The Living Classroom is an ecological “wonderland”, a research centre and showcase for the future of agriculture and for city and country living – and now it is well on its way to being edible. The Food Forest Garden, which has been on the cards since plans were first developed for the classroom, recently began being planted with a dedicated team of at least 20 green thumbs planting over 130 plants of 77 different varieties recently.
Young green thumb Qynn Stamer with Gary Chor.
Adults and children gathered to plant bare-rooted fruit trees and other edible plants. Lots of fun was had, and the hard work was followed by a delicious picnic lunch overlooking the middle dam and the plantings.
The Food Forest is only a small part of a larger plan being developed called the Aussie Farm Dam Makeover. Thanks to design input from QUT students, a $52,000 grant sourced through Local Land Services, management from Northern Slopes Landcare, the support of the Gwydir Shire Council, and countless voluntary hours this project is moving ahead quickly.
What was once the ‘common’ is turning into a highly productive forest of food which combines a wide range of complementary agricultural activities with horticulture, aquaculture and forestry.
“We would like to thank all those who took the time to help out with the planting of the garden,” said organiser of the planting morning, Linda McDouall.
“A special thanks to Lou, Alec, Suzi, Gary, Jo, Paul, Christine, Diane, Don, Meaghan, Kai, Caoimhe, Qynn, Loiusa, Stefan, David, Frances and the rest of the team.”
Once the plants have been fully established and multiplied the food forest will be available to the entire community for all to enjoy.
Since Sunday strawberries, garlic chives, borage and Serbian garlic have been added by Garry and Linda McDouall who sourced the plants from their own Food Forest at The River House. “If anyone wishes to add any spare edible plants including herbs please plant on the site below the top dam along a drip line.”
As it stands now the Living Classroom is well on its way to providing inspiration and knowhow for the next generation of farmers and the regeneration of rural communities whilst also providing a natural oasis and forest of food for all to enjoy.