Our first stop was to visit Gavin and Kim Webber in Melton. We've been avid followers of Gavin's blog and what he manages to fit onto a suburban size block is really amazing - well it's actually just all about how you want to use your space really. Their family began a huge journey since first viewing 'An Inconvenient Truth' in September 2006 - now instead of cottage gardens they nurture a fruit orchard, vegetable gardens, compost bin and work farm as well as running a hybrid Honda Civic and photovoltaic solar panels and installed water tanks.
We were welcomed by Amy and Kim - and Kim took us on a fantastic tour around the gardens starting with the four 'grave' vegie beds. We talked about how they find vegetables popping up in different beds from the composting, the garlic and broad beans that were doing so well and warned us off the white beetroot - apparently they are an acquired taste. Through to the compost area and we checked out the wicking potato garden bed before visting the worm farm. Lightbulb - I asked Kim if she had any suggestions for all the flies around our wormfarm and she suggested covering the top layer with wet newspaper or an old cotton towel seems to do the trick. Can't wait to try it. Kim also said they prepare seedlings for sale at the annual Djerriwarrh Festival on Saturday 6th November.
We wandered past the hybrid car and solar inverter, the citrus in pots by the pool and to the pergola - with raised beds of cabbage and a newly planted bed of salad greens and herbs. The orchard is in the front garden with some young trees already blossoming. Kim is already planning where they could fit in more dwarf trees - she hasn't run out of room or inspiration yet! We got to meet Gavin as well - and I picked his brain on how to get more producers to use the Local Food Map, about his cheesemaking hobby and we looked at the charts following their main grid energy consumption before and after solar was installed. He suggested Cheese Links as a good place to start for information and courses and the guys at Energy Matters for his solar system supplier. What strikes me most about this family is that once they were just like any other consumption-driven family and now they are on new path - after one small change at a time, they are living proof that anyone can make a postive change.
Gavin also founded the Melton Sustainable Living Group - you can check out their blog right here.
I decided not to take any photos at either of the houses we visited - apart from the reason that they have a stack of photos on their own websites, I just felt it was kind enough of them to open their homes for us to visit, and I didn't want to impose any further.
Next up - the one we've been waiting for.....