Blitz #14 – Farmers by Choice

The Farmers by Choice blitz has probably been our biggest blitz to date – the site is huge and sloped, and it was an ambitious project. It was also one of our most rewarding blitzes! The Farmers by Choice crew (Luke, Marina, David and Nathan) have taken a piece of land that many would deem unusable and turned it into a productive and innovative example of sustainable food production. Blitz day, while epic in scale, went smoothly and the community really enjoyed being part of bringing this space to fruition!

Here are some reflections from Luke about the day (photos to come):

“What a day the permablitz was! We had about 60 people helping on the day. The energy and feeling of working together to achieve something great was awesome.

A permablitz is a massive undertaking but the permablitz crew made it achievable. We had the first site visit 3 or 4 months before the day, where the crew went through what we wanted to achieve, what they thought was realistic for the day, as well as some great design ideas we could incorporate.

Shortly after this they came up with a design for the site. From this there was a list of which jobs would be tackled on the day, and a complete list of materials required for each job (very handy).

We then set about getting all materials on-site, and moving them to where they were to be used. This was a big job (start about a month before) and a bit expensive compared to doing things slowly where you can wait until you get materials for free or someone’s giving them away etc. But what it costs in materials you save with the extra wo/manpower on the day.

Catering also had to be organised, and ingredients purchased before the blitz. We were lucky to find a great volunteer to cook for our day (thanks Julie). The food on the day was amazing.

The day itself ran very smoothly thanks to the organisation from the permablitz crew. They did an awesome job of facilitating so that everyone young and old was able to contribute and feel a part of the day. Thankfully a fire pit / social area was included in the design and finished on the day, so everyone was able to sit back for a relaxing beer after a day of hard work.

In terms of looking after it after the blitz, our situation is a bit different to most as there’s a full time gardener on site. Because of this most things were able to be maintained after the blitz, or completed if they weren’t on the day.

18 months on from the blitz:

-the fox proof chicken fencing hasn’t allowed any foxes in (touch wood)
-the fire pit has seen some great fires, cookups and gatherings
-the chinampa has withstood a couple of good floods and is producing lots of healthy veg
-the tyre retaining walls for the aquaponics tanks are still solid and holding the tanks in place
-the citrus grove swales are working well in capturing water (though the citrus still aren’t thriving due to shade and competition from nearby hoop pine)
-we harvested lots of good veg from the beds in the front yard, those though it was then neglected for a while but is in better shape now

To summarise – it was an expensive day with a lot of prep work, but it’s a day we absolutely loved and wouldnt trade, that saved months of work. We still reminisce about the day.

We are so thankful to the permablitz the gong crew for organisation, support and facilitation of the day. Bringing people together to build soil, grow food, create habitat, and learn valuable skills – this is truly honourable work they do, and they give their time doing it for free.

Farmers by Choice”

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Eating the suburbs, one backyard at a time!

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