It is very much a buzz word, and has been for a little while now. But what does it really mean? One definition I found was pretty apt: “Practically, sustainability refers to three broad themes, economic, social and environmental, that must all be coordinated and addressed to ensure the long term viability of our community and the planet.” (http://www.benefits-of-recycling.com/definitionforsustainability.html)
True sustainability is, I believe, hard to achieve, but once there, should be, by definition easy to maintain. 1 years ago, I started researching mudbrick, ramed earth and strawbale houses, 11 years ago, Hayley and I purchased our first house in The Basin, at the foothills of Mount Dandenong and a little over 1 year ago, we purchased our little piece of heaven south of Buninyong. Here, we have tried and continue to try to live a life that is as sustainable as we possibly can, in every sense of the word. Our market garden is in it’s infancy, but is slowly producing an income, socially, we have made a number of new friends in the local area and have kept the friendships we have made from the places we have lived over the past 12 years and environmentally we are trying to minimise our impact on this planet both on a local level but also a global level.
In the coming months, the farm will have a new sustainable addition in the form of a small greenhouse to house my Aquaponics Mk III and to raise our seedlings, a shade house and a strawbale work shed which will be the hub of our market garden operation. The plan is to have the aquaponics system running purely off solar and also electrify the shed via the same off-grid solar system. This is all a big ask to get done with little to no money while working full time and market gardening in the my spare time, not to mention be a loving and caring dad and husband, but in the long run, it will be worth it. I am a stubborn mule, and maybe a little OCD (OK a lot), so when I get stuck on an idea, I don’t stop until I follow it through. Lucky Hayley and the kids are understanding and also see the bigger picture!
But it doesn’t just end here on the farm. At work work, I have the privilege to be closely involved in the “sustainability” development. This includes both the academic element as well as the practical element. I am in the midst of planning a “Tiny Farm” at the school, which, over 3-5 years will hopefully feed the school ie canteen and home economics department, as well as provide excess to sell to the immediate community. Hopefully all this work will make an impact on the students and they begin to understand why this buzz word is so important.