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Read what people are saying about Michael's work. 

Contact Michael to see how he can help you build a more Sustainable Urban Environment

18 September 2009

Dear Michael,

My husband and I managed to catch your last session on Sunday during the Sustainable House Day Inspection and I wanted to let you know how you have changed our lives and regenerated our energy toward living more sustainably.

 We received your book as a gift about 10 years ago and over the years have picked it up and read a bit here and there.  After 2 children, several businesses and houses later we both found ourselves looking for new direction.  I watched one of your YouTube videos regarding street gardens and started to make a plan with my husband for a sustainable garden.  It was after a week long working holiday in Thursday Island my husband came back inspired by days filled with catching and growing your own food.  Since May we have removed our conventional garden in Croydon Park and built raised garden beds – under the helpful instruction of my 70 something year old mother who lives with us.  We have Orange, mandarin, lemon, and lime trees 2 of each.  2 Kiwi plants and 2 passionfruit vines, a grape vine, almost 20 tomato plants and several broad beans, snow peas, silver beet, spinach, broccoli, mixed lettuce, carrots, beetroot, onions, garlic, leeks, chilli, capsicum, zucchini, eggplant, corn, watermelon, rockmelon, strawberries, blue berries, sweet potato and a huge variety of herbs and Chinese vegetables.  We also built a very large chicken yard and Agro, Mad Max, Ruddy and Marcella have produced about 80 eggs to date and consumed countless amounts of kitchen scraps and left over food.

What we have noticed over the last 4 months is that since the chickens we have started to find it difficult to fill the rubbish bin (small thanks to worm farm and composting bin as well).  My sister-in-law and mother-in-law have all started giving us their kitchen and food wastes and they have reduced their bins as well as reduced their cooking amounts as it was becoming very clear that they have been throwing a huge amount of food away.  We have been eating from the garden for over a month now and the savings have been about $30 per week (things still growing) but we have already eaten 2 crops of Chinese Veg and 6 mixed lettuce bunches.  We have so much space in our 500l fridge that we sold our other fridge as it was no longer needed.  I think that is because we have more things in the garden so we pick when we eat and there are no leftovers because the chickens basically eat them all.  We originally built 2 x 6m x1m raised garden beds and we need more space.  Probably another 6m garden bed would work for us and then we need to make some changes like not so many tomatoes next time.  We have also started growing our own seedlings.  After seeing your bees we are looking into starting our own colony.

What are we going to do next?  Well there is a whole list.  (1) The council (Burwood) did us a favour 5 years ago when we put in plans to build a big 2 storey house and rejected it until last year when we pulled the plug.  Now it is just a matter of do we tear the house down or renovate.  We want solar and have been talking about wind power and of course we were inspired by a house in Northbridge with his 54 solar panels.  The house we live in now is in desperate need of help with guttering, rain harvesting and redesigning.  We have the luxury of having the long side of our house under 700m˛ facing due north (about 3°) and on a corner so there is no shadowing except from an old tree on the other side of the road in the afternoon.  We are planning to have a house that is sustainable with an edible garden.

(2) We have a block of land in Marulan about 30 acres and I am currently researching planting a food forest there.  We are planning to contact the local council in Goulburn and try and work out something with the local aboriginal people and plant true native foods along side some of the more traditional fruits and vegetables that can be found commercially.

Last but not least (3) there is a large vacant block up the road about 150m that the council have left as a storm water overflow I haven’t seen if overflow in over 10 years of being here.  I would like to approach the Burwood council and see if we could build a community garden there.  It is in the middle of the block that is bordered by Georges River Road, Stanley, Rawson and Tangarra St East in Croydon Park.  I like the way you have your composting bins on the street and will a little help we could get that going in our area but the ability to grow food would be terrific as there is so much space there that gets an incredible amount of sun the community garden could feed most of the house holds in the 4 or 5 blocks around it.

These are exciting times and we are continuing to grow and learn.  Thank you for impacting our lives I guess the most resounding experience is that since we started this journey 4 months ago my husband has lost 20kgs and looks like he might have a waist before Christmas.  The children are helping in the garden and we are preparing food and living together more harmoniously than we ever had.  The chores of looking after the garden and the chickens have just slotted into every day life.  Preparing and eating fresh food is now just a normal function.  We are happily becoming more sustainable as the days go by.  I am so glad that we got to see you in person the other day.

 Kind regards, 

JH
ENFIELD NSW 2136.

Printed with the authors permission and edited to remove names, email addresses and phone numbers

 

 

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©2009 Michael Mobbs ABN 80 571 933 970
Last Modified 05 Oct 2009