“The word ‘pest’ is thrown around a lot,” observes Dennis Collins, ranger at Sydney's Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden. But, he says, you don’t need a “take no prisoners” approach to bugs. Spraying with broad-spectrum pesticides can harm more than just the insects and spiders in your garden and home – it can also affect the birds, mammals, reptiles and frogs in your neighbourhood. Read our guide to controlling insects without a spray!
National Recycling Week (in mid-November) focuses our attention on the ‘circular economy’. These words convey that we can still be productive and not damage the earth! Planet Ark reports that in the 20 years to 2015, Australia’s population increased by 28% and waste levels grew by 170%. But, the good news is that recycling is growing at an even faster rate than waste. This feature provides links to the wonderful resources created by Planet Ark.
The Johns Hopkins Health Review is one of the world’s leading health authorities and it has just published positive research on what the American Council on Exercise calls ‘faith-based fitness’, one of the year’s top trends. This trend shows how public health and religion can assist one another. We bring you an edited version of the Review feature by Shiela Mulrooney Eldred just published.
Food insecurity remains a constant struggle in many families around the globe with over three million children dying before their 5th birthday because of poor nutrition. Lyra Villafana has compiled this excellent report on how you can assist.
Calling all bird watchers! The annual Aussie Backyard Bird Count runs between 23rd to 29th of October to let us know more about our bird population in urban and other areas. Click here to register: https://aussiebirdcount.org.au/ With just under 1.4 million bird records submitted last year, The Aussie Backyard Bird Count needs participants to help identify bird trends around Australia.
Free food, anyone? Lyra Villafana looks at the growing number of online communities and mobile apps making it easier to share surplus harvest from backyard gardens. From Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to iPhone and Android apps, choices run aplenty for people seeking to swap their excess produce to reduce food wastage. FoodFaith and Crop Swap have collaborated on one such successful food swap. Other notable apps: Spare Harvest, Olio, Urb, Grow2Share and Giving Garden.
You may never look at a piece of seaweed the same way. Research is showing that seaweed has vast potential to draw carbon out of the atmosphere – and to also provide a generous food source for fish. In his new book, Sunlight and Seaweed, Prof Tim Flannery explores the potential of kelp, a fast-growing sea algae, to be used on a large scale to convert carbon from the air to a non-gaseous form, reducing levels of atmospheric carbon.
Food choices can make a big difference to the health of the planet. From the excellent Naked Scientists website, University of Oxford Dr Peter Scarborough, takes us through what you can do every day to help yourself and a more sustainable future.
FoodFaith, along with Crop Swap, showcases Oliver Brown, who spent one year avoiding the supermarket and eating only what he could grow, forage, fish and hunt. The Sydney resident from Maroubra set himself a task - to spend 365 days only eating food he could either grow in his backyard, hunt for himself or barter.
Read our guide to growing Indigenous edible plants - on your balcony or in your garden. Well-known horticulturalist Narelle Happ provides top tips and some examples of what to grow and how to use them.
The Fairtrade Organisation works to create a stable income for farmers and workers in developing countries. Fairtrade, synonymous with ethical and optimum working conditions, supports millions of farmers and workers in over 70 countries around the world. Products and produce grown and developed in an ethical way and adhering to fair trade principles established by the organisation are provided with the Fairtrade mark.
Steve Parish, one of Australia's best-known photographers recognised for his inspirational images of nature, talks to Brendan McCool. He shares his tips for photographing trees and says that connection with our landscape is more important than ever.
Images courtesy of Steve Parish.
FoodFaith aims to build bridges across different faith, cultural and community groups through our shared learnings and practices of food and sustainability. The not-for-profit organisation brings to the table the traditions and wisdoms of faiths and cultures through community gardens, media communications, events and educational programs.
Question: How can you slow the growth of weeds in your garden and improve the texture of the soil without spending a lot of money on commercial products? Answer: Turn your household rubbish into compost. More than half of your domestic waste is compostable anyway. Click here for our "Composting 101 for Absolute Beginners".
This month we celebrate National Tree Day to help promote a sustainable future. National Tree Day was started in Australia in 1996 and aims to bring the community together and reconnect with nature. Thanks to Steve Parish for his beautiful image of the giant ghost gum tree which is said to be the tallest of its type in the world
The Gateway Bug documentary features this month at the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival. It explores entomophagy, the practice of consuming insects. Two billion people in 80 per cent of the world’s countries consume insects as part of their daily diet, and entomophagy has been practiced by those cultures for thousands of years. Western cultures have only recently become aware of the culinary and nutritional advantages of the more than 1,900 known edible insects.
NAIDOC Week is an annual festival hosted between July 2nd and July 9th to celebrate Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander cultures, communities and achievements.
Ever wondered what 'crop rotation' involves? It may not be applicable to community gardens but the concept is key to healthy planting. Some information for "edible edification"!
Refugee Week provides an important reminder that the world is currently experiencing a humanitarian crisis, with over 65 million people currently forcibly displaced from their homes. It is important we know what is happening and how to help these people in need.
Celebrating Global Wind Day on June 16th, we clear the air with the latest research on wind energy. Wind farms are becoming a more viable option for renewable energy in Australia as climate change demands less greenhouse gas intensive energy sources. Reporting from Haley Olexa.