Sustainable Communities has hosted two talks recently on the microbes found in our soil: the first, at the One Planet Market in May, focused on the diversity of fungi; and the second, a Grow Grow Grow workshop in Unley covered what makes soil so productive, and needing to be treated with care. They fit into a growing awareness of the importance of microbes and their role in biological interactions.
The sheer diversity and abundance of microbes on this planet is astounding. A gram of soil contains thousands of species of microbes. I’ve known that bacteria can exist in many harsh ecosystems around this planet, but I was surprised to find out that fungi too have been found in extreme places such as deep ocean beds, in thermal springs and high in mountain ranges.
A few of the different fungi that grows in the Adelaide Hills
by Peter Croft and Dinali Devasagaym
The Grow Grow Grow Your Own group ran a Foraging workshop on 20 August 2017 with guest presenter Kate Grigg. It was a terrific event with 60 people turning out on a cold, overcast afternoon to find out more about out edible weeds, including several who came all the way from Ballywire, a farm near Edithburgh on Yorke Peninsula.
Anne Wilson led a lively Q&A session about problems faced by gardeners, then Kate took us for a tour of the grounds of Fullarton Park. Within 15 metres we found our first edible weed, chickweed, followed within metres by dandelions, milk thistle, shepherds purse (a brassica), prickly lettuce, mallow, flick weed, nasturtiums, peppercorns from the pepper tree and smooth mustard. All edible and highly nutritious. I was most surprised to know that mallow makes a good spinach alternative!
While Kate does not suggest we actively grow these plants, as many of them are serious problems in native bushland and on farm properties, it makes a lot of sense to harvest and eat the ones that pop up on their own in our gardens.
The group will present a follow up session with Kate in May 2018. Stay tuned for a date.
Last year the Urban Sustainability team of the Adelaide & Mount Lofty Natural Resource Management Board convened a session on urban agriculture. They have recently published a Edible Adelaide report detailing the outcomes from this session including a map of local food initiatives. Moving forward the Urban Sustainability team is looking to work with and support community groups to further develop our urban food network. For more information see the Edible Adelaide site.
After watching the movie Just Eat It (see my previous post on this movie) a few members from Sustainable Communities were motivated to go out and see for ourselves what is being thrown away. We were fortunate to find an experienced freegan in fellow Sustainable Communities member Steven. So armed with a knowledgeable guide, a torch, gloves and bags we hit the streets on a Sunday night.
Dumpster Diving Tip: a milk crate is a handy tool tool too for extra height and then storage of the loot.