Spring is in the air with only a couple of weeks left until September. Spring is about regeneration, planting and enjoying the change in season, and a time for new beginnings. The astronomical spring doesn't start on the first day of September, it's the period between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. The spring equinox occurs around 22 September, and is one of the two times in the year where the earth's axis is not pointing towards or away from the sun.
Many cultures around the world celebrate spring. In Japan they have the annual Cherry Blossom festival, symbolising transience of life. In the northern hemisphere spring is a time for the Jewish Passover, commemorating being free from Egyptian slavery. What does spring mean to you?
This week's gardening tip is about propagating plants. If you want to propagate lavender or rosemary for spring. Then click here to find an alternative way that may save you a little time and lets mother nature do the work for you.
Deep Winter Gathering...
On the 30th and 31st of July Taylor and I attended the Deep Winter Agrarians gathering in Gerringong on the South Coast of NSW.
Around 200 other like-minded farmers, producers, food-a-holics and farmers marketers turned up to discuss all things relating to the trials and tribulations of regenerative agriculture. Even Costa turned up to listen and to add his 2 cents.
The more formal discussions centered on the issues that confront producers every day, and it was great to hear how others have overcome some of the pitfalls of having 'big agriculture' regulations thrust upon the smaller producers. It was especially wonderful to see the passionate and animated brainstorming and problem solving from producers from all corners of Australia.
The meetings are also a great re-motivator. Working on a farm, you can sometimes feel like you have to do everything yourself. Being with others who do the same and have similar issues and super solutions to small problems is wonderful. We met (and re-met) lots of wonderful people.
We discovered that many of us have very similar issues and without a dedicated national body we do find it hard to be heard in the corridors of power. The meeting focused all of us on coming together to try to come up with elegant solutions.
One of the biggest issues facing all small meat producers is the lack of abattoirs around Australia. Our own farm is an example of this. In order for us to have meat leave our farm to sell (or give away) it must be inspected by a meat inspector. This means the animal must travel to Cowra or Picton or Moruya (with all the stress that is involved) then be 'cool room' transported back to the farm. That's a 6 hour round trip with a nights layover (and approx 500 kilometers) so that we can sell LOCAL food at a local market. Right now we choose not to put our animals through this. Instead we have our animals humanely killed 'on farm' and butchered by a professional butcher. We can control all of the steps involved in this and know that our animals have been treated the best that they can be all their life, and we end up with the tastiest meat ever, it just means that we can't share this awesome produce with you.
We will keep in touch with our old and new Deep Winter friends, provide support, ask questions and generally be a mad bunch together, knowing that we are all small drops making a bit of difference in a very large puddle.
The Permaculture scale of permanence lists a sequence of elements in order of what is hard to change through to what is the easiest.
It starts with climate as the first item then runs through land shape, water supply, farm roads, trees, buildings, fences and finally finishes with soils
This list can be used when deciding what jobs to take on around the farm. As with all things the list is relative - that is, you may have 400 acres of rock and clay with only 1km of subdividing fence - in this case it is easy to see that fencing and soil could trade places on the list, however in most instances the soil is a fine place to start your farm improvement - even if you choose to do this on a small scale in you backyard. Once you have your soil perfect, feel free to move onto the fences, and the buildings, and the trees...
At the markets...
We love attending markets, it's our time to catch up with you. We love hearing how you are and what you have been doing with the vegetables and food we grow or make. Here's some of the upcoming markets and events we will be attending.
- Friday, 19 August - Farmers and Foodies Market - Kingston Bus Depot - 3pm to 7pm
- Sunday, 21 August - Queanbeyan Market - 10am to 2pm
- Friday, 9 September - Canberra's Longest Lunch - Glebe Park - 12:30pm to 4pm. All funds raised from the event will support programs and services that support people living with asthma in the ACT.
We will have our popular Harvest Bags available this week. They are ready for you to pre-order and collect at either the Farmers and Foodies Market or the Queanbeyan Market. You can order online here or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org .
We're also trialing a new idea with the Harvest Bags. Each we we'll bring along to each market four Harvest Bags ready to sell to the first four customers. While we encourage you to pre-order to make sure you get your hands on these delicious bundles of goodness, we understand time is short and just in case you didn't have the opportunity to we'll have four available, but remember it's first in first served.