Innovation That Matters

Boosting suburban farming

Nonprofit & Social Cause

As food prices climb and mainstream farming practices fall out of favour in today’s increasingly eco-minded climate, there’s growing incentive for consumers to farm their own food. Australian Permablitz is a group that focuses on bringing sustainable, edible gardens to the suburban neighbourhoods around Melbourne. Permablitz picks up on permaculture, an idea dating back to the 1970s that revolves around the creation of perennial agricultural systems whose design mimics ecologies found in nature. Aiming to implement the notion throughout the Melbourne area, Permablitz holds weekend “blitzes” in which groups of volunteers come together to transform a suburban yard into a food-producing organic garden. One planned for June, for example, will be dedicated to helping “Ileana, Gavin and baby Michaela transform their backyard into a fruit, veg, herb and chicken egg producing wonderland.” Before each blitz Permablitz coordinates pre-blitz design visits and organises the materials that will need to be donated; post-blitz, it also conducts follow-up visits to check on the results. Along the way, the group hopes to share permaculture skills and build community networks. More than 40 permablitzes have now been held since the group began. Its founders explain: “Our focus is edible gardens, and our ultimate aim is to make the suburbs edible enough such that should food become unaffordable, we don’t even notice.” An undeniably admirable goal, and one that dovetails nicely with the swelling public interest in all things green. And while urban and suburban farming obviously aren’t new, we like the blitz approach, which lends an air of instant gratification to the sometimes slowgoing process of gardening. Permablitz appears to operate on a purely volunteer basis—the site is open for anyone to post events—but there’s nothing to say the same idea couldn’t be implemented with ad support or sponsorships. Time to bring a little permaculture to your neck of the woods…? (Related: Urban farming.) Spotted by: Emma Crameri



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