Jeez, it is hard to believe we have ended up at this time of the year already! I have to admit I am exhausted and by the sounds around the sticks so are a lot of you. So I think I am going to start wrapping up the year, have some downtime and start planning out the 2019 season! I haven’t had a day off since beginning this journey 3 years ago and am feeling in need a of a refreshing beverage while reading a book maybe even with the sounds of flowing water.
What an absolute whopper of year it has been in all reality, we really had to dig deep this year and do a bit of soul searching to see how much this whole small-scale regenerative agriculture would fit into our future. I am glad we did, as an old saying I like to tell myself goes ‘you can only appreciate the peak of the mountain when it is viewed from the depth of valley’. I think in the heat of the moment, when the body and mind are exhausted the only answer seems to be to give up, and in my honest opinion that is how we have ended in this predicament of a period. Where the information on our world and populace is an ever increasing barrage to the senses and the feeling of despair due to an inability to collaborate and create feasible change has become the icy depths of the Marianas Trench. Well hopefully we will all be able to change that!
I am finishing off a book that I have been developing over the past 2 and a half years. I am hoping that it will be a companion in the backyard and give the confidence to all those who read it to go out and start creating effective ecological changes in their own backyards. I believe that if we are able to all give each other a helping hand and pat on the back the wheels of change become one we can embrace rather than fear.
We have also nearly finished work on the conceptual design for the Food Connect Vertical Gardens! This has been a momentous effort and has been a project which has really stretched the educational and experiential understandings we had on what it means to incorporate gardens in the city. We wanted it to be a soil based unit which still captures and facilitates the natural processes found within open environments and design it in a modular way which would allow anybody with some basic wood working skills to start incorporating natural environments in a multitude of city spaces. We might be able to see some development begin next year if they accept the concept and if not then it will be an absolute pleasure to see people incorporate city changing designs on their balconies, walls, industrial precincts and every other bland concrete monolith that could benefit from a bit of ‘Green Graffiti’.
- This year we had 680m2 under cultivation, we sold 1017.6kg of produce to you! The best locavores in Brisbane, it is people like yourselves who are creating the future platform of ethical consumption through being conscious of your spending habits.
- We sold produce for 51 weeks of the year.
- We completed all the market garden work with hand tools, no machinery was employed this year within the plots.
- We completed all the harvest and preparation of the produce by hand. The only thing not completed by hand was delivering the produce by car.
- There was no petroleum used in our production this year!
- The Health Mix appears to be a well loved salad! This makes me incredibly happy 🙂 with a whopping 270kgs eaten by our local community!
- I was a full-time farmer and stay at home dad for the entire year.
- My wife was my biggest supporter. She reentered the workforce this year and has kept our family and the farm going forward. It would be highly likely that we wouldn’t be operating at any sort of capacity without the sacrifices she has made.
- Our local fair food distribution hub, Food Connect, managed to crowd fund through the community $2.2 million dollars to buy their warehouse and continue creating major changes to our local food system. That is massive! As a community we stood up and took back a small section of our community commons, a slice of our food system!!
- We began our business to business composting initiative with Food Connect and have composted 240L of food waste destined for landfill.
- 1% of our organic waste was disposed of offsite, 99% was reincorporated back into our soil 🙂
- Our onsite inputs from organic fertilizers have reduced by 55%.
- Our onsite inputs from onsite ferments, brews and teas have increased by 200%.
- Our yield through winter got up to 3.2kg per m2 an increase of 45% on last year.
- Our yields through summer are around 2.2kg per m2, an increase of 60% on last summer.
- Our onsite waste at the start of the year was averaging 25% and we are now down to an average of 11%.
- We have developed a weekly ordering and production system which has been one of the core foundations to reducing our weekly waste.
- Our onsite topsoil growth is nearing 7-10cm, this has been one of the core foundations to increasing and maintaining weekly yields.
- We had our first bumper fruit harvest of nectarines, mulberries, bananas and passionfruit from the orchard and had our first resident fruit bat live under the fruit nets and eat its daily fill, much to Eli’s delight. We also had our first pears, apples and mangoes.
- The website section Eat Your Yard www.naturecycle.com.au/eat-your-yard/ has become a base platform to begin the journey of becoming a Market Gardener
- The blog www.naturecycle.com.au/wordpress has become an interactive space among the wider world community! It has been a great confidence building platform and I look forward to delving into some deeper conversations next year.
- A special mention and big thank you to my wife’s parents, Sam and Elle, for allowing us to have a market garden on their property. Who without none of this would have happened.
- A special mention and big thank you to the community members who consistently supported our market garden, sending us photos of your dazzling kitchen delights and bountiful backyards.
- A special mention and big thank you to the Ipswich Good Food Group for all your support and for being our local food cooperative. Just through the Ipswich Good Food Group we have managed to put nearly 400kgs of produce through the Ipswich community since our relationship first blossomed!
- A special mention and big thank you to all the team at Food Connect, who despite having a constantly full plate, always share in the abundance of information and community. We now have a platform of confidence and data to rely on thanks to the collaborative relationship we have been able to grow!
So thank you, all of you! I am looking forward to cracking a refreshing beverage and reminiscing on the year past and planning for the year ahead. Viva!