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May 23, 2017

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Hello and welcome to episode two of the Real Food Chain podcast! I’m Jon and we’ll hear from my co-host Rich later in the show.

This month’s focus is urban farming here in sunny Australia. Rich will be talking with Margaret Paton about her experiences growing food in her Blayney backyard using permaculture principles.

Before that let’s have a deeper look at urban farming.

This system of food production has much to recommend it. Food miles are reduced to zero. This strips all the green house gasses out of transport. If you also urban farm organically, and I’ll assume we’re all on that page, then you’re building soil carbon. Pulling CO2 out of the atmosphere and holding it in the soil, where it belongs. You are also not adding to the demand for poisons to be sprayed on your food. Basically a win, win, win situation!

In the upcoming interview Margaret talks about an extremely small garden which was her inspiration. This is worth bearing in mind. The amount of food we can grow in a small space is quite astonishing. Most of us have seen commercial market gardens and they are spread out affairs. Looking more closely we see this is not for the benefit of the plants but to allow tractor access for spraying of artificial fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides. If we grow in spaces better suited to humans and plants we can stack the plants quite closely. This has the advantage of shading out weeds, reducing water loss through evaporation and wildly increasing productivity.

Another benefit from small scale urban farming is the harvesting method. Instead of removing the whole lettuce to ship it off to a market, we can pick the outer leaves as we need them, allowing the lettuce to continue to grow. This maintains ground cover and means we don’t need to eat a whole lettuce before it goes off. You will notice flavour changes over the growing season but these are not off putting. I’ve done this and four lettuce, some silverbeet and a patch of rocket I trimmed in sections weekly kept four people in salad greens for seven months.

There is, as I’ve said much to recommend urban farming. Much to recommend permaculture too but I’ll let Margaret tell her take on that philosophy.

So here is Margaret Paton with co-host Rich.

Margaret's Interview here.

I hope that’s got you thinking. 10% of your food sounds like a good first target to aim for. We’d love to hear your thoughts on this. You reach us through the contact page on the website at which is also in the show notes.

Equally if you think you’d make a great guest or know someone else who would contact us at the same page. We’d love to hear from you.

Next month we plan to look at gut health and what we can make and do for ourselves to support this part of our health.

Until then, goodbye.