The farms namesake, the Willie Wagtail (Rhipidura leucophrys) is known in the local Kaurna tongue as ‘Tjin Tjin’, ‘the gossip’ or ‘the messenger’. I like to think that our little farm heralds a message to the people that pass it by on the sidewalk. Where did your food come from and how will it get there when we run out of fossil fuels?
Energy descent. Such a tricky subject to think about. On one hand, running out of ridiculously cheap and easy fuel would turn our current system on its head, throwing us into an unforeseeable and quite possibly very hungry future. Alternatively, solar or some other green energy could take the place of fossil fuels and then we might keep tracking on a similar path as we are now. The future is a tricky thing to predict and so having safety nets in place is always a good idea. I bet the Easter Islanders wish they had a ‘plan B’!
This is why I have so much adoration for Nat Wiseman. Not only is he planning for the worst case scenario, he’s setting an example of how this local type of Agriculture in South Australia can help negate the pressures of energy descent and provide a livelihood for the environmentally aware and proactive amongst us. I’ve no doubt that The Village greens of Willunga Creek (villagegreens.com.au) will be a motivator to many and an inspiration to future generations.
I just wish I’d payed more attention to all his hints and tricks while he was at Wagtail.
Not only is he a whiz with salad, he has soil health, crop rotations, planting schedules, crop care, harvesting practices and marketing skills all stored in his attic-like mind. Nat constantly surprises me with how generously he shares his knowledge and how rare it is that a gardening problem stumps him. Working with him at wagtail have been some of the most inspirational times I’ve had on my own local food journey.
From the intricacies of soil mineral deficiency’s to sharing a Q&A with Costa about the role of urban farming, he’s unflappable. I’m heartened to know we have the likes of him ‘talking the talk and walking the walk’ in sleepy ol’ Adelaide.
Wagtail wishes him all the best as he spreads his wings and takes on a much larger project at the Aldinga Eco village with Claudia, Lucy, Ellie and the rest of the Village Greens crew. Good luck! The road is going to be bumpy but the rewards are bountiful!
Luckily, a new set of helping hands have arrived at the little urban farm, Just as Nat has left. Brindi Johnstone arrived in September full of new ideas, directions and an unquenchable eagerness to be involved. Emma Peters has been an eager volunteer as well and our very own Bee man, Rohan, has been helping out for some time now, but has become more involved with the market side of things lately. These guys keep ‘Waggie’ ticking over and the good food flowing into the homes of our satisfied customers. More on the new crew later…
We have a new direction since the departure of Nat. We’re not so focused on proving that urban farming can be a viable income as we all agree that Nat has made this apparent. The new crew all believe that the world needs more urban farms and we think we can help make this happen in our little city, but we’ll go more into that at a later date. For now, we plan on refining our farm, increasing the diversity of food coming from it, the amount of different products we can generate on site and getting more people talking about where their food comes from.