Lightning fast suburban farms

June 4, 2008 at 12:40 am 1 comment

Australia has been suffering severe drought for quite awhile.  With global food prices rising more and more, people are finding it attractive to grow their own food regardless of where they are found in the world.  

It seems that some parts of the global fabric are slowly coming undone and people are forced ever so slowly (by necessity) to relocalize.  

Was it not the saying that “Necessity is the mother of all invention.”  Perhaps it should be re-worded as “Necessity is the mother of all rediscoveries.”

On a more local note, a group I’m helping to start up, FoodCycles is going to create an aquaponic greenhouse in Downsview Park (our temporary blog is at our domain  We’ll combine worm compost farming (which produces high quality compost), vegetable production (all year round) and raise tilapia.  This is based on the model set up by former basketball star Will Allen at Growing Power Inc. (  It will likely be classified as a social enterprise.

We’re hoping to create local jobs and do community outreach as well as become a focal point for action to address social and environmental issues.  We’d welcome any support from health or social justice advocates as well especially if they happen to deal with the Downsview Park community.  

If you know anyone who’d like to volunteer in the near future, just let me know.  We’d welcome the generous help.  We’re also hunting down some business consultants to provide some extra advice (we have a few in mind though we’d welcome additional suggestions or referrals).  


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.)



Keywords:  urban agriculture, urban farming, local food, localization, suburbia, suburban, Permablitz, permaculture

Originally Posted on:

Ffenyx Rising –

Entry filed under: Compost, Environment & Sustainability, Food, Funding, Local Agriculture, Organic Agriculture, Urban Agriculture, Urban Gardening, Vermicomposting. Tags: , , , , , , , .

Introduction to Social Enterprise UN Food Production Delusion?

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. inventingeden  |  October 18, 2008 at 11:53 pm

    great Blog, looking forward to going your plethora of pages and information.
    Kudos to you and your colleagues for actively feeding us earth conscious folks!


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