post Food Forest Open Days and Spring Courses

September 12th, 2008

Filed under: Events,Greening Copley — newseditor @ 6:01 pm

General information about The Food Forest

“Sometimes you encounter new ideas that dramatically change the way you see the world around you.”

Our courses bring together people keen to explore new ideas, skills, foods and information in an environment of diversity, abundance and sharing; they are designed to be experiences rather than classes. For some people they are the beginning of a new direction in life and for others they are an opportunity to hone well practiced skills of designing, food growing and self reliance. Our aim is to give people some of the skills needed to design sustainable ways of living for themselves and their families.

At The Food Forest a heritage-listed stone barn has been transformed into a well-equipped Learning Centre but many practical activities also take you out into the orchards, gardens and bushlands of the property. You can also enjoy our loo-with-a-view, a unique composting toilet and reedbed system which transforms human by-products into reeds for mulching, rich compost for fertiliser and golden bamboo for furniture and for structural work. You will see environmentally designed buildings which demonstrate passive and active solar technologies: the ‘Studio’ and it’s curved garden wall, the “Eco-Gazebo”, the drive-in coolroom, an extension to the over 160 year old homestead and a small gallery, all of which are built using strawbales. A photovoltaic system of thin film amorphous panels provides electricity to the house and grid; the sun also provides water heating for both the house and the on-farm processing facility.

The Food Forest today is the result of the vision of owners Graham & Annemarie Brookman and functions as a remarkable 15 hectare Permaculture farm and learning centre. From its buzzing biodiversity come over 150 organically grown varieties of fruit and nuts, wheat and vegetables, free range eggs, honey, carob beans, Australian native foods and timber. The Food Forest sells produce at the Adelaide Showground Farmers Market every fortnight. The collections of tree crop varieties represent a unique genetic resource; willingly shared with others wishing to establish sustainable plantings.

More on Spring events:

Open Day Sunday September 21

Morning: Strawbale Building Info Session
10am sharp– 1.00pm. No need to book.
Inspect: • The passive-solar strawbale studio, 3 rooms. Curved strawbale garden walls • Eco-gazebo • Strawbale coldroom • Homestead extension, 80sq metre, passive-solar strawbale-stone-galv construction and photovoltaic system •.Gallery with rock-art oxide decoration• Indoor/outdoor living.
See: Displays and slides of strawbale construction.
Hear: How you can construct your own building and what it might cost from Lance Kairl, SA’s most experienced strawbale builder, architect Bohdan Dorniak and engineer Gerald Wittmann, who specialise in strawbale design
Cost: $15.00 adults, children free. No pets. Tea, coffee available.
Why not bring lunch and stay on for the whole property walk in the afternoon which starts at 2pm. Whole day ticket $20.00
Please arrive at 10am as there is a sequential program.

Afternoon:Permaculture Property Walk & Talk

2pm sharp- 5pm. No need to book.
Our property tour will start with a brief introduction to Permaculture, the design system for sustainability. We will then take you on a walk inspecting revegetation work along the Gawler River, vegetable gardens and poultry. We will have a look at the passive solar, energy efficient buildings, solar hot water and photovoltaic systems, rainwater catchment, compost toilet and reedbed systems. Then to the sanctuary where native vegetation adds to the diversity amongst fig, apple, pear, carob and pistachio orchards.
Cost: $10.00 adults, children free. No pets. Tea, coffee available. Tastings and sales of organic produce will also be available.
Why not attend both events and bring lunch. All day ticket $20.00
If attending only the afternoon session please arrive at 2pm as this is a sequential tour.

Building with Strawbales
Weekend 4, 5 October
Strawbale houses, studios and barns are easy to construct, environmentally responsible and cheap to run, beautiful and organic in form, strong and stable, fire tolerant and council approvable. In this weekend workshop we introduce you to the theory and design of strawbale building as well as actually building a structure. We’ll discuss load-bearing versus pole frame, various wall shapes, costs, foundations, plastering options and floors – earthen, concrete and wood. Principal tutor is Lance Kairl, SA’s most experienced strawbale builder. Bohdan Dorniak, architect and Gerald Wittmann, engineer, both highly experienced in strawbale building, also present information sessions.
Contact us for a detailed brochure. Bookings essential.

Sustainable House Design
19 October
The average Australian causes the production of more greenhouse gas than a person of any other nationality on Earth. Become one of the trail blazers in creating a home which is functional, beautiful, comfortable and environmentally responsible!
We’ll discuss the details of passive-solar design, solar hot water and electricity production, how to stay warm in winter and cool in summer. We’ll consider site assessment, the qualities of different building materials, and how to gain council approval. Guest presenter Emilis Prelgauskas has been a registered architect for over 30 years, living and working in his own sustainable house. Since 1988 he has developed many such projects for his clients, each minimising environmental impact by limiting the resources used, integrating passive and benign materials, carefully choosing construction methods, comfort systems, renewable energy and biological waste systems.
Emilis understands the importance of human behaviour in making greenhouse gains and he designs for ‘the people, the place and local resources’.

Water for Home and Garden
30 November
Nothing is more critical to our survival and quality of life than water. Learn how to calculate how much water your currently use and for what, how much you really need to use and how to store it safely. Find out the latest on grey and blackwater systems and how to responsibly re-use the water. Inspect and use our compost toilet, a design which is not difficult to install, is safe and hygienic and saves thousands of litres of water per year. See water catching, saving and recycling systems as well as high efficiency garden and orchard irrigation systems. We’ll cover the calculation of tank sizes relative to your rainfall and roof size and how to obtain rebates for installing tanks reticulating water into your house. Discuss the pros and cons of different solar hot water systems, taps, toilets, washing machines and showers.
Guest presenter Jake Bugden of Sustainable Focus has audited homes and commercial businesses and designed water saving and recycling systems, which have slashed consumption yet provided good water security. Tony Farror from the Department of Health SA, knows all the rules and regulations about water and nutrient cycling and is keen to bring you up to date.

Organic Vegetable Growing and Free Range Poultry
2 November
Growing high quality organic vegetables is not difficult once you understand the ecology of the garden, especially if you use free range poultry. The course will show you techniques for managing a self-sufficient backyard or small scale commercial garden and the basics of free range poultry husbandry. We will consider the selection of vegetable species through the seasons, garden design, bio-diversity, irrigation, pest and disease management, mulching, composting and soil fertility, meeting quality and organic standards and small scale marketing. The Chook is the world’s original recycler and pest controller. We will look at its housing, breed characteristics, supplementary feeding, keeping hens out of the lettuces and foxes out of the hens, managing pests and diseases in free-range flocks, rearing your own replacements, as well as chickens and geese in orchard management.

Permaculture Design Certificate
January 22-26, February 6-8 and 21-22, 2009
Humans are rushing the Planet toward a catastrophic environmental tipping point. Permaculture is a system which will enable us to take control of our future and live sustainably. This 10- day internationally accredited Permaculture Design Certificate course involves a spectrum of Australia’s top tutors, including the co-originator of the Permaculture concept, David Holmgren. This course is recognised as relevant prior learning towards the completion of requirements for the nationally accredited Certificate IV in Permaculture. Contact us for a detailed brochure.

Other Workshops
Other courses run at The Food Forest at different times of the year include topics such as: Property Planning, Fruit and Nut Growing, Introduction to Permaculture, Agroforestry, Australian Native Foods, Composting, and Becoming a Certified Organic Grower. If your group is interested in any of the topics listed in our course descriptions, we are happy to present special workshops.

Graham and Annemarie Brookman
The Food Forest
PO Box 859
Gawler SA 5118
Phone/Fax: 08 8522 6450

View The Food Forest on ABC Landline,
broadcast on April 6, 2008


  1. Now this could happen in Copley! An edible buffer zone, an ‘ol man salt-bush spiral, a sprinkle of sculptures made from re-cycle
    treasures, energy/self sufficient town, nuc free zone. A community of land & natural resource caretakers …. wooh, what a way to

    Comment by gina — September 16, 2008 @ 7:51 am

  2. I rather fancy the notion that when Leigh Creek is packed up into the lego box and shipped off to the next hole in the ground we might have fresh food crops along the banks of aroona dam.

    Comment by newseditor — September 16, 2008 @ 7:04 pm

  3. Sounds like an amazing property at Gawler. I love showcases like that where people can become inspired and excited about life and living, especially when they are sustainable and achievable. I have just today been on a walk around some gardens that were open to the public in Brighton, Victoria. One in particular was managed on biodynamic principles and although it had no mainswater irrigation or tanks, it was the greenest, healthiest and most beautiful garden of them all. Gardens are very special places, I love them.

    Comment by carol — October 19, 2008 @ 2:48 pm

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