Today I (Manu) visited Joe and Jo, the two powerhouses behind the Blue Mountains Urban Growers Co-Op: a wonderful initiative bringing together backyard food growers, selling beautiful fresh organic produce at the Lawson Magpie Markets.
Before setting off on this adventure, Joe and Jo ran the super successful Crop & Swap in Faulconbridge for many years. It was a true institution and a lovely gathering of food growers, a few of which went on to join their Urban Growers Co-op.
Joe and Jo's garden is, as you can expect, truly inspiring. The front yard is populated by rows and rows of beautiful vegetables and a number of fruit and nut trees. Their backyard is home to more edible perennials and their beehive. They have also set up a communal vegetable plot on the adjacent verge, and by communal vegetable plot I mean a fully functioning mini communal market garden that really, truly means business.
They keep chickens and quail. They are trialing quails as an integrated element in their bio-intensive growing system, using them as 'cleaners' after a crop has run its course. They use locally sourced horse manure, wood chips and of course chicken and quail droppings to add organic matter to their soil and feed their plants. Their front yard market garden is the most healthy and productive I have seen in the Blue Mountains (and I have seen many).
I left with gifts of one of their beautiful garlic plaits, delicious heirloom tomatoes, a handful of pigeon pea seeds, and a warm heart. Truly inspirational. Here's to lovely people growing local food and community.