From the archive: new edible ideas for an old city

Story by Russ Grayson, 2014

Digging into the permaculture archive, we uncover this story written for PIP, the Australian permaculture magazine, in early 2014…

Hobart... Australia's second oldest city, and its southernmost outpost of civilisation, is starting to grow... grow food, that is.

Giving urban agriculture a boost are Permaculture Australia members, Hannah Moloney and Anton Vikstrom, who are working on making their hilly home garden high above the city a working example of a suburban farmlet.

“That's an ongoing project”, Hannah explained. “We've established a garden and installed some chooks... we've painted some of the house exterior and made improvements inside, but there's lots more to do, so it's going to keep us busy for awhile yet.

“We plan to show how to really crank an urban block on a tricky site”.

Busy, yes, then there's the Permablitz the couple are engaged in around Tasmania.

"Well... we've just wrapped up an introduction to permaculture course here in Hobart”, answered Hannah when I asked her about their plans.

“On a larger scale we've partnered with Sustainable Living Tasmania (SLT) to run The Permablitz Project... five blitzes around Tasmania to engage people in the wonders of home food production. Another exciting project with SLT is running a multi-week program teaching newly arrived refugees to learn how to grow food in cold climates”.

Now that the introduction to permaculture course is ended, Hannah is turning her attention to the Food 4 Thought gathering, of which she is on the organising team.

"It's the national gathering of the Australian City Farms & Community Gardens Network", she said. "It's here in Hobart this March and it's this great opportunity to meet people engaged in urban agriculture and food education.

"After the conference we have Bonnie and Harry Wykman from Perth who are hoping to introduce people to the incredibly productive Biointensive method of growing food. It's good for small spaces because you can produce a lot of food on a little bit of land".

Edible forest gardening and composting workshops are also in planning, as is a winter Permaculture Design Course in which David Holmgren will teach. In a way, that will close the circle because it's not far from where Hannah and Anton live in South Hobart that, in the closing years of the 1970s, David collaborated with Bill Mollison, just up the hill on Strickland Avenue, to devise something new... something called the permaculture design system.

It's a busy life there high on Hobart's hills for this couple — two people working with other Tasmanian creatives to make something new and good in our southernmost state.

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Published in Urban agriculture

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