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29.09.2015 admin
Calling all Gardening enthusiasts, flower fiends and horticultural hounds, you are invited to Ballarat this spring to discover a selection of the region's beautiful private and public gardens at the 8th annual Ballarat Gardens in Spring.
Five private gardens from the Ballarat region will open their gates on 14 and 15 November, showcasing their stunning spring glory to the general public.
Visitors can see wonderlands filled with romantic perennials and assorted topiary and obelisks, wander winding paths lined with specimen trees leading to shrubs and clever massed plantings and explore whimsical spaces bursting with color and an eclectic range of plants and pre-loved up-cycled treasures. The gardens are open from 10am to 4pm each day with $5 entry fee for adults (children are free).
WeekendNotes will notify you of the best free community events, concerts, exhibitions, cinema, festivals, and markets in your town or city. Download the Event Program to make sure you're there for the programs you want to participate in and keep an eye on the Facebook page to stay updated. Celebrity gardeners Jason Hodges from Better Home and Gardens and The Block favourite, Dale Vine will be among other gardening specialists handing out a host of gardening tips, DIY advice and demonstrations to make your thumbs even greener. Hosting a giant Mad Hatter's Tea Party, you'll be invited to immerse yourselves in the magical world of Alice in Wonderland There'll be absurdly delicious high tea, whimsical music, dance and poetry and play, all wrapped up in this magical setting of this classic story. For the children there'll be craft and gardening activities and other fun stuff like the 'super sandpit', Polyglot's ANTS, BotaniKIDS hanging gardens, FOOST children's cooking, story telling, Twilight Cinema and of course the LEGO trail.
The best of Ballarat's delicious food offerings and 'live' entertainment will ensure that all members of the family are engaged and involved.
For more information or to sign into the information session, please contact Kate Joss on (03) 5320 5675. Mention Ballarat and many city slickers think of gold mining and the tourist attraction Sovereign Hill.
With the theme of 'Earth's Bounty', the event kicks off with the popular Speakers Luncheon on Friday 24 October at the Ballarat Botanical Gardens.
On Saturday and Sunday, Ballarat will feature gardens on the outskirts of Ballarat in semi rural locations.
Stroll through these designer garden spaces that are not only beautiful to look at but tantalising to your senses too. If you're a true designer landscaping and gardening enthusiast, don't miss this opportunity to meet the garden owners and gain some useful tips to take home with you. Entry to each garden is $5 (free for children), but consider a fully guided tour if you're from Melbourne. The gardens will indulge ALL your senses (except taste), so don't forget to pack your antihistamines!
Green walls, rooftop vegetable gardens and balcony growing systems are capturing the imagination of city-dwellers everywhere. At the Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies (CERES) in Melbourne's inner north, a prototype aquaponic system has been set up to answer some of these questions.
Environmental engineer Stephen Mushin has worked with biologist and aquaponics expert Wilson Lennard to design the system and accompanying research project.
Mr Mushin and the CERES aquaponics team are investigating whether small-scale commercial aquaponics is commercially viable in an urban setting. Mr Mushin says the other question they are asking is: is it a good idea to use aquaponics as a technology for small-scale urban food growing? While the CERES research project is still underway, Mr Mushin believes it is already generating some valuable insights about how the economics of our current food system influences the viability of urban farming. Nick Rose, National Coordinator of the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance, is an independent academic and consultant who specialises in food justice issues.
According to Dr Rose, part of the problem is the profound disconnection from the basics of food production found among Australia's largely urban population. Dr Rose is interested in urban agriculture partly as a means to address this disconnection. Dr Rose is co-author of a 2013 report, Urban Food Security, Urban Resilience and Climate Change, funded by the federal government's National Climate Change and Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF). As part of his research, he interviewed more than 50 people from different walks of life in and around Melbourne: from local government planners and health and nutrition professionals to commercial-scale market gardeners, food security advocates, and community and backyard gardeners.
Among the urban agriculture developments Dr Rose identifies in the report are the perceived opportunities for growing urban food on currently unused or underused land in Australia's cities. Rose and his colleagues at the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance believe urban agriculture has a vital role to play in meeting Australia's future food requirements, as well as key health and environmental goals.
In the NCCARF report, Dr Rose and his co-authors identify some hotspots of urban food production and innovation in Australia, including Melbourne's inner west and Southport on the Gold Coast.

In addition to selling compost and vegetables produced on site, the group has partnered with the Salvation Army to train long-term job seekers in permaculture and bio-intensive gardening practices.
Mr McBain's Sustainable Urban Nutrition (SUN) concept is the intensive local conversion of green waste into food through a network of gardens within walking distance of every house, thereby reducing food and waste miles. His South Perth rental property has been a test bed for a range of low-technology food growing solutions, including vermigation (irrigation with worm-farm leachate) fed by a hot composting process. The SUN project is now being established in a local sporting club, the City of South Perth's Collier Park Golf Course, and Murdoch University's Community Garden at the University's Environmental Technology Centre. Mr McBain believes that under-used urban spaces are ideal for food production, but adds that it is also important to choose spaces are already well trafficked. Mr McBain points out that he could easily identify fringe open spaces in this hub that are not highly used. Obviously it's not cost-competitive, But it's a preferable hobby, against all other hobbies.
Yes good to see this to come into the mainstream media and such initiatives are going on for quite some time and express a continuum between backyard gardening and food production, which is taking off (often using Permaculture Design principles), fron yard gardening, use of nature strips along residential streets, and then all the way to community gardens and urban farms as described.
While very commendable that food security is mapped in Australia, the security of food supplies is directly connected with the skills base which is part of our national social capital.
Perhaps the best thing that urban food growing can teach it's participants, is just how bloody hard it can be to grow food. Gardening, whether it's growing food or ornamentals, helps to keep people healthy in mind and body.
I recommend anyone interested check out Bill Mollison's work on Permaculture, esp for urban areas.
The technique is used to determine the age of organic artefacts in fields like archaeology, geology, and ecology. Using data from WRI’s CAIT Climate Data Explorer, this dynamic graph below allows you to explore emissions data for 2012. Three runners attempt to run 160km through remote wilderness to raise money for climate change.
This site is where you will find ABC stories, interviews and videos on the subject of Environment. Harvest Festival 2016, Sunday 20th March 11am - 3pm at the Ballarat Community Garden on the corner of Queen Street and Dyte Parade Ballarat East. Come along and try some of the delicious pizzas being made by Ballarat Food members Basilio’s Sourdough’s Georgio Basilio and chef extraordinaire(s) Andy Beyerle and Suzi Fitzpatrick. I have been living a mere few blocks away from the most delicious and authentically French pastries being made right here in Ballarat for just over a year now.
The Ballarat Botanical Gardens Reserve is located on the western shore of the picturesque Lake Wendouree in Ballarat.
Although I live in the South East I am passionate about fun family days out and keen to bring them to the foreground.
With the theme of contrasts celebrating all that spring offers in large and small gardens, Ballarat Gardens in Spring promises to delight all that visit these amazing Gardens.
It's also an opportunity to meet the owners and glean some local knowledge and take home a few ideas. The flowers are just amazing and even for people with no interesting in gardening it is well worth seeing them, just for their beauty. Most people don't know that Ballarat boasts some of the finest gardens in Australia, and even has an annual 3 day garden event. See colourful gardens filled with colour and life from Japanese inspired gardens of hedging, rocks and pools to Tuscan inspired courtyards. Ask and learn about native plants and gain insight from an artistic perspective, on combinations of shapes, textures and forms to consider when designing. But is it time for a reality check on the viability of producing food in urban environments? It's hugely fashionable to talk about it in design engineering circles and is something that the public is quite captivated by in general," says Mr Mushin.
The produce is sold at local farmers markets, included in CERES's veggie box scheme (CERES Fair Food), and sold at the CERES café after being turned into seasonal meals and products such as jams and preserves. Or, would you be better to use simple raised bed gardens or other more well-known and understood basic forms of farming? Like Mr Mushin, he believes that systemic issues are holding back the potential expansion of urban agriculture.

At Southport, the community group Permaculture Gold Coast runs a market garden on a vacant three-quarter acre suburban block with the cooperation of the developer owner.
Mr McBain, who is the Western Australian representative of the Australian City Farm and Community Gardens Network, is creating a model halfway between a market garden and a community garden.
The bowling club has waist-high fencing and the council premises have fencing over six foot high.
I myself am a farmer in northern Australia who sells through a centralised market system in a capital city.
It reduces my land fill (compost), beautifies the land, brings in the bees, reduces carbon from the atmosphere, on most occasions i don't even water it, or need fertiliser, i use pet poop, and legumes. This is not only as described a way to connect people to their food and how it is produced (educational values), production of local hopefully organic (and low food miles) products, but also from a desire to create resiliance if and when times get tough - be it peak oil, major disruptions of supply chains, disasters, economic collapse (just look at Greece or Portugal, where such movements are taking off exponentionally - aside from people returning to the countryside), under which self-sufficiency (to the extent possible) on a local community level will be crucial. There appears no direct connection between commercial productivity of food and the need for broad skills base and universal access to food production. Especially in older age, being able to garden is at the heart of staying strong and independent. It has such a lot to offer, not only delicious, fresh food but economic benefits, tiny food miles and community connection too. It means learning how to grow food all over again to some extent but I think it is definitely the way forward.
As you browse through the site, the links you follow will take you to stories as they appeared in their original context, whether from ABC News, a TV program or a radio interview. The lush pizza toppings are donated by the Jiggety-Jig Farmers Market Stall holders, including Country Style Smallgoods, Granite Hill Produce and Enbom Honey.
And even for those that are not so into the Gardening side but can appreciate natural beauty when they see it.
Building on the success of last year, a fully guided day tour is offered for Melbourne based visitors on Sunday 15 November.
Now in its 7th year, up to six private gardens will be open to the public for the Ballarat Gardens in Spring, to be held on 24-26 October 2014. The tour starts at the Ballarat Train Station for passengers arriving on the 11am train from Melbourne and will return for the 4.10pm departure.
Wall-mounted systems, 'window' gardening, aquaponics and rooftop food production with integrated water recycling are just a few. Should we chase the promise of high-yielding, high-value produce, or should our priority for city farming be integrated well-being: pursuing goals such as connectedness to the land and to each other?
The market gardens are also being compared to the aquaponic system as part of the aquaponics research project. I have often thought there are distinct cost savings growing produce in the city and selling at a farmers market.
People just realise more and more that our current economic and political models are unsustainable to say the least but in fact completely flawed, outdated and rotten to the core and will only be a matter of time before the systems come crashing down - good to be prepared, rather than sorry.
The interesting thing is that urban design does not necessarily ensure the security that comes from having all available (!) space and resources ready to provide food.
Would love to hear more about it especially as Fair Food Week is coming up from 19th-25th August. Ballarat Gardens in Spring is organised by the Friends of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens and is a not for profit event. Firstly minimal packaging is required, secondly long distance freight is not required, thirdly the cost of inputs is significantly less as most of these come from cities and incur a freight cost, fourth there is no commission to pay to a market agent (typically16% on sale).There are also production and sales advantages to be gained by farming in the city. The times when social, economic, security or emergency conditions require such access recur often enough. Any profits raised contribute to projects in the Ballarat Botanical Gardens for everyone to enjoy in the future. There is little chance of neighbours livestock or plague proportion kangaroos eating your crop, There is little chance of chemical resistant virus spreading aphids blowing in on the wind from the farm next-door.
Don't miss this opportunity to be inspired by the work of fellow gardeners in a region renowned for its spring time splendor.
You don't have to make a 50km round trip to buy a drum of round-up and coles and woollies wont have you by the short and curlies come harvest timeI wish any urban agricultural development the best of luck.

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