Manna Wholefoods Organic and Natural grocer

274 South Tce, South Fremantle WA 6162

Spring Reading

Spring Reading Spring is here and it has brought with it the heat. I did not realize how aggressive the sun can be on Fremantle’s sandy soil. I am a novice gardener, and I have recently begun to convert the previously barren sandy soil of the greater Fremantle area into a lush garden space for succulents and a small veggie patch.

Living within city limits, space is a factor, as is the lack of biodiversity in the soil.

So I stepped into Manna, and went looking through the book section firstly for something Australian, and secondly something that was for the urban gardener.

Now the fundamentals I was looking are water conservation, cost efficiency and composting.

The book that has provided all of the aforementioned and a wealth more is Sustainable Food by Michael Mobbs. Mobbs is a retired lecturer of Law at Sydney’s University of Technology, where he has educated thousands to pursue a community originated movement towards sustainability. Mobbs’ attitude of ‘do it till it works’ has enabled his home and his suburb to transform into a sustainable community seemingly without any approval prior to works being done. Mobbs is somewhat of a rebel and this inspired me to take charge of my rental space and start changing things without home owner approval (sorry landlord). The result has been surprising. From the clever re-use of waste products such as cardboard and food scraps from the kitchen at Manna Wholefoods , the once barren garden space is showing first signs of biodiversity.

Mobbs begins with describing the easy changes we can do without hiring contractors, he brings to us easy to understand concepts that work and are affordable. What is particularly inspiring is Mobbs’ macro societal view: his strategies are scaled from the individual up through the local community into state government. One of these strategies comes down to the colors used on the exterior of a home. Black roads absorb heat, so does anything else of dark tone. So by changing the landscape to incorporate colors that are lighter, brighter closer to white than the surrounding temperatures of the garden, home and city will drop.

What has assisted me the most out of Mobbs’ encyclopedia of urban sustainable food are his composting guidelines and his vertical garden design. As for my home, space is an issue as is the soil quality. Luckily here in Freo we are never short of coffee grinds from nearby cafes, food scraps from our very own kitchen and there is a usually a perma-culturalist floating somewhere within the Manna building!

So for all those who are looking to harness the ability to produce healthy, contaminant free food, affordably and whom want to see how these techniques can scale up and impact industry and city planning, Sustainable Food by Michael Mobbs is my first recommendation.

Sustainable Food by Michael Mobbs, RRP: $45.00

Article by Mason Bagios