Edible Precinct brings food production downtown

Russ Grayson
Jan 5 · 4 min read
Image for post
Image for post
Fruit, bushfoods, vegetables, herbs and flowers—taking a stroll through The Edible Precinct on the Hobart waterfront.

IT WAS an accidental discovery. Fiona spotted it while we were walking along Evans Street down by the wharves. We found the gate and went in.

“Hmmm… rows of large compost bins, raised planters, fruit trees, veges and herbs,” she said as she wandered off to check out the garden.

We were the only people in the Edible Precinct, which is part of the Macquarie Point redevelopment where old waterfront port facilities are being repurposed to new uses. I’m not going to hazard a guess at its dimensions, but it is a large garden of self-watering planters—wicking gardens, in the jargon. They were supplied by WaterUps, a wicking garden construction company.

Image for post
Image for post
Strawberries, calendula, rhubarb, olives and more are sure to capture the interest of the horticulturally-minded in The Edible Precinct.

“They’ve got citrus and olives, apples, stone fruit, figs, loquat, pepinos, apricots and lots of herbs and vegetables”, Fiona tells me on completing her reconnaissance of the garden.

Plans are to recycle used grain from the Hobart Brewing Company, just down the road, to feed the worm farms. It’s an example of closed-cycle production where the waste of one process, brewing beer, becomes the feedstock of another—worm farms to produce vermicompost as garden fertiliser.

Image for post
Image for post
A raised garden of New Zealand spinach—Tetragonia tetrogoniodes—an indigenous Australian busfood ebible after cooking. The plant is a perennial creeper.

Although more a botanical or educational garden of edibles rather than a production garden, The Edible Precinct is an example of projects which grew out of the surge of interest in urban agriculture. That had its modern origins around 15 years ago in parallel with the local food movement. Like other once-edgy social trends, the movement mainstreamed.

The actual origin of urban agriculture in Australia, as a social movement of sorts, lies in the practice of community gardening which started in Australia in 1977 in Melbourne and which reached its apogee in the opening years of the present century. Like other cities, there was a viable commercial market gardening, orcharding and chicken production industry within the suburbs and on the urban fringe before that. It still exists but is being consumed by suburban expansion.

What of The Edible precinct? It’s worth taking a walk through it next time you find yourself with time to spare in downtown Hobart.

Image for post
Image for post
The timber compost bins in The Edible Precinct have removable front boards to make turnng and removal of compost easy. Feijoas, guavas which grow into a small trees bearing edible fruit, grow behind.
Image for post
Image for post
Fruit trees grow along the edges of a field of raised container gardens growing vegetables.
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Figs, loquat and apricots grow in raised garden containers.
Image for post
Image for post
The Edible Precinct is a maze of wicking planters.
Image for post
Image for post
A young loquat tree, the fruit of which is edible raw and can be made into jam, frames a row of compost bins and the larger compost containers behind.
Image for post
Image for post
Tasmanian apples come into fruit beside an apricot tree.
Image for post
Image for post
Flowering plants have a place in the edible garden as pollinator attractants and as part of the integrated pest management strategy. They also add a splash of colour which gives them an additional role in garden aesthetics, a psychological value.
Image for post
Image for post
New Zealand spinach and waragul greens are common names for the edible Australian creeper, Tetragonia tetrogoniodes.
Image for post
Image for post
Loquat (foreground) and apricot do not have to fear fruit fly infestation in Tasmania. The island state is free of the pest.

PERMACULTURE 3.0

Ideas for and stories about a new version of the…

Russ Grayson

Written by

I'm an independent online and photojournalist living on the Tasmanian coast after nine months on the road in a minivan.

PERMACULTURE 3.0

Ideas for and stories about a new version of the permaculture design system for new times

Russ Grayson

Written by

I'm an independent online and photojournalist living on the Tasmanian coast after nine months on the road in a minivan.

PERMACULTURE 3.0

Ideas for and stories about a new version of the permaculture design system for new times

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store