This month started quietly with much needed time out after an extraordinarily busy few months - particularly with the Open Studio Week at the Botanic Gardens at Mt Coot-tha in mid July. You can read all about that in the July posts on this blog. Go to archives in the sidebar.
There were several excellent events held during Open Studio Week which I have yet to add a comprehensive post on. Above is Principal Seed Collector/Lab Technician Jason Halford spoke at length about the fascinating work he does in conjunction with the Millennium Seedbank Project. You can read various posts at this blog that elaborate on this work by clicking on his name above. Presently Jason is in Nth Queensland collecting species from the various regions he researched in the weeks before setting off. Once return from that trip those involved in seed cleaning will come to the Lab... and I shall look forward to seeing what has been collected and hearing stories from the north.
The Sunday Dialogue event brought together a range of topics and interesting speakers and participants. Shown above are Sally McCreath (Friends of Felton in the Darling Downs region) and Nicki Laws (from the Acland area of the Darling Downs). On the right is Corinne Unger who was a Churchill Fellow last year and gave an excellent presentation on her Fellowship work exploring key internationally recognised projects that have successfully rehabilitated old mine sites into sustainable future oriented projects such as the Eden Project in Cornwall, England. I wrote about the Darling Downs region here in May.
The following images are from the site Friends of Felton - They came to the city on August 4th to protest their concerns outside Parliament House. I was pleased to be able to come along for a while and say hello to Sally and others. These children made quite a statement - the yellow triangular signs - 'Save our food bowls' - very apt as the Darling Downs has long been known as the "food bowl" of Australia.
5/8/10. Hundreds of farmers and environmentalists gathered outside State Parliament in Brisbane yesterday to demand action to protect our farmland, our environment, and our communities from mining.
The protest was the lead story on the evening news bulletins of all 4 major TV channels.
Watch the video reports here -
Channel 10 (recommended!) Channel 9 Channel 7 ABC
PlaceStory (recommended) (From the FOF website)
During the Dialogue day on Seeds, Biodiversity and Sustainability at the studio Corinne's considerable experience with land regeneration in sensitive Mine rehabiliation work made for valuable exchange with Sally and Nicki, both living in the Darling Downs on rural properties in communities dealing with massive changes brought on by mining companies coming in. In the case of Acland - 95% of the town has been dismantled for mining in that area. The Felton community realised what it would take to delay or stop this happening in their region and mobilised to become a very articulate, well-planned voice in the fight to save their community.
Corinne gave quite an insight into the immensely challenging task of regenerating land - both from the point of view of land degradation, and unsatisfactory clean ups that can occur, as well as a picture of the precise work to get the soil ready, choose vegetation best suited to the area, plus the ideal plantings needed in order to establish regeneration that in time can be deemed successful.
Carolyn Nuttal (above) was also a speaker on this day and brought her extensive experience of creating gardens in schools to the discussion. In 1992 she set up a school garden in her local State Primary School where she was teaching. Over time, realising what a successful programme she had come up with, a book was written and also published (and distributed) successfully in Japanese and Portuguese (for schools in Brazil). Carolyn is also involved with SUSTAIN QLD which I will refer to below.
On a different tangent August saw the move into the new studio I have been graciously offered to continue the Homage to the Seed work for the rest of the year. You can read about this Studio residency which is currently taking place at Percolator Gallery in Paddington via a recent post I wrote at the Studio blog. This excellent circumstance was set up and made possible by Helena Lloyd, owner of Brisbane's Percolator Gallery and I am indeed grateful to be the recipient of this very fine offer.... which is extremely timely and positive!
Despite calling August the "go-slow" month it has been far from that. Keeping a low profile is more the way to describe it... getting back into the studio for some uninterrupted hours has been vital and refreshing.... casting one's mind back over the year and then creating directions for the next months. Correspondences and connections have been caught up with and links to several interesting agendas made including an advocacy group still evolving called SUSTAIN QLD which looks at issues such as Food Security in this state. Attending a recent Dialogue event at the Brisbane City Library on Food in Schools was an great opportunity to learn more about what is happening across the community at State, regional and community level on this topic. With wide-ranging participation from across the health and education sectors, Food producers, and academic and grass roots layers... an important exchange took place amidst a room of passionate people....each with a strong, individual idea of what is needed for the future and it would seem the dedication to work towards that in the endeavors they are already involved with. An insirng group ...keen to find actions and pathways that lead to the most worthwhile results.
I was fortunate to meet people involved in the School Kitchen Garden programs and I hope to go visit one or two of those schools soon. One of the schools has planned a trip to the Botanic gardens for tomorrow for 3 classes so a space is booked to do a "homage to the seed" presentation to the various classes. Shall make sure to take a camera along!
So...August was quiet, but not that slow!! Sustaining connections takes time... so worthwhile however when the conversation keeps growing and deepening - and the links keep intersecting and strengthening!