Adelaide is very lucky to have a group of people who are passionate about sharing and educating us on our basic human right to save seed and grow our own organic food, working with the Earth and not against her. This is the premise behind the Seed Freedom Festival and on Saturday 26th September I attended the 2nd festival held at the Market Shed on Holland in Adelaide.
The Market Shed on Holland is as the name suggests a huge market shed, a perfect location for the festival. It started at 10am and being in the city on a Saturday which is also market day, I gave myself an hour to drive in and find a park. I parked on South Tce under shade and had a short 5 minute walk in.
The area in front of the main building was a feast for the eyes, there was a stage for live music, a garden tool swap area, lots of good food for sale, booths for information on permaculture & bees, stall holders selling plants, seedlings and seeds all this before I even got to the big shed!
The signposting and decorations were magnificent, the first thing I saw was a big welcome sign and the information area, I grabbed a timetable had a quick look at when the workshops started and had a look around.
There was a huge seed swap, I had made up some seed packets to swap of saved seed and some diggers seeds I had, I haven’t been to a seed swap before, it was a lot of fun! I went up there 4 times during the day and each time found something new, I came home with 4 new packets of seeds, 2 new chillies, purple ruffled basil and turnip seeds. There were hundreds of packets of seeds on the table it was a great sight.
My next stop was the food swap table, I took in a big bag of lemons and some herbs and exchanged them for half a dozen eggs, again there was plenty on the table to choose from, silverbeet, seedlings, flowers, eggs, oranges, a huge variety of winter surplus from peoples gardens.
There were 3 workshop areas, all signposted very well and with plenty of seating and good audio so hearing was no problem. Over the day there were 20 speakers, all of the workshops were free and the speakers like everyone who organized this fantastic event donated their time and expertise.
I wish I could of gone to all of them, they were either 30 or 60 minute workshops with the opportunity for questions and time to chat with the speaker at the end, below are short summaries of the ones I attended:
Backyard permaculture – Nadja Osterstock. Nadja spoke about the principles of permaculture and gave practical examples of how they would work in your backyard.
- Traditional & sustainable fruit tree pruning – Simon Ardill. Simon said he likes to grow apricots on a non suckering plum root-stock, satsuma is good. He suggested take a few years to develop a good framework at the expense of early fruit.
- Backyard Biodiversity – Alistair Martin. Alistair spoke about the abundance of backyard produce and how to share this excess. Ripe near me is an app which helps gardeners list excess produce and others find it. I have used it and can recommend it.
- The magic harvest program – Tori Arbon. Tori spoke about being inspired by the book 1 magic square and how she has been able to start a community program using the same principles and invited us to initiate it in our own communities.
- Small scale farming: tools & techniques – Nat Wiseman. Nat started the wagtail farm which was the size of an urban backyard. He bought in tools that the home gardener can use to make weeding, planting seed and tilling soil easier. He now farms on a larger scale but still uses the same tools. He said he farms using the principles of Eliot Coleman who wrote The new organic grower. He suggested sowing seed every week in the green house so you always have something to plant out.
In between these fantastic workshops I had a very tasty pizza from the wood oven on site, there was a lot of very good food to choose from. Purchased a couple of seedlings for the garden, and chatted to some lovely people with similar interests.
It was a day connecting with like minded people, talking and listening about all things gardens, it was a perfect day for me, I look forward to next year and highly recommend it to you all if you are in my neck of the woods in September 2016.
Here is the link to the Seed Freedom Food Festival for all updates.