Tuesday, 7 May 2013

The Food Forest - a short photo tour

The Food Forest is a 15 hectare, certified organic permaculture farm and learning centre in Gawler, just 1 hour north of Adelaide. 

It is the result of the vision of its owners Graham and Annemarie Brookman who purchased the property in 1983 when it was essentially a bare paddock. It now hosts over 150 varieties of organically grown fruit and nuts, wheat and vegetables, honey and carob beans, as well as free range eggs, nursery plants and timber.

In addition to running a Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course each year, Graham and Annemarie also run a variety of short courses and host open days. It's a beautiful learning environment and the residential aspect of the PDC really allows you to immerse yourself in learning about sustainable living.

Here are a few photos taken around the property:

The heritage-listed homestead was built in the first few years of white settlement in South Australia. It has been extended using passive solar design with a combination of straw bale, stone and well insulated corrugated iron.

The original homestead

Under the verandah - original homestead

Strawbale extension to original homestead

Grapevine on pergola shades the strawbale extension

The old stone barn has been converted to a learning centre where the course lectures were presented, and a communal meals area.

Old barn - meals area

Old barn - indoor learning centre

In the learning centre - David Holmgren teaching

Just by the learning centre is the composting 'loo with a view'. It's a Clivus Multrum composting toilet and reedbed system which transforms human by-products into rich compost for fertiliser, as well as reeds for mulching and bamboo for furniture and structural work.

Composting toilets - loo with a view!

Behind the main house is a strawbale pergola with cob oven and herb garden - just perfect for plucking fresh herbs to put on your pizza before it slides into the oven.

Strawbale wall pergola with cob oven - in zone 1

Strawbale building techniques were also used to build the accommodation for those attending the course.

Strawbale accommodation

Even the farm's coolroom was made from strawbales.

The 'sand-pit' teaching area was a great way to demonstrate concepts such as keyline irrigation. And yes, it was made from strawbale too!

I can't finish this post without a photo of the food.  The meals were magnificent - all healthy, local and in-season food with a lot of the ingredients harvested directly from the Food Forest.

We're looking forward to returning to finish the course.

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