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Are Food Forests mainstreaming

Last year I was teaching social media to a group of Graduate students at The Centre for Sustainable Practice, one of the Otago Polytechnic schools, based in Wanaka. That's where I met Andy Cambeis, who's major project was to establish a food forest on public land in Hawea Flat. What I didn't realise until the end of the year, was that he was documenting the process in a way that others could benefit from.

When I read the first draft of his "Manual for creating a Food Forest on Public Land" I was delighted and excited. Here was a paint-by-numbers process, written in a beautifully summary form, with links to every detail one could possibly want, and all very relevant to the New Zealand situation. I knew this was my project for 2013 - to establish the first public access Waiheke Food Forest.

But what's been happening in the last few weeks has been quite astounding... beginning two weeks ago, as I prepared for presenting our Waiheke Food Forest project to the Waiheke Local Board, I learnt of three new Food Forest projects across Aotearoa, and this was a hint that there was some real movement in this space.

Four days later I received a persistant phone call – on the third ring I finally answered it, and I'm glad I did. A polite and well spoken man was wanting to know if I was using www.foodforest.co.nz, because if not he wanted it.

I was clear that I wasn't about to hand this over but suggested we meet. Over a coffee two days later, as we shared our stories, it was clear, we both saw Aotearoa abundant with forests of food. This proud Manawatu farmer shared his vision of 10 acre food forests, up and down the country, in those highly visible locations some farms are blessed with. We’ll be meeting up again soon – with time to flesh out some details and explore possibilities.

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Are food forests mainstreaming

Two weeks ago, as I prepared for presenting our Waiheke Food Forest project to the Local Board, I learnt of three new Food Forest projects.

Four days later I received a persistant phone call - on the third ring I finally answered it, and glad I did. A well polite and well spoken man was wanting to know if I was using www.foodforest.co.nz, because if not he wanted it. I suggested we meet, and over a coffee two days later, we shared our stories. It was clear, we both saw Aotearoa abundant with forests of food. This proud Manawatu farmer shared his vision of 10 acre food forests, up and down the country, in those highly visible locations some farms are blessed with. We'll be meeting up again soon - with time to flesh out some details and explore possibilities.

On Friday it was off to spend time with the CSP community at Awhi Farm in Turangi, and the neighbouring Marae of the Tuwharetoa.The number of times the term Food Forest was mentioned or the subject of a conversation, was astounding and a delight!

Just yesterday morning, I enjoyed a lovely Facebook chat with a woman who's energy and commitment to building a better world is truly formidable. It concluded with an invitation to help them create two new food forests on private land - one large, one small.

Last night, I gave a Pecha Kucha talk on Food Forests, organised by the lovely Jane Zimmermann and Luka Hinse. It's a great format - 20 slides and 20 seconds each - so you get to tell your message in under 7 minutes, then stand aside and let the next person inspire and inform you. A mid break allows for lots of conversation, and everyone goes home with some new ideas.

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Local Economic Blueprint highlights potential of community resilience

From Rob Hopkin's blog at Transition Culture...

bpcovToday sees the publication of what may well turn out to be one of the most important documents yet produced by a Transition initiative.  Over the next few weeks we will be returning to it, to hear a range of perspectives on it, and hope it will generate debate and discussion.  The document is the ‘Totnes & District Local Economic Blueprint‘, and you can download it for free here.  The Blueprint is the first attempt that I am aware of to map in detail a local economy and to put a value on the potential benefits of an increased degree of localisation.  If you like, it identifies “the size of the prize” of Transition.

Here Fiona Ward of the REconomy Project introduces the Blueprint:

Economic localisation has often been argued from a range of perspectives, such as being a better way forward and being more sustainable, but rarely has the economic case to back it up been clearly set out.  The Blueprint concludes that:

Oxford street garden newsletter

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A Wise Response

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Greater democracy in NZ

Hordur Torfason is an Icelandic activist who initiated the recent 'cutlery revolution' in that country:  This resulted in: » Read more

The evolving local food movement

With all the talk of local food and the increase in backyard and community gardens I guess it's not surprising that more websites are coming online to make it easier to find information, trade produce and setup enterprises which together are helping re-build the food web.

I've made mention of Ooooby in the past and the new Bucky Box initiative, two of my favourite home grown (NZ) initiatives.

Lately I've been supporting and following the Hawea Flat Food Forest project. Andy is the driving force behind this project and is making good use of social media, crowd funding and the open sharing of information.

The website which Andy told me about today is Practical Plants, a wiki with an abundance of information about just that, plants with practical uses.

If you're interested in being part of this growing and evolving local food movement, and so many of us are, even in small ways through purchasing from local producers, then you may find some of the links here worthy of some relaxed inspection over these holidays.

Enjoy!

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Digest Colonizers, Make Gas, Cook Beans...

I’ve been wondering for a while how much work and resources would be required to build a prototype for a neighbourhood scale organic-waste-to-energy plant, with a pedal-powered mulcher. » Read more

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