  1. After being a guest presenter on Gardening Australia since 2019, I recently became an official permanent member of their team. Oh the joy!!! This is very exciting to be part of such a stellar team and show, bringing joy and gardening skills to many.
  2. In other news, Gardening Australia has been nominated for a Logie award – Woohoo! All we need now is your vote to win! If you love gardening (who doesn’t)and the life and love it brings , vote for us here by 7:30pm, June 19th.  Thanks so much in advance!

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Getting Ready For The Australian Federal Election!

Any minute we’ll have a date for the Australian federal election.

Which means any minute we’ll know the exact day when we can take strong and meaningful action on the climate emergency.

Every election is so important, but when it comes to the climate emergency and actually acting in time to prevent runaway climate chaos, this election really, really matters. This piece is for Australian folks wondering how to make their vote as impactful as possible.

  • Quick note to all the folks who are about to come at me and say “stick to permaculture and leave politics out of it”. Thanks so much for taking the time to reach out :-)…..  The only reason I got into permaculture is because it’s about so much more than gardening. It’s based on three ethics – earth care, people care and fair share and a dozen principles that can be applied to everything from landscape management, economics, education, health and wellbeing, tools and technology, governance and the built environment. It’s a holistic design framework used to re-design a better world, not just your garden. I use it as a framework for proactive, progressive activism and for gardening/farming. So you’ll often hear me talk politics, because it’s very much part of permaculture.

Anyway – back to politics.

Here are my top 4 points to make this election really count for people and planet.

  1. Vote. Some people choose not to vote or to do a “dummy vote” because they think it doesn’t matter. But for goddess sake, Vote. And check to make sure you’re enrolled to vote. We all know it’s not perfect, but we live in a relatively functional democracy, which we can shape to be what we want.
  2. Check who your current member is and how they have been voting. Get to know who your current local member is and their track record on what they vote for. You can do this over at www.theyvoteforyou.org.au. Don’t like what you see when it comes to their stance on effective climate action? Vote. Them. Out. There’s no wriggle room here, doesn’t matter if you think they might be ok’ish cause they fund your local footy club. Local footy clubs mean sh#t when climate chaos is running rife and flooding/burning (take your pick) said footy field/club down.
  3. Remember your options. If you haven’t already, you can drop the old story that you have to choose between only the Liberal or Labor party. We’re well beyond that now. These two parties have slowly but surely “blended” far too much for my liking. And while Labor is definitely better than the Liberal party, when it comes to effective climate action they’re still far from where we need to be,  taking big money from fossil fuel companies and approving new coal mines on the reg. We cannot rely on either of them to lead us to climate justice and safety in the swift timeframe that is urgently required. Want to learn more about how insanely uncool the Australian political donation system is? Watch The Big Deal.

We have other options and we need to vote for them. 

Two clear alternatives:

  • The Greens are an obvious and well-established choice. Despite the efforts of mainstream media and the Liberal and Labor governments, they’re still here and they’re still offering some of the best leadership towards a climate just and safe world. And where they have had power (like in the ACT) they’ve done some darn good work. You can learn about their election policies here. 
  • The community minded independents. For the first time ever in Australian politics we have a coordinated movement of progressive Independents standing across the country with a shared focus on climate action, gender equality and corruption (as in stopping it). You can learn about them all over at ittakes3.com.au.

It Takes Three is a campaign being run to highlight that if we manage to vote just three of them into power (based on our current government) at this upcoming election then they’re likely to hold the balance of power and start to get some real changes made. Don’t know about you, but I reckon we should vote all of them in (plus current Independent Andrew Wilkie). 

Despite what Sky After Dark* would have you believe, these independents are NOT part of a pseudo party and answer to no one but the community. That they work together to support each other shows that these are candidates willing to collaborate for the public good. This is enormously exciting and shows a new type of politics emerging in Australia which is coming from the people, for the people. I am deeply excited and heartened by this. The origins of this new type of politics has its roots in Indi and Warringah and has community and integrity as its backbone. I really encourage you to read Australia reMADE’s two blogs on the origins here and here to deepen your understanding.

These people are our people. Intelligent, passionate, brave people who are running for politics for us, for our ecosystems, for our kid’s kid’s kid’s futures, for a fair and just society and definitely not for personal power trips.Some of the progressive Independents for us to vote for – Image from It Takes Three

4. Preferences count.

And if you can’t bring yourself to vote for a Green or an Independent, vote below the line and fill in all your preferences and place an Independent or a Greens person second and the Liberals and Nationals last. Preferences are powerful. Here’s an overview on how to vote with preferences from the last Federal election. 

Getting pragmatic.

The pragmatist in me needs to acknowledge that it’s unlikely we’ll get a Green/Independent government (my personal dream). I get it – Australia isn’t “there” yet. But you know what is incredibly possible – voting in a *minority* Labor government with progressive Independents/The Greens holding the balance of power. From where I sit, THIS is very possible and this is where we will see quicker, genuine change towards climate justice and safety. But just to be clear, I still advocate for voting for one of these progressive Independents or a member of The Greens as your number one choice.

The pragmatist in me also needs to say that this election won’t fix everything – even if we get the most progressive government in history. Climate action needs to come from top down, bottom up and sideways (basically every direction). Think grassroots community initiatives, politics, industry, the arts and media to name just a few things. This is also multi-generational work, we’re not going to solve everything in our short lifetimes –  but we can have a bloody good crack at it, making sure the next crew we hand the baton onto are in a better position than we are…

Folks, there has never been a better time to embrace the power of the collective and to remind politicians that they’re only there because we put them there.

More things

*I can’t bring myself to link to the article that Sky News did about The Independents on their program Sky After Dark with Peta Credlin. It’s complete misinformation and dangerous.

Big thanks to Dr Millie Rooney for helping me with this blog – you can follow her work here. 

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Home Harvest 2022

We’ve just wrapped up our third Home Harvest. It was so good that I’m sharing it with you here. But first, what even is it??

Funded by the City of Hobart and supported by Eat Well Tasmania and Sustainable Living Tasmania, Home Harvest is a one day self guided edible garden tour around the nipaluna/Hobart region. The key objective is to help inspire people to use the land they have to grow some of the food they need – all towards building home and community resilience. But why? Growing food has such a large range of benefits related to health and wellbeing – physically and mentally, plus an established veggie patch can also help save some money.

Jess and George in their stunning urban garden

But what I’m very interested in is helping people to strengthen their communities to be robust in the face of disruption. We’re living through the climate emergency and climate scientists are repeatedly telling us to expect increasing shocks. Spending time *now* building resilience is critical in helping to try and make these upcoming shocks less shocking. Increasing our food security by growing some food in our gardens, community spaces and on our balconies can be part of this.

Visitors wondering through Outside The Box garden

The delightful and multi-talented Dusty and Chris who I was lucky to work with on Gardening Australia – you can watch and learn more about their story here. 

Home Harvest is a joyful exploration of what’s possible in urban spaces and reminds people that cityscapes are still landscapes. It shows people what’s possible from the smallest patch to steep slopes, rental properties, community spaces and expansive backyards. This year we increased the number of gardens participating to 18 and had over 1300 people move through them in one day. We also managed to do some live stream tours through four of them which you can watch them below.

Darling Belinda in her spectacular garden

My hope is that some of you reading this will have a crack at organising a similar event in your own community. It can be wonderfully simple and be as small or as big as big as you have the energy for. It might just be you and two mates opening your gardens, or you can look for funding to make it a grand affair. The main thing I’m trying to help people realise is that doing something (anything) towards growing a better world is far better than doing nothing. I look forward to hearing about what you create in your own neighbourhoods!

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Home Harvest Host Call Out!

We’re happy to announce we’re working with Eat Well Tasmania and Sustainable Living Tasmania to hold our third annual “Home Harvest” garden tour in the Hobart region!  Special thanks to the City of Hobart for funding this great initiative.

Home Harvest is going to be a one day event on Saturday March 5th, 2022 in and around Hobart where productive gardens open their gates to invite the public in to have a look – best day ever right?! The main aim is that people are inspired to start (or continue) to grow their own food to increase local resilience and for all round general health and wellbeing.

Right now we’re doing a big callout to find more productive gardens in the Hobart municipality who’d like to be included. For more information, read on below…

Applications have now closed – the event is coming up on March 5th – you can book here!

HOST INFORMATION

To be a host you need these things:

  • A productive garden! This can be tiny, small, large or massive – there are no limitations on scale and we aim to show a large range of diverse gardens of all shapes and sizes. A productive garden can include vegetables beds, orchards, animals, compost systems – or it might be a balcony garden with one herb garden. We want them all!
  • To be in the either in, or very close to the Hobart municipality.
  • Up for a chat – they’ll be a lot of questions on the day and you’ll be required to show people around and explain what’s happening in your patch.
  • Available on March 5th for a set amount of hours. The hours you open your gate are up to you and will be clearly promoted so people only come in this time.
  • Passionate about growing food in urban spaces!
  • You can be a private garden or a community space and we wholeheartedly welcome people who are renting.
  • Your garden should be a real, productive garden – it does not have to be picture-perfect. Visitors want to learn and get inspired, and if you meet all the above criteria, your garden will be perfect as it is.

Keen? click here to sign up today!

WHAT SUPPORT DO YOU RECEIVE TO DO THIS?

  • There is a small fee to reimburse you for your time of $100.
  • We will provide you with a “Home Harvest” host sign that can be attached to your fence/gate so people know you are part of the tour and can easily find you.
  • Good Life Permaculture will organise all bookings in consultation with you so you can control how many people come and when.
  • Prior to the day we’ll drop off some free gardening resources you can hand out to visitors to help them get growing and composting.
  • Staying COVID safe: We take our communities health and wellbeing very seriously. We will drop off covid-safe information posters, visitor tracking sheets and hand sanitiser. You will need to tell us your maximum number of visitors at any given time (1 person per 2sqm is the current guideline, but you can certainly make it less).

PRIVACY

We respect your privacy and won’t publish your home address on our website. Instead, we’ll provide a brief profile of each garden on our website and a general location in Hobart (i.e. suburb). Once people book in to your garden, we’ll provide only those people with your address details in a private email.

IS HOME HARVEST FREE FOR FOLKS?

Yes, for people wanting to come along on the day there’s no charge at all.

Applications have now closed – the event is coming up on March 5th – you can book here!

Home Harvest is a partnership project between Good Life Permaculture, Eat Well Tasmania, supported by Sustainable Living Tasmania and funded by the City of Hobart.

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How To Make Nasturitum Capers

Nasturtium capers (aka poor man capers) is an easy (so easy) way for us folk in cool temperate climates to grow “pretend capers”, as the real ones need more heat than our climate can offer.

Eating local is an effective approach to tackling a range of environmental issues including food miles. Food miles tracks how many miles (or kilometres) your food’s travelled to reach your plate. The more miles, the more energy (more fossil fuels) is required in transportation. So instead of buying capers from the other side of the country or world, we make these punchy nasturtium capers – and we love them!

This is the 18th video in our Good Life For All series. I’m going to break from making these for a while over summer while I go camping, play with my daughter and garden. The occasional blog might pop up, but no promises!

PS – I had to film this mostly by myself – sorry about the sound/bumpiness etc. Good thing it doesn’t really matter :-).

More resources

  • You can also read this older blog I wrote on how to do the whole process.
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The Hot Box

When it comes to energy efficient hacks, the humble hot box is as simple as it gets.

The hot box is exactly what it sounds like, and is how you can cook quite a lot of your food after being initially heated on the stove for a short time. But why bother?

Australian households are responsible for around 20% of our country’s greenhouse gas emissions – quite significant. And while we desperately need big industry and government to lead the way in slashing emissions, we can still do our bit in our own context as well. Including in your kitchen.

Source – Your Home

To get hot boxing, bring your dish of choice to the boil – this could be rice, veggie stew, anything. Once it’s boiled, turn off the heat and place it in an insulated box where it will continue to cook in its own heat. You can then walk away and go about your own business until you’re ready to eat! I love this method as (a) you’ll never burn rice again and (b) it saves you time and (c) reduces the amount of energy you use. So many wins!

You can see a basic diagram I’ve drawn (from my book) on how it works below and can also watch the full process over here on your Good Life For All youtube series. Enjoy!

 

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Pink Pickled Eggs – Video

Back in 2014 I did a blog on how to make pink pickled eggs (so long ago!), and have recently made a little video to go with it to show the full process.

Learning how to preserve your harvest from your garden and chooks) is a key skill that will help extend your season and eliminate any waste. Making pink pickled eggs is also quite fun.

This is the 16th video in our Good Life For All series. Each Monday I’ll pop up a video to help inspire folks in building climate resilience for their homes and communities.

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6 Hacks For Easy Chook Keeping

If you’re looking to start keeping chickens, or are wanting to tweak and refine your current system, this video is for you.

I’ve summarised just six hacks which will transform you and your chicken’s lives and included some more links to other highly useful things you can do in the resources list at the end of this blog.

This is the 14th video in our Good Life For All series. Each Monday I’ll pop up a video to help inspire folks in building climate resilience for their homes and communities.

More chicken resources

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Managing Your Perennial Kale “Trees”

This week I’ve put together a little follow up video on the “Perennial Kale Trees” video I did around a month ago.  I explain how you manage the plants once they go to seed or get invaded by aphids – which happens to us all!

This little video shows you a simple way you can navigate it all and keep the plant going for a good few years. Enjoy!

This is the 13th video in our Good Life For All series. Each Monday I’ll pop up a video to help inspire folks in building climate resilience for their homes and communities.

More resources

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Edible Flowers

You may not realise that so many of the flowers in your garden can actually feature in your next meal.  In this latest Good Life For All video I take you for a stroll through our garden where I harvest and eat seven different flowers.

This is the 12th video in our Good Life For All series. Each Monday I’ll pop up a video to help inspire folks in building climate resilience for their homes and communities.

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