building community in the suburbs
Our little seedlings are tasting their first summer morning in the Farnham street park. After some toddler tramping, dog watering and the first furnace of hot days everything is firmly rooted and getting lusher.
Pip from the neighbourhood house has reported that the trees have never looked so good. Heavy with fruit, the apples are swelling and blushing with every sunny day. They were our inspiration, alternatively choked with grass or risking ring barking with every careless contractor’s whipper-snipper cut – there was a better way.
Time and money saved for the council in maintenance, an abundant garden for the community and wildlife.
After years of architectural training, I’ll never be able to shake my drive towards creating beautiful (and practical) edens, but the Flemington Food Forest is not just for the eyes and stomach as community is what feeds the soul. In our world of work and stuff, we need people more than ever. Sometimes I forget how much, but since its creation and everyday I tend it I remember; falling into easy conversations with strangers.
The other week Dylan and I found ourselves giving an impromptu children’s gardening workshop when planting some seeds. First one then two and then three under 5s marched up asking what we were up to. the first pronounced that she was wearing her special sparkly birthday shoes and wanted to help.
Their joy was my joy, the design had children in mind, with a curving “fairy path” interlaced with the more practical, direct “adult path”, little “tea party” circles dotted along the way that would eventually become secret food forest glades as the garden grows taller, wilder.
It was lovely that they, and hopefully more children, will be part of the creation of this space. Like links in a chain, the garden provided not only a conduit to them, but through them to their parents who animatedly spoke about gardening trials and offered the neighbourhood house their spare compost bin.
There are so many opportunities for workshops, and not just ones run by us or other permies, but elders with their experience in preserving fruit and olives, migrants with their knowldege of edible weeds and anyone who wants to share a recipe and harvest from the garden.
I want to thank everyone who contributed their time to the permablitz again. I had such a warm feeling of community at the end of the day, we accomplished so much in a short time and I hope you all return in the new year to watch the garden grow with me.