Edible City

I just watched a great documentary titled “Edible City: The Movie”.   Filmed mainly around the Bay area of California, it shows the rising movement of urban farmers, claiming back desolate parts  of the city to make urban farms.  It runs for just over 60 minutes, but is well worth it.  It inspired me to try harder.

I really enjoyed it, and it struck a chord with me.  I think I need to change the way I look at my sustainable living project.  If I put my mind to it, I could easily grow enough fresh food to support my family to a fairly high level of self-sufficiency.

It just takes time when there is only one urban farmer in the family.  I need to make the effort to help other people to grow truly local food, which is one of the most important skills one can have in troubled times.

So it starts here, its starts now.  More food in the ground, and teaching more people how to grow it, starting with family and friends.  Growing food when it counts is harder than just growing it for a hobby.

Now to convince the rest of the clan!


  1. Anonymous says

    Hi Gavin,
    l have been reading your blog for awhile and find it a great inspiration, last year we were growing quiet a few veggies. This year next to none as there has been no sun in our backyard from all the large trees around our boundary. l wish something would grow even my fruit trees are struggling.
    thanks for the great blog

  2. says

    Thanks for posting this, Gavin. It’s a much talked about phenomena at the minute, but little seems to be happening. Well here in Australia at least.

    I live in a capital city and behind my inner city townhouse is a vacant lot that my neighbours have gated and started planting in. Fortunately, the council has turned a blind eye, as the land was being used as an ad hoc car park prior. It does wonders for the street and gets all sorts of positive looks and comments from passers by. There needs to be more of this!

  3. says

    Thanks everyone for the overwhelming feedback. It was a great find, and we can thank dixiebelle for the initial discovery that she shared on her facebook page. It just worked on the theme and became inspired.


  4. says

    I absolutely loved it! It has inspired me to try harder at home. Also I am about to take over the vege gardens in the school where I work so I will show it to the kids (minus the bunny bit).

    I will send the link to everyone I know, it’s such a heartwarming and fascinating story.

  5. says

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention, it’s brilliant! Very inspiring in the way that The Power of Community is. I will share this too, it needs to be spread far and wide! Keep up the good work.

  6. Anonymous says

    Hi Gavin
    I enjoyed the film – thank you. When you say “It just takes time when there is only one urban farmer in the family. ” do you mean that you do all the vegetable growing, looking after chickens etc….all by yourself and no one else in your family helps? If yes, it is a huge amount of work, especially if you work outside the home as well. I don’t know how you manage it! It might be timely to do a post on how to get the rest of the familly involved?

  7. says

    I havent watched the movie yet, but its been 40 years since I started the self sufficient journey on our suburban block.We use the front and the back most of it is garden,but I have found you have to be 4 people. Hunter, Gatherer,Farmer,Barter.So Gavin here is how I think.
    Hunter is just that fishing and killing your own chickens,and keeping an eye out for that pile of pumpkins for a $1 ea or apples @69c kg.Cheap tomatoes for saucing and bottling.$5.99kg cryovat meat that can be sliced into steaks or mince.
    Gatherer, find the pick your own fruit places or go get those wild apples growing outside like Armidale, or excess fruit and veg off someones elses garden.
    Farmer. Grow twice as much as you think, 4 – 6 climbing bean seeds per person every 2nd month will give you enough to freeze over winter.
    Grow the herbs you use never buy, even ginger in a hot house.Always have carrots ready to pull.Grow soft lettuces so you only use leaves.Think about quantity first so you can freeze or bottle, then variety as thats a bonus.Use flower pots not every thing has to go in the ground. Never buy jam or lemon cordial its easy to make.Get a machine to make bread,beer,fizzy drink,yogurt and cheese and butter if you feel the need.
    Barter the excess especially with fishermen and people who slaughter a cow or chickens regularly. Swap your talents. Hubby often swaps bottles of wine for troubleshooting computers.
    I love how you can get out into the community and teach My garden is on Aussies Living Simply Garden Log. In my Kitchen Garden by Kasalia (thats me lol) if you are interested, I am about to update it, as we have re-done the front no lawn anywhere now.I also did one on preserving as that is the key to self sufficiency.Hope this gives you more food for thought.

  8. says

    Watched the movie last night, really enjoyed it. While I totally “get” your sudden desire to increase your home production, I think the take away message from the movie for me was that there needs to be a way to get locally grown veg into the hands of urban dwellers who don’t have the space or know how to grow theire own. That urban agriculture is alive and well in surprising places and that the next step has to be getting it into the hands and mouths of the masses. Co-op produce stores, co-op gardens, food classes in school, etc. So those of us who are able to grow our own absolutely should, but there is also a huge need to get that ability into the hands of everone.

  9. says

    Excellent! As you know Gavin, I’m with you all the way! I only have a 280 square metre block (and yes, that is including the house) and there are times in summer where I don’t need to buy any veggies. And this is a seriously small garden! Your block of land looks much bigger. I’m pretty excited to see how much food you can pack in! Good on you.

  10. says

    I am about to embrak on my own home veggie garden with the aim to supply as much as our food as possible. Move into the new home in Bacchus Marsh in 4 weeks

    I face the same fate as you though Gav – its only me and my partner and he aint interested in gardening. The bugger will happily eat the veges I grow but just isnt into it. Luckily though hes very excited about the chooks, so it will be his job to clean the chook pen and collect the eggs etc.

    Anyway, we do our best. You have inspired me alot though and I love your blog. Looking forward to bringing some of my spare growings down to the Melton Sustainability group for a food swap :)

    • Anonymous says

      Hi there Emma, there is a produce swap in Bacchus Marsh also, first Sunday of the month in Main Street.

  11. says

    When we move (auction is 11 days now) I am hoping to grow enough to feed our family (or as close to as possible). We will be just up the road from you in Ballan. I have a dear friend in Trentham and we will hopefully be swapping crops where we have a glut. We both use fowlers vacola to water bath preserve and we also both have pressure canners so here’s hoping the next 12 months (beginning with getting the house and moving in over the next 2 months) brings about near full sustainability with food. We’re also planning to raise chickens (Dorkings) for both eggs and meat. Wish me luck? And best of luck to you too.

  12. says

    Hi.. I’m sure your familiar with the site Urban Homestead
    where a family of 4 live on a suburban block in California [I think} and are pretty self sufficient and also sell. It takes planning and lots of mulch.
    Our home grown bi-montly mag Grass Roots from Sheparton/Nagambie are is our bible. A great read and with so many sensible ideas. I’ve learned that it is not worth growing vegetables that you don’t really like, that take a lot of processing or are difficult to grow.
    Thank you for the time and effort you put into your blog. It is greatly appreciated.

  13. says

    We have 5 acres here but I only use the area around the house for fruit and veg but can grow enough to not have to buy any. We eat plain, easy to grow stuff though, nothing fancy or anything that needs too much hard work. I think if we all do more than we did last week then we are doing alright. But in saying that I am growing less than I did 2 years ago, still enough but not more…

    Gavin, I’m sure you have gotten lots of people to plant something that they thought they couldn’t.

    I will watch that tonight.


  14. says

    What a lovely idea , Gavin. Though I must remind you that you have 416 followers you influence everyday- your ideas are already spreading.
    I look forward to seeing what you will come up with next in your garden , because I have 300 acres and you have a suburban block , and you are growing far more than I am!

  15. sawn48 says

    Gavin, I think you already do an amazing job of utilizing the piece of property you have there. I use you for my example many times when telling others how a piece of property,no matter how small, can be used to it’s fullest potential.I know you strive to do better, but if only a fraction of the people of the world would do only half as good as you have done and are doing, the world would be a much greener place.

  16. says

    We have a small, rented piece of land which we grow a large amount of our veg…I’ve just pulled enough onions up today to last good few months…the potatoes are next to come up and be stored….we have also got aubergines, tomatoes and various squash..courgettes too..it’s very hot at the moment which means watering has to be remembered to do daily…but that’s it and it’s wonderful to go out, pick your food, take it home and cook it within mins……
    Go for it
    Take care

  17. says

    Gavin, I agree with you. Its a bit late to start watching it now but it sounds something similar to a project they have on The River Cottage in the UK whereby they have convinced Churches, Councils and Landowners to give over vacant unused land for groups to grow food in a community garden setup. They have been really sucessful and have proven not a burden but a gift to the land providers in new friendships and in supporting communities. Goodness, there seem to be quite a few over there who do not eat vegies. Adults who have never eaten greens??? I found it enlightening and heartening that there is now a movement of this kind worldwide. Keep up the good work. Hey, did you see the program funded by Wyndham Council via Shoestring Gardening. Im booked into my first 2 day permaculture course on 25th Aug with additional ones each month. Cant Wait – Rates finally put to good use.

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