The Producers

Green thumbs up!

Help us produce produce and make a sustainable impact.

Keen to grow some produce? Want to meet others and create a model for living a sustainable life? The Producers plant, maintain and harvest veggies (or "produce" ...get it, now?) around campus. We also run workshops giving aimed at boosting your greenery-confidence and giving you foodie ideas. 

Volunteer!

If sustainability is your specialty and you have a green thumb, The Producers is the place for your passion to grow.

Volunteer to nurture your own produce, build planter boxes and care for on-campus gardens.

Volunteers also run regular workshops, host pop-ups on campus and cook up a storm using the fresh produce.

Volunteering with The Producers is also recognised on your Australian Higher Education Graduation Statement (AHEGS).

Deets

Intake | Applications open 2019

Time commitment | LIGHT

World Food Day Workshops

Keen to reduce your food miles, grow organic fresh produce or simply get your hands dirty - but not sure how to start?

No problem! - The Producers will be running a gardening 101 workshop - covering (what we think) are the most important parts of getting started gardening - what plants to pick, where to plant them, how to grow from seed and how to get them growing!

We'll be up at Gate 7 from 11:00 Tuesday 16th.

Following that at 12:00, we'll be making up a quick bit of pesto from the garden - stopping down at Thoughtful Foods for a few other supplies. So if you're keen to have a walk around the garden, see what's growing and how you can too - come along!

Finally, at 2:00, we'll be running our kitchen gardening workshop - covering all the different ways you can grow herbs and garnishes right in the kitchen - full sunshine and soil not necessary!

But if you're not free during the day Thoughtful Foods is also hosting a potluck dinner - a great chance to meet great folks, as well as get to know the on-campus food coop and all the opportunities there!

Flowers! (Which are also edible)

Spring has arrived! It's a great time now to get planting - you can plant just about anything round about now - a few late winter crops or early summer crops - the choice is yours!

With all that new sunshine and nice warm days - you start to get plants going to flower - like this rocket (white flower) and this brassica (yellow flowers to right) go to flower, seed and then die off. 

That's a little sad - because the leaves tend to become a lot more bitter - but the great news is you now have the flowers! Each have a unique taste, and are a colourful addition to salads, pastas or anywhere you might otherwise use their parent vegetables.

Of course, the benefits go on from there - bees tend to love the flowers, and you're setting up seed to be saved - growing locally adapted and optimised varieties to your garden.

Sprouts, Microgreens and Wormfarms!

Hope those who attended our GIY Workshops enjoyed themselves, we certainly did.

If you missed out, but would still love to learn more - you can sign up for our mailing list here, and we'll let you know when our next round of workshops will be.

For those who attended workshop 4 - we mentioned a few resources and here they are - Green Harvest's Microgreens and Sprouts Guide and Kimbriki Eco House's Worm Farm Guide.

Happy gardening!

GIY Workshop 4: You can grow anywhere

Or how to grow stuff without a backyard or balcony

So you know what to grow, how to prep the soil for great results and stop bugs from eating everything before you do - one problem - you don't have a backyard or balcony to grow anything on.

No problem! In this workshop, we'll be running through sprouts, microgreens and container gardens - all different ways of growing things without large garden beds - some don't even need (very much) sunlight! 

GIY Workshop 3: Trust the system - find nature's balance

AKA How to stop pests from eating all your produce

So you know what plants you want to grow, what plants are going to do well where you’re planning to grow, and you’ve got your composting bug sorted with kickass soil.

But what do you do when your resident bugs eat all you’ve grown before you get to it?

This workshop, we’re talking “integrated pest management” – fancy speak for getting plants and natural predators to control all your pest problems for you – so IDing pest and predators, using controls, habitat design and problem prevention.

We’ll be in the Quad 1:15 – 1:55, with a different workshop (Good soils) from 2:05.

GIY Workshop 2: Start with the foundations - Good soil is life

Ever hear you are what you eat? 

Well growing plants are the same way - good soil is going to make growing anything way easier. And so our second workshop focuses on just that - figuring out what great soil is, and how to get it for your garden - wherever that is.

We'll talk worms (red wriggler vs. earth), compost, store ready fertilizers, soil improving plants (legumes anyone?) and how you can start a garden and amazing soil from scratch - no soil required!

GIY Workshop 1: Growing isn't actually that hard - if in doubt garden!

AKA: How to do lazy gardening

So you've heard the world is going crazy - that food security (and sovereignty) is an evermore present issue.

Or maybe you just want some great fresh produce on your windowsill, in your backyard - or maybe you're just a little curious how that food on your plate got produced.

Well let's start with the basics - what plants need to grow, and how we can make our life easier by gardening with that in mind.

We'll be talking about how to raise your own seeds and save some serious cash, what seeds and plants to choose (really consider perennials) and how you can learn to see the world like your plants do - and begin to grow some really easy and fast produce for you to start eating (radishes!)

G-I-Y Workshops

Grow It Yourself!

Ever wonder how to grow your own vegetables and herbs? Not sure where to start? 

Well the Producers will be running a 4 week workshop series taking you through the entire process from seeds to planter boxes - no previous experience required!

Sharewaste

Can't have a compost or worm farm at home? Keen to help out your local gardeners and reduce your own food waste at the same time?

Sharewaste might be exactly the thing you're looking for! You can find people living nearby who are looking for food scrap donations to turn into black gold. If you're on campus - The Producers would love to have your food scraps! You can find our compost bin at the entrance to Gate 7 - if you're not sure where it is, shoot us an email and we'll give you a bit of a tour!

Check it out - there might be a Sharewaste donor right next door

Green Manures and Biological Controls

Here at The Producers, we're lucky enough to partner with Colombo House who have provided us tremendous support in our partnership around their rooftop garden. 

Here you can see a green manure - plant species which you grow and then incorporate into the soil to help improve fertility. This can help reduce a garden's reliance on outside fertilizers, as well as give the soil a break.

This green manure is also a biological control for a soil problem we're having there. This relates to some of the integrated pest management thinking that relates to sustainable growing - for example encouraging natural predators to control pests instead of using pesticides, which damage the entire ecosystem.

Understory Forest Gardening

We've mentioned permaculture before as the combination of organic gardening and design, as well as part of our guiding philosophy here at The Producers. 

One of its other aspects is a focus on learning from and working with nature, rather than fighting or conquering it. One of the ways permaculturists practise this is with forest gardening, where useful plants are selected to mimic a natural ecosystem, which is constantly evolving and creating little niches for different plants and animals/insects to thrive.

Here you can see the beginning of our own attempt at a forest garden (focused on understory plants because of the shade that our garden gets). You can see 

- native violets and oats as a living mulch/ground cover to keep soil moist

- tree/walking onions, sea celery and climbing peas to use up more vertical space

- comfrey as a accumulator/fertilizer plant to improve the soil and,

- chard, (and not in picture) gingers and arrowroot to provide windbreaks, shade and fill the tallest part of the understory.

Vertical Potatoes?

Vertical potatoes.

While we're talking about vertical planting - how about potatoes? 

Typically you need very rich, deep soil to get a good harvest of potatoes - but by going up instead of down, you can produce your own spuds, even on a balcony.

You start with a small/shallow container which you can build up, and plant your special "seed" potatoes (checked to be free from disease, grow inhibitors, soil affecting pesticides). As the growing tips of the potato emerge, you keep burying the majority of the stem with more good quality soil.

And hopefully by the growing season's end, you will have an entire tower's worth of potatoes. Fingers crossed!


Vertical Planting

One of the things our volunteers do is experiment and prototype different ways of growing our food in the big city.

Here's a vertical planter we finished off recently - we're hoping the seeds germinate in this cold weather - but we think the idea's cool either way

Worms alive!

Here's a picture from our volunteer wormfarm - thankfully we haven't had too many escapees in this wet weather - but it's early days yet. 

If you're interested in learning how to make your own - keep an eye out for workshops we're planning to run next sem or check out some of the resources below!

Here's a great guide to wormfarming from Kimbriki Eco House and Garden.

Or check out Compost Revolution, a great organisation partnered with most of your local councils which provides really great discounts - up to 80% off!


Edibles indoors!

Wednesday Week 11 we ran a kitchen gardening workshop in collaboration with the fantastic Enviro Collective as part of their Students and Sustainability workshop day.

We covered sprouts, microgreens, container gardens and worm farming - all of which can be done right in your kitchen - some of which you don't even need sunshine for!

If you're interested in starting your own - http://greenharvest.com.au/Dow... is a great resource for getting started.

Keep your eyes peeled for other workshops you might be interested in through the Arc Facebook page - or if you're interested in getting more involved, and maybe even running workshops with us - keep your eyes open for semester 2 recruitment - opening soon!

Terrariums!

Week 8 saw us run our succulent terrarium workshop again, in collaboration with Arc How To - this year run by Artsweek.

Whilst these succulents aren't edible - these terrarium are a decent bit of fun to make, as well as bring a little gardening inside.

Plus they're a great way to practice observing and playing around with our environment. Try a  new spot, or watering regime, seeing what happens and then adjusting from there - something we try do with our projects here at the Producers.

Don't worry if you missed out though - the Producers will likely be back next sem with another terrarium workshop!

The Herb Spiral

I've been meaning to do a write-up of this for a while - but this is the herb spiral - the weirdly shaped planter you can see outside the Arc Clubs space.

The herb spiral gets at the "philosophy" of what we try do at the Producers - combine gardening with design.

By spiraling up (or down - depending on perspective) the herb spiral creates the optimum growing conditions (micro-climates) for each plant to thrive. From high, dry and sunny at the top for rosemary and thyme to moist, sheltered and shady at the bottom for mint and lemon balm.

If you're interested, stop us anytime we're out in the garden (or up at Gate 7) for a chat!


Meet Your 2019 Coordinator

Jono

Hi there! I’m Jonathan – 3rd year civil and environmental engineering student. I joined the Producers in my first year because I was interested in self-sufficiency but stayed for everything that goes into living and growing food sustainably.

Having misidentified roughly half the plants I’ve ever seen, and killed a little more than my fair share, I think it’s safe to say I’ve learnt a few lessons along the way – about what not to do. But I’m a reformed man now - trust me.

But in all seriousness, if you’re interested in learning to grow some of your own food, how to keep a worm farm alive, are just interested in making things a little more “sustainable” and getting your hands dirty (or not) we’re always open to new volunteers - no matter your background or experience.  

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