As part of Fair Food Week I headed down to the big smoke of Adelaide last Sunday to visit some friends who have recently founded Wagtail Urban Farm. They’ve turned a disused house block in Mitchell Park in to a beautiful patch of productive land, growing salad greens, Asian greens, fennel, silverbeet and a whole lot more. They’ve also become a focal point in their neighbourhood with many a person wandering by to check out the seedlings as they grown and offer friendly advice over the fence.
They’re using an intensive, sustainable method of human-powered agriculture pioneered by Eliot Coleman and used to great success in Australia by Joyce and Michael Wilkie of Allsun Farm and, closer to home, Di Bickford at Bickleigh Farm, McLaren Vale. This method of farming relies very little on fossil fuels and instead utilises small scale machines and implements all driven by human power! In this manner they are able to grow a range of high value, organic produce with minimal reliance on external inputs. It’s a neat system, it works and it’s very rewarding.
As productive agricultural land on the urban fringe is increasingly given over the suburban housing, we’re really going to have to look to our own back yards for our food production and the wonderful guys and girls at Wagtail Farm are leading the way! They have a wonderful blog following their little patch of land and I encourage you to check it out and stay up to date with what they’re doing or draw a little inspiration or know-how from their experiences.
It was such an inspiring way to spend a few hours on a Sunday (I was out in my own garden as soon as I got home, frantically weeding the broad beans). I can’t wait to go back in a few months time and see the bounty of summer!
- Posted by barossafarmersmarket
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