A more locally connected, resilient and tasty Australian future? How to support all these newly enthused food gardeners

So, you are stuck at home. You may be isolating, quarantined, or suddenly found yourself under- or completely unemployed with too much time on your hands. You sit with your family, your children, your housemates or by yourself. You watch the news and hear from others about the panic-buying. You’re concerned over food supplies and the fresh food you can find at the shop seems expensive. What are you going to do? Well you could do what many people have done, rush to buy a bunch of food seeds and seedlings. The idea is to “grow your own” and hopefully secure a more reliable (and cheaper?) supply of fresh food. The only problem is, you’re not really sure how to grow food plants – you can keep your house plants and the shrubs in your garden alive sure, but this seems a bit more complicated…

This is the reality for many Australians at the moment. This swell of new food gardeners is a wonderful outcome from the concern and restrictions of the COVID-19 crisis. But how likely are these gardens to flourish? Do newbie gardeners have the skills and experience to produce reasonable and consistent amounts of food for their households this autumn and winter? Or will most of them watch disheartened as their newly minted “victory gardens” fail? The latest results from “Edible Gardens“, a state-wide citizen science project from the University of South Australia, suggest huge variability in the effectiveness of home food gardens.

So, what can we as a country do to help all these newly enthused food gardeners succeed? And how good would it be to come out of this crisis with households and communities that were more resilient, more productive, and more inter-connected than ever?

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Long grass at the bottom of outdoor stairs

5 Ways to Wellbeing in Nature

A little while ago I was asked if I wouldn’t mind talking about what “Keep Learning” means to me. It was for the new South Australian ‘Healthy Parks, Healthy People’ initiative about 5 Ways to Wellbeing in Nature. This clip is the result.

I really like the gentleness of the clip and the stories. Instead of being told that the only valuable way to live is to rush and get lots of things done all the time – this initiative encourages people to:

Connect: Make time for people and enjoy the world around you.
Be Active: Move your body. Breathe in the fresh air.
Take Notice: Find a moment to take in the beauty of nature.
Keep Learning: Be curious about nature and discover something new.
Give: Do something nice for someone. Do something nice for the environment.

Enjoy some time in nature.

Why online presence is important for all scientists: The League of Remarkable Women in Science, interview Dr Rachael Dunlop

What a brilliant interview with Dr Rachael Dunlop – I love the idea of starting by learning to communicate effectively and THEN getting into science. Possible a harder way of doing things but she has made it a success.

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