Dear Followers of LightFoot Education,
Due to a change in my personal circumstances I am not able to announce another round of LightFoot Education workshops at present. As a single parent I have been supported to establish LightFoot Education through the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme run by the Federal Government. Unfortunately this funding has now run out and LightFoot Education has not yet been able to provide a full-time income for me. I am therefore reliant on Centrelink payments for my ongoing financial security. Associated with this is a requirement to complete a minimum number of paid work hours and apply for jobs where part-time work has not met these hours. As any of you who have worked in small business will know, there’s many hours of unpaid work that goes into running a business and unfortunately these hours do not count under the requirements of Centrelink. It is for this reason that I am not certain when or how many workshops I will be able to offer in the near future.
I certainly remain committed to the Food Out Of Our Back Yard (FOOOBY) workshop series that I have been commissioned to undertake with the Bundanoon Community Gardens and intend to continue sending email updates and assist in the promotion of other food-related workshops and events in the Southern Highlands and surrounding regions. I will also remain available as a guest presenter and consultant on sustainable agriculture and horticulture, community development and capacity building. The LightFoot Education Facebook page will also still be active in promoting local events and businesses as well as other information relating to sustainable agriculture.
Thank you all for your support of LightFoot Education and please send through any information on events you would like me to help to promote as well as any suggestions for potential future workshops.
One of the things I love about working on the scale of a backyard farm is the opportunity to bring some creativity into the space. I’m not a straight lines and right angles kind of person so multiple, identical vegetable beds with neat rows and spacing just aren’t my thing.
I’m often inspired by the work of Andy Goldsworthy and his use of readily available, natural materials to create amazing artworks, some of which only last for a short time. (Google images and you’ll see why!) I’m also determined that no organic materials generated on the property are ever considered ‘waste’ and therefore removed. What does one do with all the branches and watershoots from winter pruning of fruit trees then? Create….
That’s right, the Backyard Beekeeping workshop on the 24th of November has sold out. It is possible that a second workshop is scheduled if there is enough interest. So if you missed out please get in touch because you’ll be the first to know when and where a second workshop may happen. I’m also happy to issue a Gift Certificate if you would like to give the gift of knowledge rather than attending yourself.
Even with a foundation bees will still build according to the needs of the colony.
As we near the end of 2012 I’ll be taking a break from workshops and putting time into planning and developing new workshops for 2013 and beyond. I welcome any suggestions for topics, venues, day preferences and time preferences. If I can’t cover the content I’ll find someone who can!
I’ll upload a few blogs I’ve been holding back and updates from the 1/4 Acre Farm as the summer progresses. In the meantime you can catch me on Facebook here, or sign up to the LightFoot Education news briefs via email. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
A new addition to the 1/4 acre farm garden. The bees love it!
May your gardens, crops, pastures, and animals grow strong and healthy this summer!
On my recent winter escape from the Highlands I was very fortunate to be able to visit Alasdair Smithson of Munch Crunch Organics at his Newrybar farm. I met Alasdair at the 2011 Organic Expo and mentioned that I go up to the far North to visit friends on a semi-regular basis. He very kindly invited me to come and see the farm and it didn’t take much convincing to get me there.
The view of the Munch Crunch Organics market garden looking uphill from the seedling area. (photo courtesy of Jo Immig)
A Tussock Taming workshop and visit to a Non-Chemical Landcare group working day have inspired this blog. It’s great to see real progress in Integrated Weed Management strategies and the environmental and social benefits delivered by such activities. The messages are clear, weeds need to be tackled with multiple strategies and long term vision. Understanding ‘weeds’, their life cycles and ecological roles is is key to their management.
Over the last few months I have attended a number of workshops on soils, farm dams and the connection between soil health and human health. Although my studies and experience have covered many of these topics, I have found these workshops valuable experiences for keeping up to date and ascertaining how LightFoot Education can complement the messages being put out to the agricultural community. Many thanks to Dale Chalker and Susan Orgill of the Department of Primary Industries (DPI), Adam Hook at the Hawkesbury Nepean Catchment Management Authority (HNCMA), Andrew Britton of the Small Farms Network, and Mary Bonet at Upper Lachlan Landcare for putting on these events and making them accessible to me as an education provider rather than a landholder. Following is a summary and reflections on the various workshops.
Many thanks to the lovely people who attended the Sustainable Agriculture, Food Security and Community Resilience Seminar on Thursday night. It was a cold and foggy night so your efforts to steal away from the warm cocoons of home are really appreciated! For those of you who couldn’t make it I’ll see what I can do about putting the slide presentation online, somehow?
I’m happy to announce the first LightFoot Education Workshops will take place on Saturday the 16th of June and Saturday the 28th of July. The first workshop is Fruit Tree Pruning at Harmony Farm, Canyonleigh where I’ll be going through the hows, whys and whens of pruning, tool selection and maintenance, and we’ll have a go at pruning some trees. The second workshop, in Moss Vale, will be run by the very knowledgeable and experienced Jill Cockram. If you’ve ever wanted chooks in the backyard or are thinking of broadscale poultry production Jill will take us through how to go about it naturally. Please check the Upcoming Workshops section of this site for more details. Please note that participant numbers are limited so book now to secure your place.
If you’re wanting to find out what else LightFoot Education has to offer please visit the Services page. If you’re wondering about the Vision and Missions of this little enterprise please see the About page. If you’d like to be one of the first to find out about upcoming Workshops sign up to the LightFoot Education email subscriber list by sending an email to email@example.com with ‘subscribe’ in the subject box. You won’t be spammed with masses of information, rather, I’ll be sending details and links or attachments to LightFoot events and other workshops that are happening in the Southern Highlands and Tablelands. The Department of Primary Industries, Small Farms Network, Hawkesbury Nepean CMA and Southern Rivers CMA have been running a number of workshops (most subsidised by the Sydney Catchment Authority too!) and projects recently and there’s more coming up soon. Why would LightFoot Education want to promote other workshops you wonder? It’s all part of the building Communities of Learning philosophy. The more opportunities landholders have to learn the better!