Wednesday, May 23, 2007

My first visit to the FERN site.

In it's previous incarnation, the rectangle of land at the corner of Montreal and High Streets, Fremantle was an organically based garden centre. We sold manures, plants, open-pollinated seeds and seedlings, along with a few other odds and sods.
It closed down suddenly and dramatically a few years ago; the locals were aghast.
Deep in debt, there was a sale of anything on site.
That scene, of people tearing the place apart, digging plants up, basically ransacking the place made me cry at the time, seeing all these strangers (I didn't recognise one of the 'seagulls' as prior customers) tearing the place apart.
It had been such a beautiful concept for a shop and place to live my ideals of sharing my knowledge of permaculture and organics.

FERN have been doing lots of good work there. Still I hadn't been to check out what they did with the place..
Last night, I finally visited. It was sparse, no pots anywhere, the ponds and their reeds were all gone, most of the fruit trees were gone, but I could see the hard work that has gone into the place.
We went out the back to the shadehouse area. That's where I felt the most sadness. I'd grown lots of things in there. Some things grew themselves-like the 3 metre tall powton that came up from a root cutting that escaped from its pot.
Some of the good folk from Rocky Bay had been employed potting up plants for sale on site. We had grown some useful plants out there.
Now it stands completely empty. I'd like to get in there and grow lots of plants; all the things I don't have room for at home!

There was a talk about Ecological Engineering, including the use of algal photobioreactors, which can be part of a cycle that cleans water used by industry.
It was a very exciting and inspiring talk, and if I can get my head around the maths and chemistry at uni, I'd be interested in checking it out further.
I knew it would have t be something pretty special to get me back to that site, and the talk was excellent.
So was the vegan nosh-up afterwards!

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