GREEN WAY OF LIFE
Sustainability workshops show how to grow your own food
MORE people are going green and turning to sustainable ways of living – and the first step is do-it-yourself classes.
Sustainable living workshops are held regularly in Penrith and Blacktown.
St Clair resident Nevin Sweeney, 60, is well-versed in sustainability and hosts several of these across western Sydney, including the Grow Our Own Food, Grow Our Own Future series.
Mr Sweeney, the Permaculture Sydney West president, has spent close to 40 years transforming his property into a productive, year-round crop supply.
Mr Sweeney and wife Linda spend less than $50 a week on groceries as they grow all the herbs they consume, 80 per cent of vegetables and 50 per cent of fruit.
“To start small and then build up is really, really important,” Mr Sweeney said. “A 1m x 1m patch is ideal.”
“Research is great and you can do so much on the internet these days, but it all comes down to being prepared to give it a go.”
The couple’s yards show a quirky and intriguing mix of produce and green methods.
Out front is a worming tower among plants, including the tree which produces tea tree leaves. They are steamed to make tea-tree oil.
The backyard is filled with vegetable patches, a banana circle, a constructed wetland and “chook tractor system”.
“We have a grain mill and I’ve got organic wheat so I grind it to make bread,” Mr Sweeney said.
A food warmer is one way they cook meals while another is with the solar oven Mr Sweeney made. “You can save money. It is all about knowledge, understanding how things work and setting things up right,” he said.
The Sweeneys open their home to the public on Sustainable House Day and Permaculture Day.
You can save money. It is all about knowledge, understanding how things work and setting things up right.
Nevin Sweeney uses a mix of sustainable methods to be largely self-sufficient in food and power. Pictures: Carmela Roche