[permaculture] Open letter to the Australian permaculture movement

Pacific Edge Permaculture + Media pacedge at magna.com.au
Tue Jul 2 07:15:44 EDT 2002

Thanks for your response Bob.

> From: Bob howard <rmhoward at omninet.net.au>
> Reply-To: permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
> Date: Fri, 21 Jun 2002 12:59:53 +0800
> To: permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
> Subject: Re: [permaculture] Open letter to the Australian permaculture
> movement
> Pacific Edge Permaculture + Media wrote:
> I live in a small rural, coastal city (Albany W.A. 27,000). Even in this
> environment, planning and development is focused on 500 - 800 sq m.
> blocks for new subdivisions. The R20 zoning (20 blocks to the hectare)is
> the norm throughout this town and all the trends that you identify in
> Sydney are taking place here in miniature. Inner areas being redeveloped
> with townhouses, old factory sites being recycled as medium density etc.

Looks like this must be a more widespread trend than I thought. I don't see
it as a necessarily negative trend though.

In Sydney, many of the old industrial areas being redeveloped like that
around Green Square and Moore Park have been occupied by 'old economy'
(warehousing, manufacturing etc) infrastructure and the redevelopment into
medium density apartments provides accommodation for the so-called 'new
economy' workers employed in the CBD and in the global salient from Sydney
airport over to the North Shore. In urban geographical terms it is a process
of succession reflecting the city's move from the industries of the
mid-twentieth century to the newer industries of IT, education,
entertainment, media, finance and similar creative and service industries.

It is also part of a trend identified in the book "The Big Switch' by
demographer Bernard Salt. His research identified the growth of the inner
urban population of metropolitan cities and the reinforcement of an
already-evident inner urban culture. Interestingly, the 2001 census data
released a week or so age confirmed Salt's findings.

> Cuba hasaddressed the problem of urban food production in crowded cities with
some success if news reports are to be believed.

I knew some people who went to teach urban food production in Havana with
the Green Team some years ago. Varying reports about the work came back but
there does appear to be some reasonable degree of urban food production in
that city. I find it difficult to gain an overall impression about the
quantity of production and how much it has increased over recent years from
the occasional reports I have seen from various sources.
> Local government could be a succesful target for policies regarding farmer's
> markets, urban food production.

I think many local governments would be sympathetic to these ideas... they
have been supportive of community food gardens in Sydney, Melbourne and
Brisbane. Northey Street City Farm in Brisbane some months ago started a
Saturday morning organic farmers'  market which I have been told is quite
successful. They are an enterprising bunch, being funded to provide labour
market training for unemployed people as well.

South Sydney Council in the late 1990s adopted a food policy, the first of
its type in Australia, citing support for community gardens, organic food,
food coops as a way of addressing poor access for people in the municipality
to fresh food. They have been supportive of community food gardens.

> Fremantle City Council protects mature olive trees in their streets and
> certain families are entitled to the fruit of specific trees. Although this is
> custom rather than by-law it is widely known and respected.

This sounds very innovative and answers a question I have had for some years
regarding the planting of food-bearing trees in public places - how do
people access the harvest and how do you stop commercial operators co-opting
the harvest?

There's nothing like that here although there are bush food trees plante as
street and park trees.

Well thanks for your comments Bob. Hope you're not freezing in the west this

...Russ Grayson

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