Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Eudlo Food Co-operative

Following the overwhelming interest in creating a community food co-operative we've been busily working behind the scenes to make it happen.

In June we will hold a get together and invite all the people who have already expressed interest - and anyone else who is interested to come along.

We'll kick start the ordering and explain how it will all work. We'll start with non-perishables, dried and canned goods, all organic and as local as possible.

Keep an eye on this blog for details of exactly when and where the Eudlo Food Co-op event will be.

Also, mark Sunday June 14 in your diary. That's the date of the Eudlo Winter Market - again at the Town Hall. We'll be there with fresh produce, plants, food, lots of information about what's happening and all things Transition Town.

Transition Town Eudlo

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Seedy Sundays Set to Take Off!

Welcome to Seedy Sundays - an idea shamelessly ripped off from the good people of Transition Towns UK, and it's probably one of the most important things we can do for the future.

Seedy Sundays are when people get together and bring seeds from their gardens, cuttings, plants, produce etc and swap them with each other.

Why is this so important?

Seed saving is probably one of the most important skills you can learn. For many years many of us have relied on buying our organic, non-hybrid open-pollinated seed from places like Green Harvest. But this may be changing in the near future. Now lots more people are wanting to grow their own food and they are also now turning to organic seed suppliers for stock.

But if we all keep just buying our seeds without replenishing the capital of our seed banks we will only continue to go into deficit - something we can not afford to do.

So being able to seed save means - we can replenish what we take out of the system, we can continue to support organic seed suppliers and savers and even help them maintain and increase their stock supplies.

We can grow true to type, heirloom, organic, real food in our own gardens. We can save our seeds and not be beholden to any non-organic (chemical) based seed company who modify their seeds to be infertile so we CAN'T save seeds (they want us to go back year after year to buy their latest varieties - not be self-reliant and grow and save our own).

So we have to get seed saving out their in the community, and it sits perfectly with Transition Towns.

The idea is to promote a time and place where we can all meet and encourage people to bring their seed from their garden, we can sit around and process the seed together then share it back among ourselves. This also increases the genetic diversity of the stock.

What you can do - learn to seed save (there are courses available), seed save at home, then start some type of seed saving group in your community, then link up into the national network of seed saving.

Keep an eye out for the first Eudlo Seedy Sunday event.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Creating a culture of local food

The recent Eat Local Forum at Palmwoods attracted 150 people - a lot of people for a small town and considering the event didn't receive a lot of publicity.

It does show a shift in people's thinking though. For whatever reason, whether its cost, quality, environment, health or ethics, there seems to be a distinct shift toward local food.

Local, organic, in-season food. The renaissance of a local food culture.

So how do you go about creating a local food culture?

Plenty of people around Australia are doing it already - food box systems, community supported agriculture, school gardens, community gardens, permablitzes, farm gate sales... supporting local growers and importantly local food distribution points - including restaurants that support local organic growers.

I found a really interesting and inspiring site from Victoria the other day - the Community Harvest Project -

The Community Harvest Project exists to:
Help individuals and groups to grow or access healthy, sustainable, affordable, locally produced food.
Connect individuals and groups to share skills, knowledge, resources, and create a vibrant, cooperative and resilient community.
Help your community deal with climate change, peak oil and the rising cost of living.

Sounds like a great foundation for a Transition Town food sub-group.

It provides a framework for small scale growers to sell their surplus. For many of us, particularly here in Eudlo where we mostly have acreage, going full time into commercial food production is out of the question, but having a viable outlet to sell our chemical free, high-quality surplus is really appealing.

The Transition Town Eudlo Food Group has decided to start out with dried organic goods to kick off our Eudlo Food Co-operative. We chose dried goods because we have access to them at wholesale prices and because they don't need refrigeration. We also chose dried food as a lot of us already grow most of our fresh food, so there isn't a need for that.

Once we have the dried goods part of the co-op working well, we'll branch out into honey, tahini, tamari, oils... and then ultimately fresh produce: salad greens, vegetables, herbs, sub tropical perennials etc. We may even develop a market for preserves: jams, stewed fruit...

So far, we've had more than 30 - yes, 30! families in the Eudlo and Ilkley area sign up to be involved in the co-op. Another 30+ families in neighbouring towns also want to be part of it.

Sixty families in total to start our co-operative. That's fantastic and very heartening. It did come as a surprise for us, so we're going to rethink how we do this so it is successful, innovative, ethical and economically viable.

It's not to late to join in either, if you live in Eudlo, Ilkley, Palmwoods, Mooloolah or Woombye, get in contact - leave a comment here and you can be part of this exciting adventure!

[Some of these images were sourced from US websites]

Friday, April 10, 2009

Meetings, tours, workshops & courses!

Next meeting of Transition Town Eudlo is Sunday 3 May at 8.30am at Sweethearts' Cafe in the heart of Eudlo. All welcome, drop by for a coffee and chat, and to find out more about Transition Towns.

Also coming up in Eudlo - learn how you can become more self-reliant and start living more sustainably.

Sunday April 26 - Beginners' Guide to growing your own food. As more people choose to grow their own food at home, this one day workshop will take you through the basics of organic gardening and how to do it successfully. Turn your lawn into lunch. Covers how to get started, no-dig gardens, raised beds, where to source seeds and seedlings, how to get your soil right, organic pest management and much more. Cost is $70 includes handouts, morning tea, coffee and hands on practice.

Sunday May 3 - Celebrate International Compost Awareness Week - compost workshop at Eudlo. Discover the secrets to successful compost - Cost is $20

Monday May 4 - Permaculture Garden Tour - Visit one of Eudlo's well-known permaculture gardens. Two hour tour cost $5, limited places filling fast.

Saturday May 9 & Sunday May 10 - Introduction to Permaculture - at Eudlo once again. Learn the basics of permaculture and a heap of skills and ideas to help you start living more sustainably. Redesign and retrofit your home and garden to be more efficient, more cost effective and more productive! See permaculture in action. Includes lots of theory and hands on practice. Cost is $130 includes handouts, morning tea, coffee and hands on practice.

Sunday May 17 9am-12pm – ½ day workshop – Beginners’ guide to compost & worms
Discover the wonderful microbial world of compost and worms. Learn how to turn waste into garden gold. Soil is the secret of growing healthy food at home – learn how to do it the chemical free, natural way working with nature to create abundant fertility in your vegie patch and home orchard. Cost is $40 includes handouts, morning tea, coffee and hands on practice.

All workshops and courses are held at Permaculture Pathways, two acres of well-established food gardens. Learning in our living classroom.

For bookings or more information about any of these workshops, tours or courses email permaculturepathways [at] yahoo [dot] com or call 0408 013 012.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


We've been working on creating a Permablitz network on the Sunshine Coast. Permablitz is a concept created by Adam and Dan and many, many others in Victoria, who are making an impressive impact on backyards in Victoria with this very successful model of turning lawns into lunch. The photos above are from the Victorian Permablitz website.

While many other groups do working bees and energy exchanges, the Vic Permablitz people have been bringing in a whole new audience to permaculture - something we really need to focusing on at the moment. No use preaching to the converted! Time to venture out into the mainstream and get them gardening and more self-reliant!

This is how it goes; They organise a 'blitz' in someone's backyard. Now this is NOT like those terrible TV 'blitzes' where they make over a garden and fill it with useless plants that aren't good for anything except composting (I even saw one the other day where they had an outdoor waterproof big screen TV! - I couldn't believe it). You won't find a white pebble or an agave in site at a Permablitz, instead you'll find fruit trees, broccoli, spinach, asian greens, globe artichokes, cabbages, beans, edible flowers, edible water plants, eggplants and herbs... you get the (edible) picture.

The Permablitz team visit the site beforehand and come up with some permaculture solutions that meet that particular person's needs. They then advertise the blitz and people can just come along - the owner organises all the resources needed and puts the word out about anything people can bring on the day. Everyone brings a plate of food (preferably local and organic) to share and the work begins under the friendly supervision of some Permaculture designers.

They often get a particular expert - eg a top tree pruner or a herb expert - in to do a workshop so the blitzer can learn even more about food.

They are going great guns in Vic and deserve a great big huge edible medal! Well done!

There aim is "... to make the suburbs edible enough such that should food become unaffordable, we don't even notice."

Oh, by the way, you need to go to three Permablitzes and be actively involved, then you get one at your place - they (and we) aren't a volunteer team of people who do your garden for you, you have to put energy into the system before you can take out - that's nature. There is no such thing as a free lunch, even if it's from your own garden.

While Permablitz is grounded in fun, play, sharing and informal learning, it's really playing a much, much deeper role at a very important time.

Permablitzes take food production right into backyards. This is crucial. While it's great to have community gardens and school gardens, people need to do this at home to back up the whole system. No point having 200,000 people nearby thinking they are all going to decend on your place or your community garden when the shit hits the fan.

They also make organic food accessible to all, not just those who can afford to buy it in the shops. Everyone has the right to fresh, healthy, chemical free food.

It allows people to move away from being dependent on industrial agricultural system and the multi-nationals who supply a lot of our food.

It brings food back to a local level, increases your appreciation of good food, reduces food miles and cuts carbon emissions in your household dramatically.

Teach people how to do it themselves, then encourage them to teach others and so on. A fantastic model for our present times.

Here in Eudlo we've done a few Permablitzes through Transition Town Eudlo. While the Vic people have the people, we have the acreage it seems. In our photos the people are pretty light on, but we've got plenty of room to play in!

So, here are a few photos of our Permablitzes.

Starting with [BELOW] discussing the plan of action BEFORE we start! Always a good idea!

[ABOVE: many hands make log move]

[ABOVE: keeping the kids amused and safe]

[ABOVE: by the end of the day, these new raised beds were planted out with vegies and salad greens - we used a no dig recipe to get them done in a day]

[ABOVE: learning how to plant out vetiver grass around the new water feature]

"Permablitz is a social enterprise committed to improving the sustainability of our cities and suburbs. We use a sustainable design system called permaculture to help communities move away from denial and depdendent consumerism to engagement and responsible production. Our core focus is helping people sustainabily grow food where they live, building healthy community in the process. Rather than depressing people with the bad news, we empower them with the good news - that the solutions are at hand - and get on with having fun rolling them out." Dan Palmer - Permablitz Vic.

If you are intrested in contributing toward the development of Permablitz Sunshine Coast, please get in touch I'm very keen to get this up and running here.

Transition Town Eudlo Coordinator

Monday, April 6, 2009

April Meeting

We had a great meeting this month. Although Sweetheart's was closed! We could have done with a coffee, but oh well, can't have everything.

Lots of new faces and people interested in both gardening and the bigger picture Transition Town approach of looking at all systems under pressure from oil and climate issues.

Food is a great starting place, but Transition Towns are so much more. Looking forward to getting groups started in waste, energy, transport, education and all those sectors.

There are a few activities on locally between now and the next meeting - April 20-23 there is a Dynamic Groups for Transition Workshop on at Cooroy with the wonderful Robin Clayfield.

All these events are detailed on the SEAC website at www.seac.net.au under events - costs, booking details etc.

April 26 - Beginner's Guide to growing your own food on at Eudlo. Full day of learning how to start and maintain home food production systems - vegie beds, compost, worm farms... all the good stuff.

May 3 - the day of our next meeting, but also International Compost Awarness Week - there will be a compost workshop at Eudlo to celebrate - 10am-noon Cost $20.

May 4 - Labour Day Garden Tour - visit a permaculture garden and see the fruits of its Labour! Tour runs from 9-11am and costs $5 per head. Numbers are strictly limited so book early.

See www.seac.net.au for all the details

Next meeting Sunday May 3 at 8.30am at Sweetheart's - if they are closed again, we'll be over in the school yard under their shelter.


Saturday, April 4, 2009

Sunshine Coast weather

Eudlo has certainly had more than its share of rain the past few days. This is a photo of the town end of our road taken just this morning.

The meeting is still on for tomorrow, particularly if we don't get anymore rain, this should clear quickly and travel will be back to normal.

We can all get together and share rain stories and see how we're all coping with the soggy conditions.


Friday, April 3, 2009

Meeting this week

[Above: a display of the types of foods we'll be ordering through our food co-op]

This Sunday is our regular meeting for Transition Town Eudlo. Hopefully it won't be too rained out - we've had some localised flooding overnight and yesterday.

We meet at Sweetheart's Cafe in Eudlo at 8.30am for a coffee, a catch up and a chat. You're welcome to come along if you are interested in Transition Towns.

We'll also be able to talk about the very successful Local Food Forum we had last weekend at Palmwoods. I've attached some photos here.

[A photo of the crowd, about 140 people turned up, and a photo of some sweet potato plants we have for sale]

Our Sunday morning meetings are very social, often with new people turning up wanting to know about the group or Transition Towns in general.

Some people also come to our meetings because they are thinking about moving to Eudlo and want to get a feel for the town.

There aren't many community groups you can turn up to and find out such things, so that's yet another need that TTs fill.

[Below: a photo of the mind map I put together on local food solutions]