Apr 302016
 
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About Seasonal Food Guide Australia

Seasonal Food Guide Australia was started in 2010 to help Australians buy fresh produce from their local region more easily.

Seasonal Produce Guides

Our seasonal produce guides tell you what fruits and vegetables are in season around Australia at different times of the year. There are seasonal produce guides for the five major capitals in Australia.

Visit now and you can subscribe seasonalfoodguide.com

 Posted by at 1:15 pm
Dec 072013
 

permablitz.net Melbourne

Permablitz (noun): An informal gathering involving a day on which a group of at least two people come together to achieve the following:

  • create or add to edible gardens where someone lives
  • share skills related to permaculture and sustainable living
  • build community networks
  • have fun

Permablitzes are free events, open to the public, with free workshops, shared food, where you get some exercise and have a wonderful time.  To be defined as a permablitz each event must also be preceded by a permaculture design by a designer with a Permaculture Design Certificate.  The network runs on reciprocity, and in order to qualify for a permablitz you usually need to come to some first, although there can be exceptions in this case.  We’ll explain more about all these ideas below.

 

 Posted by at 3:52 pm
Dec 072013
 

permablitzsydney website

Permablitz Defined

Permablitz (noun): An informal gathering involving a day on which a group of at least two people come together to achieve the following:

  • create or add to edible gardens where someone lives
  • share skills related to permaculture and sustainable living
  • build community networks
  • have fun

Permablitzes are free events, open to the public, with free workshops, shared food, where you get some exercise and have a wonderful time.  To be defined as a permablitz each event must also be preceded by a permaculture design by a designer with a Permaculture Design Certificate.  The network runs on reciprocity, and in order to qualify for a permablitz you usually need to come to some first, although there can be exceptions in this case.  We’ll explain more about all these ideas below.

The permablitz story

Permablitzes began in 2006 in Melbourne’s outer eastern suburbs as a collaboration between Permaculture designer Dan Palmer and friends and a South American community group. Rather than retell the story we suggest you check out Asha Bee’s article and Katherine Kizilos’ excellent article for The Age newspaper. As of Mid 2011 over 100 permablitzes have been held in and around Melbourne, and others have been held in Sydney, Adelaide, Alice Springs, Darwin, Canberra, Tasmania, Bega, the Sunshine Coast, California, Montreal, Istanbul and Uganda.

 Posted by at 3:49 pm
Aug 202013
 

We need nature in our lives more than ever today, and as more of us are living in cities it must be urban nature. Biophilic Cities are cities that contain abundant nature; they are cities that care about, seek to protect, restore and grow this nature, and that strive to foster deep connections and daily contact with the natural world. Nature is not something optional, but absolutely essential to living a happy, healthy and meaningful life. This site is devoted to understanding how cities can become more biophilic, more full of nature, and to telling the stories of the places and people working to creatively build these urban-nature connections.

Biophilic Cities: What are they?

Biophilia is a term popularized by Harvard University myrmecologist and conservationist E.O. Wilson to describe the extent to which humans are hard-wired to need connection with nature and other forms of life. More specifically, Wilson describes it this way: “Biophilia…is the innately emotional affiliation of human beings to other living organisms. Innate means hereditary and hence part of ultimate human nature.” (Wilson, 1993, p.31). To Wilson biophia is really a “complex of learning rules” developed over thousands of years of evolution and human-environment interaction.

Evidence of the emotional and psychological benefits of nature is mounting and impressive (research shows its ability to reduce stress, to aid recovery from illness, to enhance cognitive skills and academic performance, to aid in moderating the effects of ADHD, autism and other child illnesses). Recent research suggests even that we are more generous in the presence of nature; all these values are in addition to the immense economic value of the ecological services provided by natural systems.

Support for the practice of biophilic design has been growing and there are now many exemplary examples of buildings that seek to integrate natural features and qualities. We recognize the need for biophilic workplaces, for healing gardens and spaces in hospitals, and for homes and apartments that provide abundant daylight, natural ventilation, plants and greenery. Less attention, however, has been focused on the city or urban scale, despite the fact that the planet continues an inexorable trend in the direction of urbanization. Urban residents need nature more than ever, and much work is needed to find creative and effective means for incorporating it into urban environments.

It is likely that the benefits of close contact with nature are deeper and even more profound, and the potential to make a difference by integrating nature directly into our lives, even greater than we realize. Nature ought not to be an afterthought, and ought not to only be viewed in terms of the (considerable to be sure) functional benefits typically provided (benefits of trees, green rooftops, wetlands for managing stormwater, for mediating air and water pollutants, for addressing urban heat island effects, and so on). The elements of a deeper concept of integrating nature into everyday living include a recognition of some of the following:

Important Ties to Place. There are considerable place-strengthening benefits and place-commitments that derive from knowledge of local nature; from direct personal contact; enhanced knowledge, and deeper connections = greater stewardship, and willingness to take personal actions on behalf of place and home;

Connections and Connectedness. Caring for place and environment, essential for human wellbeing and in turn essential ingredient in caring for each other;

A Need for Wonder and Awe in Our Lives. Nature has the potential to amaze us, stimulate us, propel us forward to want to learn more and understand more fully our world; Nature adds a kind of wonder value to our lives unlike almost anything else;

Meaningful Lives Require Nature. The qualities of wonder and fascination, the ability to nurture deep personal connection and involvement, visceral engagement in something larger than and outside oneself, offer the potential for meaning in life few other things can provide;

Urbanists and city planners have special opportunities and unique obligations to advance biophilic city design, utilizing a variety of strategies and tools, applied on a number of geographical and governmental scales. The agenda is one that must extend beyond conventional urban parks, and beyond building-centric green design. It is about redefining the very essence of cities as places of wild and restorative nature, from rooftops to roadways to riverfronts. It is about understanding cities as places that already harbor much nature and places that can become, through bold vision and persistent practice, even greener and richer in the nature they contain.

What a biophilic city is or could be is an open question, and it is hoped that this website will help to stimulate discussion of this. As a tentative starting point I offer some of the following as key qualities of biophilic cities:

  • Biophilic cities are cities of abundant nature in close proximity to large numbers of urbanites; biophilic cities are biodiverse cities, that value, protect and actively restore this biodiversity; biophilic cities are green and growing cities, organic and natureful;
  • In biophilic cities, residents feel a deep affinity with the unique flora, fauna and fungi found there, and with the climate, topography, and other special qualities of place and environment that serve to define the urban home; In biophilic cities citizens can easily recognize common species of trees, flowers, insects and birds (and in turn care deeply about them);
  • Biophilic cities are cities that provide abundant opportunities to be outside and to enjoy nature through strolling, hiking, bicycling, exploring; biophilic cities nudge us to spend more time amongst the trees, birds and sunlight.
  • Biophilic cities are rich multisensory environments, the where the sounds of nature (and other sensory experiences) are as appreciated as much as the visual or ocular experience; biophilic cities celebrate natural forms, shapes, and materials;
  • Biophilic cities place importance on education about nature and biodiversity, and on providing many and varied opportunities to learn about and directly experience nature; In biophilic cities there are many opportunities to join with others in learning about, enjoying, deeply connecting with, and helping to steward over nature, whether though a nature club, organized hikes, camping in city parks, or volunteering for nature restoration projects.
  • Biophilic cities invest in the social and physical infrastructure that helps to bring urbanites in closer connection and understanding of nature, whether through natural history museums, wildlife centers, school-based nature initiatives, or parks and recreation programs and projects, among many others;
  • Biophilic cities are globally responsible cities that recognize the importance of actions to limit the impact of resource use on nature and biodiversity beyond their urban borders; biophilic cities take steps to actively support the conservation global nature;

These are but a few of the ways a city might be seen as biophilic. What do you think? Are there other ways, and other important qualities or dimensions not listed above?

Check out Tim Beatley’s Imagining Biophilic Cities for more.

 Posted by at 10:49 am
Jul 192012
 

Australia’s Open Garden Scheme

What is Open Gardens Australia?
Open Gardens Australia is a not-for-profit organisation that opens private gardens and organises garden-themed events for public enjoyment around the country.

Our aim is to promote the enjoyment, knowledge, and benefits of gardens and gardening in the Australian community, and to build strong public support for the development of gardens across the nation.

Established in 1987 as Victoria’s Open Garden Scheme, our path to national expansion occurred over a period of two decades, with the final territory being added in 2000, when we truly became Australia’s Open Garden Scheme.

From 2011, the organisation has been renamed Open Gardens Australia, to better reflect the nature of our role as the premier national body opening private gardens to the public, rather than our operational framework (ie. Scheme).

What sort of gardens open?
We open private gardens of every size, style and description. Old and young, large and small, from inner city courtyards to grand country estates, from tropical gardens to the more traditional gardens of the temperate south.

Where are they?
We open gardens right across Australia. There are gardens open in every state and territory..

 Posted by at 9:30 pm