The Australian City Farms & Community Gardens Network held their 6th national gathering, Food 4 Thought, in Hobart on the weekend. Over 150 people gathered from around Australia to this sold out event. And it was good, really good. We, at Good Life Permaculture, volunteered our time to help organise it and had an absolute blast bringing people together from every state and territory to talk, think and do all things urban agriculture.

The overall theme for the event was “exploring meaningful livelihoods in urban agriculture” as we’re particularly interested in establishing a culture which embraces this form of small-scale farming as a very real opportunity to play a significant role in our food system which can feed people, lots of people.

To share some of the absolute joy we had over the weekend, here are some happy snaps of priceless moments…

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James Da Costa, Charlie Mgee and Bridget Stewart: these guys make straw bales look HOT

That wide eyed man in the middle is Charlie Mgee from the Formidable Vegetable Sound System. We brought him over from Perth, W.A to play his incredibly dance-able permaculture music… and also to help move straw bales with some of the organising crew – at 7:30am – what a legend.

name tags

Because the crew didn’t already have enough to do (I’m being sarcastic here) we made everyone their own special name tag, just for that extra special touch.

crowd farming

To show how amazing and significant urban food production is, we ran a crowd farming campaign to help feed around 180 people over the weekend and received an enormous amount of homegrown produce from urban vegie patches and market gardens, including this impressive haul Cara and Fin delivered from the Agrarian Kitchen. All up we estimate that 50% of the fresh food was crowd farmed – brilliant!

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Our amazing cooks from Source Community Wholefoods turned all this crowd farming produce into delicious and nutritious tukka – like these roast vegies; there sure were a lot of happy bellies walking around.

2014-03-23 11.34.06With a jam packed program of highly talented professionals from all around Australia, people were kept busy and engaged with workshops such as how to grow perfect onions (above). Below you can also see Costa and Anton (the other half of Good Life Permaculture) teaching folk how to build a no-dig garden.

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group work

We also made sure there was a lot of space for sharing and connecting. Time for people to tell their stories, hear about one another’s experiences and ultimately, develop meaningful networks – which is absolutely gold.

ACFCGN board

Amongst everything, the Australian City Farms & Community Gardens Network held their AGM and elected a new board and supporting members for this coming year. Here you can see them looking mighty fine, keep an eye on this lot, I anticipate great things from them .

1384223_10152374119069319_322913476_n We’re not sure how these two ever got separated at birth, but we’re sure glad they’re together now. Costa and Charlie Mgee = serious amounts of fun. It’s amazing how beers and Mountain Pepper’s organic woodfired pizzas bring the best out of people on a crisp Autumn evening in Hobart.

calvin n heart

And THEN, while Charlie Mgee was rocking the dance floor, Calvin the carrot arrived from Darwin and proceeded to steal the show. Courtesy of Emily and Lauchie, Calvin has now officially moved to Hobart and is living with us… in a suitcase, so you’ll be seeing him around town every now and then.

food4thoughtteam

L-R: Fiona Campbell, Lissa Villeneuve (standing), me (sitting), Bridget Stewart, Costa Georgiadis, Gudrun Wells (standing), Nel Smit (standing), James Da Costa (standing), Margaret Steadman (sitting). Photo by Russ Grayson.

Us – the organising crew (plus Costa), happy and FULL after a weekend of work and awesomeness.

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Costa and Bonnie Wykman from Black Earth Collective

And then? Well, then we went to to the pub, as you do when you have dear friends visiting from afar. We laughed, yarned and tried to wind down, and totally failed :-).

For us, working on projects like Food 4 Thought is incredibly important. We see it as an investment in our community and future, helping to develop a culture of vibrancy, proactiveness and¬†progressiveness.¬† Bringing people together is one of the more powerful things you can do to create a resilient and effective network across our big country. I’m looking forward to witnessing the ripple effects Food 4 Thought has created as people return to their homes and start or continue their great work in establishing urban agriculture as a meaningful and real part of Australia’s food system – yeah!