In Grave Danger of Falling Food

Who would have thought with the heavy frosts we’ve had and the constant attacks of raider birds like cockatoos, king parrots, bowerbirds and currawongs, that you could simply walk out into a Blue Mountains Garden on a freezing cold winter’s day and harvest a bowl full of these glorious crimson tamarillos … but that’s exactly what we did do today when our permaculture class visited Ken and Jan Goodlet’s inspirational Food Forest in Hazelbrook.

And who would even have thought that you could carry the tamarillos away in these beautiful paper-like bowls plucked from a large clump of edible bamboo growing nearby?

While we’ve all marvelled at the incredible food forests set up in sub tropical climates it seems almost miraculous to find such an abundant food forest in a climate as harsh as ours. Until now I’ve seen no better example of how you can use vegetation to create such productive and beautiful microclimates.

Not far from the tamarillo tree was a clump of sugarcane …

and a range of citrus trees heavily laden with cumquats, limes, lemons, mandarins, oranges and grapefruit:

Close to the macadamia and pecan trees was a flowering carob tree:

and, to prove that the garden really has been hit by frost this week, there was even a large clump of taro, slightly the worse for wear but still hanging on …

This Garden of Eden tumbles down a hill until it reaches a bush sanctuary and creek and a huge amount of care has been taken to separate the garden from this riparian zone. We weren’t able to detect any sign of nutrient runoff or weed infestation in the natural bush area below:

and after a short walk we were simply surrounded by the richness and beauty of the natural bush, including piles of this bark shed from an Angophora tree …

It would take me days to include photos of the ducks, the

chooks, the bushtucker gardens, the herb and vegetable gardens …..  but anyone keen to experience this extraordinary permaculture garden and the Goodlet’s generous hospitality for themselves, can actually stay at their Dayspring Bed & Breakfast.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I harvested lemongrass, lemon verbena and lemon balm from my own garden to make a warming pot of tea and we spent the afternoon looking at why preserving and increasing the amount of forest cover worldwide is crucial for humanity’s survival. Despite the fact that this is common knowledge, every year the world loses nearly 36 million acres of natural forest – an area roughly the size of New York State.

We then watched Schumacher’s moving film On the Edge of the Forest which you can view by clicking here.

You can also click here to read the World Wildlife Foundation’s reasons for protecting forests and hopefully get motivated to fight the Gunn’s proposal in Tasmania for turning Old Growth Forest into woodchip.