A walking bus

by Veronique

Check out Veronique’s blog here!

This is number three in a series of posts describing our local community initiatives and activities during Autumn/Winter 2012. How do you make a walking bus? It’s easy! Just replace wheels with feet and legs. For power, just add healthy food and fresh water three times a day. We know using public transport is better for our environment and a lot cheaper than driving and maintaining a car. Walking is even more environmentally friendly with the added bonus of being free and healthy.

So, in June we went on a walking bus around our community. The group who participated in our previous projects hopped on. This activity was planned as an extension of our first two projects. The aim was to meet other people in our local area who tended vegetable gardens and fruit trees and who were generally interested in a more sustainable way of life. It is easy to know who grows vegetables or houses chickens in your area – just check out the gardens, listen for chook-chatter, or simply ask the neighbours. Most people love to meet new neighbours and gardeners enjoy sharing their gardens. All the households we visited were contacted a couple of weeks ahead and agreed to participate in our project. A few of us had fun making baskets of home grown goodies to deliver to our hosts.

We started on our walk on a cold, sunny winter afternoon wondering how far we would travel, who we would meet and what the gardens would look like. Some of us particularly looked forward to meeting the backyard chickens. There was a sense of anticipation in the air and a fleeting feeling of doing something at once mundane and peculiar. So where did we go? Who did we meet? What did we see and do?

We visited three households in three different streets within a kilometer radius. Not a long walk, but we took our time. We did not want to rush and risk missing important things…We met ten new people and four chickens. We learned about compost bins, worm farms, outdoor wood fired ovens, rain water tanks and vegetable and fruit gardens. We ate oranges picked straight from the tree. We saw a flower and edible garden planted along a railway line. Along the way we also saw banana trees and a few productive verges growing lettuces and bush tomatoes, herbs and beans. We even helped to plant a new fruit tree!

Now we know chickens can live happily in a suburban backyard if they are well cared for. They will also produce eggs and lots of manure to feed our plants. We noticed that we can grow food, flowers and trees along a railway line or a verge provided we are careful about what and where we plant and we look after our new garden. We know vegetables and fruit trees in a front yard can look very attractive and we know how to plant a fruit tree. On our way home someone wondered if we could plant out a verge in our street. We would like to hear from any groups or members who have planted verges. Was it done as a group or community activity? What did you plant?

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