This week at Bankstown has been overwhelming. We have had so many neighbours and passers-by stop to praise, comment, offer advice, ask for advice, give us recipes and tell us their stories. We all left the farm today high on humanity. Being out in the community in the garden in this way it’s easy to push aside the crappy goings on overseas and the politics of fear and hate. As one lady said today “you call your neighbour sister and brother so when you need something, you can knock on their door”. Good to see Trump evil hasn’t infiltrated our favourite multicultural city. We came away today thinking that the “Bankstown Farm” has it’s own healing powers and a grander purpose than four walls on a suburban block. We thought a rename to Bankstown International Peace Garden was more fitting.
Welcome to our newest volunteer, Carolyn Phillips…yaaaay!!! I think I can safely say she’s had a great two days at Bankstown and Glenfield, getting her hands dirty!
Today started off with one of the neighbours across the road asking us about growing and soil. Her English was not great and I wrote down some products for her and gave her an eggplant and a Vietnamese mint runner. She was so happy. Next door to her is Dragana (that’s not her name) but my untuned Macedonian ear cannot pick up her name. She came over to tell me again that the watermelon wasn’t ripe and something else I wasn’t picking up. She said “what did you give to my friend” and I told her and she went away empty handed. Later I thought that perhaps she was upset that the neighbour got something and she didn’t, so I left an eggplant seedling on her verandah and she reciprocated with coke. Next came Sylvia. I haven’t met her before and she started the conversation in the usual way “I love the garden”. She told me how she lost her eggplant in the heat and asked me about the sweet potato growing in the front. Sylvia is a cook and I really didn’t want her to leave…I hope I see her again so I can write down the eggplant recipe. She also had an interesting bean one that had about 3 ingredients…damn you, failing short term memory! We are getting so close to tapping in to this multicultural local food network and it’s really exciting! Anyway, Sylvia told me that “when I die, no god, no church, put me in my garden”. Syliva was so excited with her sweet potato runner and her new eggplant to replace the scorched one that she gave me a kiss and a hug…awwwwwwwww! Petra on the corner has a garden full of banana chillies and was watching all the goings on and so I dropped her over an eggplant as well. I was being SW Sydney Oprah today…”You get an eggplant…you get an eggplant…you get an eggplant”!
Just a quick thank you to Fiona and her family for allowing us to share their space. You’ll never know the extent of how much your faith and trust in us has meant in terms of adding joy to our lives and all your neighbours. You’ll have to start taking Friday’s off again 😉
Not even 12 months ago….
The front yard at Bankstown looked like this.
Now it looks like this…
I guess I can understand why the neighbours are so interested in the progression of this yard. It really isn’t that normal to take a front yard and fill it with edibles. Now the farm house, has it’s farm.
Some coriander that volunteer Skye thought would never come up…
The bit that I get really excited about is dirt! I love seeing the transformation when you do a few small things. This in turn, not only creates great food but a whole suburban ecosystem of bugs and bees that didn’t exist in this space.