COVID-19 is the topic of the day and it will dominate our minds and media for the foreseeable future. It is an event in human history that is unprecedented in living memory and the only sensible response is for all of us to understand that we are connected and that our behaviour affects others and possibly in a life-threatening way. It has also brought home to us that when it comes to some of the basic survival systems, those systems are fragile and might even be unsustainable into the future. Crisis is transformative and it is the challenge of our time. We need local community now more than ever and that might seem strange given that we need to practice social distancing but without people reaching out to others this crisis might be very much worse, particularly with regard to our mental health. This crisis affords us the opportunty to think about what we would like our world to look like in the future. Questions that need to be asked are; how sustainable is our food system? The centralised model of food distribution might not be the right model for the future. Should we all be looking at playing a stronger part in the food economy? Should we be growing as much of our own food as possible, working with our neighbours and communities to buy or swap produce and if that is impossible at the very least should we support our local farmers and businesses? Given that many people have lost their jobs and the economy has to be supported by stimulus packages, how sustainable are our economic models?  There are many questions to be asked and hopefully, we will not get to the end of this and simply continue where we left off but make some real and significant changes. This is a time of rapid and continuous change in Australia and around the world, we have had and continue to have draught in many parts of the country, followed by floods and then we had the devastating bushfires and now COVID-19. This has highlighted the fact that with the rapid changes we need to create resilience. With the slow down of industry and other human activities, our environment is starting to recover. People have reported improved air quality in China, the canals in Venice are once again crystal clear. The earth needed this break and so did we.

So how can we create resilience with care and kindness? Firstly, we need to find ways to make sense together as communities. Our responses have to be unique to our communities and their needs thus there will be many different and tailored responses to the many changes happening. Secondly, start growing our own food. Plant for abundance. Put in as many diverse edible plants as we can. Reframe our ideas on what food is, there are a lot of wild weeds, greens and fruit that we could be eating instead. To be healthy we need nutrient-dense food. The quickest way to get nutrient-dense food is by sprouting, creating micro-greens and growing things that are quick to harvest. For some detailed tips on creating your own resilient food system, I have elicited the help of  Morag Gamble who shares tips and ideas in her masterclass video. To watch click here. This video is made available with permission from the Permaculture Education Institute.

Keep safe and happy growing

Mel Marx

Secretary Gympie Landcare