Ediblescapes responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by way of a temporary departure from our original goal to cultivate the Edible Landscapes Gardens in the design of food forest contained with a public landscape garden. Instead, we have scaled up our biointensive growing bed to produce more vegetables and fruit to service the increased number of food insecure people using Nerang’s Neighbourhood Food Bank service. Our agroecological growing practices allowed us to provide fresh, nutritious food.
Ediblescapes selected and implemented an organic biointensive growing method capable of growing more food in less space. We coupled this with application of the fermented natural fertiliser that we develop on-site. We also adapted some aspect of India’s Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF). In our view, a practical, demonstrative garden modelled on ZBNF gives low-income families the opportunity to grow a proportion of their own food with minimal capital.
Biointensive growing, biological growing and ZBNF - like biodynamics, regenerative agriculture and indigenous food systems – all enable community food to be grown. The challenge for Ediblescapes is to adapt our capacities to an urban food system in a way that reduces the external ecological footprint on gardens.
Ediblescapes advocates for growing social food in communal spaces, as evidenced by our gardens in Nerang’s Country Paradise Parklands. Social food directly benefits local citizens who are experiencing food crisis or insecurity. It provides both volunteer occupation through our hands-on education program, and a harmonious experiential public space for parkland visitors.
EdibleScapes operates solely with volunteers, however we encourage governments to examine the national food system and redistribute financial support away from industrial agriculture to sustainable, urban community initiatives, including communal edible gardens and city farms that with paid public service workers. Such initiatives can augment urban food security, provide dignified employment and reduce healthcare costs associated with illnesses related to malnutrition from inadequate nutritional density of fresh food and exposure to chemically-laden crops.
Urban growing can ameliorate suburban communities and enhance wellbeing and people’s sense of purpose. Through the nature of urban farms being focused on local production, distribution and waste reduction, they most certainly mitigate climate change impacts associated with industrial-scale farming.
Ediblescapes supports Sustain: The Australian Food Network, who called for the creation of a $500 million National Edible Gardening Fund, which it claims will create 3,000 new jobs and boast urban agriculture across Australia. See: https://sustain.org.au/media/documents/SUSTAIN_Pandemic-Gardening-Action-Agenda.pdf
Ediblescapes has until now, run its programs with minimal funding, while the permanent Edible Landscapes Gardens have been largely supported by local Councillor Peter Young. We want to ensure future financial viability of the project and are serious about generating our own income – we are now embarking on a social enterprise operation to fund our future programs.
Over the last two years, we have researched, experimented, and developed an effective fermented biological fertiliser (biofertiliser). It is comprised of food waste (non-harvestable or consumable produce) collected from the Edible Landscape Gardens, green waste and brown waste collected from the parklands. Our weekly delivery of freshly harvested produce to Nerang Food Bank is a testimony of the efficacy of these fertilisers.
BIOL-SOL and BOFFF are the two biofertilisers that we intend to trade under our social enterprise branch, Ediblescapes_SE. This will allow us to fundraise for Ediblescapes volunteer and public outreach programs, as well as design a marketing strategy for our ‘social good’ framework that will allow us to replicate our community education program across the city, and encourage the propagation of edible gardens, returning to the core objective of Ediblescapes Inc.
We would like to develop mutually beneficial relationships with local gardeners and growers – we hope to do this by exchanging our biofertiliser for your individual support in the Ediblescapes program.
We do not intend to sell compost or cultivated soil, the other products of our volunteer work.
What are BIOL-SOL and BOFFF?
BIOL-SOL and BOFFF derive from microorganic reproduction through a process of fermentation of organic matter. It is an effective way of composting organic matter and accelerating humus production to create microorganic-rich soil boosters.
BIOL-SOL: plant fertiliser used as a vegan substitute for animal manure in urban edible gardens. BIOL-SOL fertiliser is a concentration best used as a dilution of 5% in water, or 1: 20 ratio, for foliar application and/or soil watering.
BOFFF: Bokashi Organic Fermented Food Fertiliser - soil fertiliser used to create microbe-rich soil ready for planting or to accelerate plant growth through root absorption. Combine with sifted soil for seedling development in trays. When transplanting seedlings, add directly to the base of the hole where the seedling is to be planted. Use as a maintenance soil fertiliser during the growing months.
We use raw bokashi to ferment organic waste in a process that firstly separates the liquid from the solid, followed by anaerobic fermentation to produce biological solid fertiliser and biological liquid fertiliser. In the final step, both the liquid and solid fertilisers are remixed for further aerobic fermentation and compotation, thus creating BIOL-SOL.
We have observed that hot composting produces considerable nutrient loss through liquid leaching. In contrast, fermentation of organic matter does not lead to leaching, and instead results in a high concentration of nutrients, biotics and mineral elements contained within the end product.