Wednesday, 28 April 2010

It's FIMBY time

I met, and had a wonderful hour with, two intelligent, motivated and passionate women on Monday. These two women are the brains behind a gardening enterprise named FIMBY, or to call it by its full name, Food in my Backyard. Christina and Juliet are the two women in question.

Their concept is simple: they provide a service for people who are interested in growing their own food, in their backyard, or on their balcony or wherever. It is a service which all manner of people can utilize, whether you’re a time-poor office worker with lofty ideals, or an old-ager with bending difficulties. The girls can tailor a service to your needs.

If you have used them to develop your backyard patch of heaven and need to have a holiday, the girls can come in and maintain your garden in your absence. They will do as much, or as little, as you want them to in your horticultural journey.

They can help you create a productive garden, or be self-sufficient with fruit and vegetables you’ve grown your very own self. They will provide their expertise and enthusiasm; all the seeds and seedlings and soil amendments you might need; a garden design tailored to your available area, sun, and eating preferences. If you want an above-ground, no-bending-required type garden, they’ll organize it. If you want the watering system integrated within your garden, they will assist.

Eating and shopping habits are changing (not before time!) and with that comes the desire and awareness of people generally to regain control of the food they (and their families) consume. The awareness and knowledge of eating seasonally is becoming more widespread, so that people who have previously been disconnected with their food and its origins, are now discovering a whole world out there previously undiscovered and even perhaps unsuspected

Having developed the initial concept, and with their reputation growing daily (mostly through word of mouth), and the obvious direct link and relationship between growing food and eating it, the girls aren’t resting on their laurels, and are now looking at related issues of integrating food with cooking sessions. Also developing such things as Aquaponics – a system of having a fishpond in your backyard where you could farm your own, let’s say, trout, plus have directly above it a hydroponic-type growing system of greens, thus incorporating two eating sources at once. They are also looking into the possibilities of developing the backyard farming of things like rabbits, sheep, guinea pigs and chooks – for eating purposes.

The girls have watched their clients evolve into shoppers who, once they start growing their own produce, resent paying higher prices for food they know with certainty are cheap and easy to grow, and delight in observing the realization (of their clients) of how long food must sit in warehouses and on supermarket shelves before it actually arrives in your fridge then goes ‘off’ the next day! Anyone who has grown their own tarragon, or thyme (it grows like a weed in the pots on Rita’s balcony!) must surely look on in horror at seeing it in the shops for $3.99 for the smallest bunch!

They have also had the foresight to approach a few larger organizations in Hobart with a proposal they are calling Lunchbox Gardens – a brilliant idea which involves staff volunteering in their break times to develop a garden at work which will ultimately produce sufficient ingredients for all to be able to fill a salad roll or sandwich. They say that getting enthusiastic staff to participate in this innovative scheme is the easiest thing in the world – the hardest part is getting the heirachy to commit and act on it!

They are also noticing more of an interest in adding fruit and nut production to the backyard vege garden. The three of us reminisced at great length about some of the more well known old walnut (and almond) trees known to have abounded in public spots around Hobart in days gone by, which have since been chopped down to make way for housing developments - all in the name of progress.

I have had a link here on my blog to the FIMBY website for ages, and encourage you, if you have even the slightest interest in matters of the soil, to call these fabulous women and get digging!

Christina: 0437 009 792
Juliet: 0423 376 530
Posted on by Rita


sir grumpy said...

I thought we'd all given up on veggies since that report which said the ``get five a day'' was in fact useless.
Seriously, it was a message for those who just eat for health's sake.
I love my vegetables for their taste!

Anonymous said...

What a fabulous post. I love the idea, and hope to implement it in my (tiny) backyard.

The Passionate Gardener said...

What a great idea. I'd love to see more edible gardens in Hobart. A recent study showed that in men, several hours of gardening a day with help lengthen your life, help with cardio vascular issues, get you fitter (obvious) and help to arrest the effects of erectile dysfunction!
Now there's a few reasons to get your hands dirty.

sir grumpy said...

Why waste that extra time gardening?
More like arthritis and rough hands no woman would want to caress her!

Rita said...

Be kind Sir G! Glad you like this post Anon and Passionate Gardener. I think it's a brilliant concept, and love the fact that the girls are doing such a marvellous job, in a business where there was an obvious niche market. It's not a maintenance service such as you'd call Jim's Mowing for, but a planning-and-inspiring-and-carrying-out service.

Anonymous said...

Oh to have French tarragon in the garden - I've been trying to find someone with it for ages. (Given that it needs to be propagated by cuttings, and not seeds). It's hard enough even to find it fresh in the shops... even at Hill St Grocer.

doolz said...

I just ate the last tomato, straight from my garden, for the year. Too sad to think I'll have to wait till the next season to taste these treasures again.
Well done to the gals for encouraging
people to go home grown. Nothing tastes as good as nurturing the seedlings to fruit.

Rita said...

Anon 12.51 - I'm happy to give you a cutting if mine is the french variety you refer to. I got mine as a cutting from someone else. It was rampant over the summer and is now more manageable.
I have just started harvesting my (late) tomatoes. I was at Farmers Market in Feb where a stallholder was selling off tiny tomato seedlings at 50c ea. I commented to him that he was hopeful trying to sell them at that time of year (given that we all know the old saying of waiting till after Sow Day to plane them out, and Feb is WAY past Show Day!!) but he assured me they would have plenty of season left to flower and ripen, so I bought 4 plants - and lo and behold - they are now fruiting beautifully - late but fine.

Katrina said...

I think encouraging people to grow their own produce is such a wonderful idea. At the moment I live in a rental, so can only have whatever fits in pots (mainly herbs at the moment), but as soon as I get any space - watch out!

Thanks for highlighting the fact that these services are available to people.

lemon curd said...

I love growing and using fresh herbs, even something as simple as italian parsely adds such a wonderful dimension to seemingly bland dishes.

Having said that I do have great difficulty with Basil, which seems to me to be the most needy herb.
I can almost hear it, hysterically screaming "He's hates me!!!" if I forget to water it for a day, afterwhich it promplty commits vegetative suicide. Any tips?

Christina said...

We too always had trouble with basil, lemon curd.
I finally bought Phil a little greenhouse fron Bunnings.
Just a metal frame with a plastic covering and a zipper front, and we can barely use the amount of basil we've had this year!
A real success. Nothing beats fresh basil on a pizza, or in pasta.
Give this a shot and see how you go.
Over Summer we would open the door during the day and close it of a night. Not sure how we will fare in Winter but I will keep you updated. Our chillies look good too.

Snuva said...

You're entirely to blame for what's happening in our back garden! :-)