The Little Veggie Patch Co are good at getting people growing! Their approach is based on doable ideas , a straight forward approach and then upcycling where they can. They have approached gardening in a very visual way. Their book, the 1-Minute Gardening is a photo book with text which gives you tips and ideas. I was lucky enough to get a copy of it as a present for the Christmas before last. The main point to this video is you can grow vegetables anywhere. You do not need a huge amount of space. In one of my homes I was growing veggies in the wall box on the front patio while I was setting up a big veggie patch in the back garden. In my current home I am rejuvenating my veggie patch and growing some veggies and herbs in pots . Parsley grows around my back garden. It’s green, attractive and can make a nice pot plant! I like to have fresh herbs and I like to have fresh vegetables. I have mixed success with the vegetables but I never give up. I grow silverbeet and potatoes because they always work and fresh potatoes are lovely. Grow what you can because even if you don’t immediately become successful it is a very relaxing activity and gets you outside. There is a lot of evidence now that gardening has a good impact on your health and wellbeing.
I was reading an article about a woman living in a Berlin apartment who is keeping bees. We do have a bee crisis and I know that Europe has different programmes to encourage back yard people to become beekeepers. Keeping them in an apartment block sounds very daring to me. I love bees and am concerned their numbers are dwindling but I understand it better now. Farms have basically become uni crop – just corn or just wheat or just lentils. Then farmers tend to use sprays which do not help the bees and are killing them. The farmers are dealing with difficult weather conditions and are doing what they can to stop their crops from being destroyed by pests or fungal diseases. If Europe can do it, we can do it. I loved watching that video. It is clever and inspiring and you can see that a back yard bee keeping exercise has turned into a business. It is well thought out and the level of care is obvious. There is also someone locally who provides honey from a back yard bee keeping establishment. I don’t know whether it’s good to keep back yard bees or not. I am going to find out. I wouldn’t want it to be a danger to myself, pets, children, people. Maybe I won’t be keeping bees. Maybe I can help someone? My plan for the new year to to find out what is offered locally by way of bee keeping courses. I then plan to find out where we have our local bee keeping people. It’s the sort of thing which could become a community project so that no one has the weight of carrying all those bees. I don’t know. I am creating a plan and then I am going to follow it through because it is not about me. It is all about the bees.
Mildred Walker was a very well credentialed writer who was also a creative writing teacher who dies at the age of 93 in Oregon. Her novel is about Montana where she had lived for a long time. There is no sex, no drugs , no violence and no drama. It’s a slice of life and about Montana. It held me captive for the whole time I was reading it because it was so sane and normal. It was about a young girl growing into a young woman who was discovering what love meant and who was living her life in Montana. You come to understand the rhythm of life in Montana in 1941 and you get to be a part of that life as you read the book. You can see and feel the change of seasons. You come to love the farm and the slow lifestyle. People are living rather than being entertained, stimulated or diverted. They are battling the elements and relishing the small things in life. It is such a contrast to how we are living now. The descriptions are vivid and the experiences are very real. It is not ramped up, artificial or confected. It’s life and the descriptions allow a full appreciation of the experiences in a place like Montana just before WWII. I loved being an invited guest there.
The Living Smart program started in Western Australia and has been well loved and well endorsed. It has made a difference to how people perceive sustainability and the environment. It has managed to allow people to see that working together as a community preserves an environment for the future as well as allowing an opportunity to live in a healthier more welcoming environment. There is a disconnect between the people who just want to make their money and run and those who want to be part of a growth mindset which enables us to live healthily and well on this planet for generations to come. The short term , quick reward approach is hard to counter since people find it very hard to resist riches and money. It is also really hard when working conditions make it so hard for you to relax and have free time. You just want to survive and follow the path of least resistance which largely means ignoring your footprint on the earth. Living Smart has allowed people to take a step back and get rid of the fear and procrastination and just do: find out that networking and being with others is how you manage some of it, if not all of it. We now have this course in South Australia at McLaren Vale, Unley and Glenelg. I have been lucky enough to be in the McLaren Vale course and already I can see I am in a room full of people with ideas, experience, a nice way of being and that invaluable attribute of enthusiasm. It’s that enthusiasm which forges a positive road forward in terms of sustainability and the environment. It’s not an alternative. It is. It is, because you can see and implement the options and find a way of doing that so that others can do it. I grew up in an Australia which cared about the land and knew so much about natural environments. We were then submerged in suburbs but that connection with the land is unstoppable. It is now burgeoning as ecoburbia.