TTG Newsletter June 2015

Transition The GrovePO Box 471

Ferny Hills DC  QLD  4055


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Dear {usertag:name},

We hope you are inspired by the Transition The Grove Inc Newsletter for June.

Meeting at The HOG1. Upcoming Events

  • Transition The Grove June Community Meeting - alternative currencies and local exchange systems

Sunday June 21st 5pm  at Alison Bird's at 19 Fairway Outlook, Arana Hills. There'll be a talk, discussion and a demonstration game to join in,  followed by pot-luck meal together. Please bring something to share for the meal.  Alison's phone number is 0437 663 339 if you would like to confirm arrangements with her.

Humans have always found ways to share and exchange resources with the community, but some of those systems are open to corruption. The conventional money system and associated growth economy are arguably at the root of most of the suffering currently faced by humanity, also environmental problems.

It is time to go back to basics and utilise the community exchange systems available for trading within trusted networks. In the age of computers and the internet, networking is easy and information can replace currencies, eliminating most of the problems associated with regular money.

Alison was a founding member of Tableland LETS (Local Exchange Trading System) in Far North Queensland and has been a keen trader for the group's 24 years. Since moving to Brisbane she has also been involved in the local BrisLETS.  Alison has just returned from the National LETS conference hosted by Tableland LETS and she has much to share from this inspiring gathering.

Alison will talk and lead a discussion on this topic and the evening will also include a demonstration of exchange trading in the form of a quick card game for us to join in.

  • Tiny House forum in Highgate Hill, 4th June 6-8pm [Contact Anne on 0439 480 918 for details]
  • World Environment Day 5th June
  • TTG goes to The Planting together 6th June. This will include a memorial tree planting at 5pm at The Greenhouse for climate campaigner Andrew Wilford (Wilf) who inspired us with the urgency to put in place fail-safe systems for Planet Earth, based on his experience in the aerospace industry.
  • The HOG Community Garden meeting at the garden 3pm, Sunday 14 May.
  • TTG Management Committee meeting Sunday 28th June 4pm
  • TTG July Community Meeting 19th topic will be on :Building resilience through sustainable local recreation" led by Carolyn Turton.

2. May Community Meeting Report on the theme of “Soil” Sunday 17 May

The Permaculture Research Institute provided the trigger article for our recent community meeting on soil: Ploughing on Regardless. You are encouraged to read it if you haven't had a chance yet.

We started off at the Hills Organic Garden (HOG Community Garden), Bunya Road at 3:30 PM  and enjoyed a briefing on the establishment of the garden, and on composting as an important part of the process of building and nurturing soil. We also tested the pH of various media (soils and compost) to get a feel for what the community has to work with.

The garden is relatively new, and the community volunteers are working their way through the challenges of creating the infrastructure as they deal with issues from sun-damaged bed liners to rejuvenating sterilised soils

Hills Organic Garden.

Thanks to the HOG for a learning experience (and a few chillies). It is great to see the place emerging and beginning to flourish.

At 4:00, we moved on to Mac and Dominque's place at Elizabeth Street, Everton Hills. There, he showed us his set-up where he partners with his beloved hens in a symbiotic process to make beautiful soil. The evidence of the quality of the soil is amply demonstrated in both in-ground growth and pot plants.

Mac Campbell and friendsHe also showed us how he houses the chickens to protect them from harm and keep them comfortable so they can happily produce eggs and transform lucerne into a key soil component to be mixed with other fibrous matter, re-used potting soil, sand, chook-poo tea, and a good dose of urea.

The resulting soil looks and smells good enough to eat.

Thus whetting our appetite, we retired inside for a pot-luck dinner and a fine glass of red.

We had each brought soil samples to examine and compare under John’s microscope. It was interesting to observe how soil originally composed of mainly composted fibre (Wally’s back yard where he empties his compost bin) appeared to have reverted to a predominantly mineralised composition. It would appear that the fibre gets broken down by the micro-biota and gets taken up by nearby plants and/or migrates into surrounding soil.

The discussion about soils that followed was wide-ranging and highly informative:

  • Making soil is critically important to saving the world (refer Graham Sait).

  • We noted that Bill Gammage had observed that Australia at the time of European settlement was rich pasture and high carbon soils. Since that time, we have exploited the soil, mining the carbon and other nutrients leaving very little soil carbon now in Australian soils. Globally, the situation is dire. Under business-as-usual, soils have less than 100 years of crops left in them.

  • The Ploughing on Regardless article tells about the urgency of soil management for food security

  • Mac outlined his philosophy about the importance of “flourishing” for different species (e.g. the system of using chickens or ducks for making soil serves both the birds and people.) If you make the chooks, worms and fungi comfortable, they will contribute. The cycle of life and death is part of the sustainable process.

  • Research on how plants get nutrients is recent (roots connect to fungi and trade sugars for minerals in symbiosis)

  • Pesticides, monocultures, etc. interfere with the micro-biota and interrupt the natural processes,

  • There is a need for farming methods that retain mulch and replenish carbon and nitrogen, rather than depending on chemical application.

  • “Trash blanket” farming protects the soil and keeps moisture from evaporation.

  • Urea is very useful for accelerating composting. Urine, grass and even shredded paper are great ingredients for active compost.

  • Anne described her “worm towers” fashioned from short lengths of pipe with holes drilled, fed with kitchen scraps and draining into the garden

The culmination of the discussion was:

We don’t grow plants. We grow soil [from soil microrganisms] and it is the soil that grows the plants.”

Our affirmation:

We will go forth and successfully make soil.”

It does seem as if sourcing the raw resources for making compost and soil is an urgent issue to address. We need lots.

Here are some of the links about soil
YouTube The New Green Revolution: Arbuscular mycorrhizas
Vimeo The Symphony of the Soil
Mid-north coast micro-herders Links and Articles


3. Report from the Management Committee

  • Wally Wight accepted the position of Secretary
  • Meeting with Mark Furner MP. We now have 3 local MPs (Mark Furner and Kate Jones (Labor); Tim Mander LNP), and this was a first meeting, with Mark. Preparation included reading QLD Labor's campaign policy paper stating its commitments 
  • Divested from ANZ bank and transferred funds to BankMECU because of their different investment policies on the carbon fuels industry.
  • Proposal: It's time for the annual round of Transition The Grove's Resilience Award. The annual amount given is $1,000.
  • Full report here

4.  Treading the path of facing the future, and moving forward with courage

  • The University of Queensland MOOC on Climate Denial
  • How long with  Ultimately Recoverable Reserves (URR) of fossil fuels last?
  • Hiving off from oil supply
  • "Twilight in Delhi" by Ahmed Ali is a novel about the end of the Mughal civilisation in Delhi. 
  • Some of us attended a day's symposium at Griffith Ecocentre put on by "Just Transitions"
  • Peak Prosperity Here at Peak Prosperity, we're continuously on the hunt for new models that offer promise for a better future.
  • The Great Grief: How to cope with losing our world.
  • Full article here

5. Book Review: "The Unthinkable: Who Survives when Disaster Strikes - and Why?" by Amanda Ripley. 2008. 223p

Proposal at this stage is to make the August Transition meeting a workshop on this theme.

Full review here



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