Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Small Spaces Can Produce an Inner City Grocery Store

Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Small Spaces Can Produce an Inner City Grocery Store

Article excerpt

I WAS introduced to Angelo Eliades and his permaculture food forest experiment in the Melbourne suburb of Preston, about a month ago.

What Angelo did embodies the wave of food self-sufficiency sweeping the inner north and west of Melbourne.

This wave has been generated by individuals and community groups, but it's increasingly being embraced by local governments, who have integrated policies on community gardening, edible streetscapes and urban orchards into their policies and strategic frameworks.

Angelo is remarkable for the methodical and systematic way he has built his backyard food forest, and in particular for his documentation of everything he's done, from species selection, plantings, climate events and yields. It is all available at his blog, deepgreenpermaculture .com.

Angelo built his food forest on the leached and lifeless soil of his 80sq m backyard during the winter of 2008. He calls his method a[approximately]backyard orchard culture'. It's based around the careful selection and strategic siting of a range of different tree species, Angelo has 30, interspersed with numerous varieties of berries, 21, with multiples of several varieties, herbs 90 and other perennials, with some space left for annual vegies. Typically early, mid and late fruiting varieties will be chosen, because athis gives extended seasonal cropping a instead of having one tree produce a glut of fruit over a few weeks, you can extend your cropping, over several monthsa.

For Angelo, a key motivator is yield. His aim was to show what's possible in a small space, the typical suburban backyard in inner Melbourne. Remember, he wanted to counter the scepticism of folks in DPI and elsewhere who scoffed, and still scoff at the idea that permaculture and backyard gardening can actually produce significant amounts of food.

But he is also interested in resilience a selecting species that can do well in a Melbournian climate that is behaving increasingly erratically, with damp and cool summers, short and mild winters, freak hail storms, and extremely hot days in early spring. Never mind the droughts, the fires and the floods. …

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