Ms Betterhome

Thinking about local food in Sydney 1
October 1, 2009, 5:54 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

There are still a few native foods growing in Sydney, and plenty of edible weeds (like wild amaranth, purslane & chickweed) if you know what to look for. I would be wary of some of the places where they grow, though – probably lots of heavy metals in the soil. Until a decade ago we had *lots* of market gardens very close to the city… sadly most have been McMansioned in recent times. There are a couple of market gardens *in* the city growing asian greens, and there are commercial growers of potatoes, apples, stone fruit, some cherries, and some nuts in the mountains, a couple of hours from the city.

There is cottage dairy & duck farming in the same area, and horrible industrial egg & chicken farming to the north, around Mangrove Mountain. You can fish in Sydney Harbour, or off Sydney beaches, but the waterways are not very clean. I have not eaten meat (including fish) for years, and would prefer to keep it that way, but if I grew it and killed it I would have fewer ethical qualms. There is a prolific history of backyard farming in the inner city- when I was a kid every backyard had *at least* a lemon tree & a choko (same as chayote) vine.

We had big waves of migration from rural areas of Greece, Italy and the former Yugoslav countries in the ’50s. I remember lots of backyard (and front yard) gardens with grapevines, olive trees, fig trees and *huge* vegetable patches. it was not uncommon to see families keeping rabbits, pigeons, chickens, and even small goats in inner city yards until the ’80s. I have a few friends whose parents baked bread, made salami & brewed wine & raki in their backyards (much to the mortification of their children). As the areas with high migrant populations became gentrified, the practice mostly died off, but there is a resurgence now. Bananas, taro, mango and avocado grow ok here too, as do nut trees. They have good years and bad years, I think.


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