Dear Diggers (Autumn Fruit Garden 2018)

Contributions and feedback from our readers

From the CEO of Greenpeace
Dear Diggers,
I found Clive Blazey’s article in the Spring Garden Flower Edition, Gardening is a progression beyond the innocent cultivation of obvious plants, to be both moving and inspirational. All too often, contemporary culture and society denigrates the slow accumulation of knowledge and expertise that in the past was associated with a sense of deep vocation, lasting human relationships and long term care. Clive’s insistence that ‘knowledge builds slowly over time’ was a reminder of the wisdom that you can’t hurry love.
Over the last 40 years, real damage has been done to our lives, communities and institutions, through a kind of blind managerialism insisting that faster is always better and that everything must have a price or it is worthless. This managerialism has been fostered by a foolish ideology which says that you should treat anything – a school, or a bank, or a university,
or a hospital, or a garden – as amenable to the same efficiency principles, regardless of the essence of the thing.
How much wiser to think, like Clive, that a ‘garden must arise from its site, nurtured by intuitive gardeners who understand the soil, the climate and the seasonality of plants’.
This sensitivity to time, place, specificity and the need for continuity applies to all institutions if we are to create the best conditions for our human flourishing.
I’m a hack gardener – I love a few hours in my tiny yard on the weekend with my kids often with plants from the Diggers catalogues – but my enjoyment is amplified by knowing that I do my amateur work within a magnificent tradition of knowledge and wisdom, hundreds of years in the making, that is brought to life in the wood, soil, leaves, fruit and flowers of the great gardens of the world.
Keep up the brilliant work Clive.
David Ritter, greenpeace australia pacific

Climate change and eating meat

Grrr, I disagree with those who say that we must all become vegans to fix climate change. The consumption of meat/fish products are, for many, a cultural issue. Should we stop the Inuits from hunting locally and instead have them import all their food?
To say that everyone should become a vegan discredits many cultures and communities that are currently living in harmony with the land, unlike many of the self-righteous urban vegans. A US science report calculated
that animals account for about 49% of their agricultural emissions but this would only reduce by about a third if all Americans became vegan. They also found that the US wouldn’t then be able to meet the populations requirements for calcium, vitamin A and B12.
Farmers know that arid regions are only suitable for grazing livestock while vegetables and crops must be grown in higher rainfall areas. Should we not inhabit arid regions?
The biggest impact on climate change is the increasing human population. If we live off the land and only reproduce what we know
we can feed then we will be sustainable … so there is that magic word ‘sustainability’! Forget replacing the cars, furniture and technology and re-use instead of throwing out. We should also consider chickens in the backyard so we sustainably feed our families.
Finally remember there is a difference between want and need, so consider buying only what we need and not just what we want.
Kind regards, Diana, vic

Dear Clive,
I appreciate the general thrust of the letter from your contributor Alex J. about consuming animal products and how it relates to your article Gardening in times of climate change.
Alex asserts that 477 gallons of water are required to produce 1lb of eggs. Chook owners like me would be surprised by this. My own chooks use less than 1/20th of this.
It brings into doubt other facts in the letter.
I need to be assured that facts are supported by authentic, scientifically rigorous peer reviewed studies rather than a single, oblique reference to ‘a report by the UN’. Otherwise, it just becomes someone’s opinion based on unverified information.
Thank you to Diggers for providing a forum for those, like myself, who want a better world. I am progressing on my own path toward consuming less (including animal products).
Paul O

Dear Diggers,
I just finished reading the Spring 2018 Flower Edition, where you published a long pro-vegan letter by Alex J. I don’t have any problem with veganism, but I do have a problem with the perpetuation of mistruths. Both documentaries Cowspiracy and What The Health have been expertly torn to pieces. Much of the data quoted and statements made were highly inaccurate at worst, and misleading at best. Even very basic research proves the inaccuracies in these documentaries.While it’s good to publish differing viewpoints, publishing misinformed letters as fact (and seemingly supporting these points by referring to them as “horrifying and compelling”)
only serves to spread misinformation and make better-informed vegans look bad. I believe the future of our environment hinges on our ability to work together. This will never happen if our time is wasted just trying to sort buried fact from widely-publicised fiction. Such publicity does little more than divide the population with its blatant mistruths.
Meanwhile, there are farmers around the world who are healing the environment who scarcely get seen for all the blindly agenda-driven noise. With the introduction of ‘Diggers Do’, I see a lot of potential for the further spread of bad information. I ask that editorial spend some time fact-checking before publishing advice from readers.
You’ve got a massive readership – not all of them will have their facts straight. Basically, don’t believe everything you see on TV
(or published in a Letter To The Editor).
Thanks, Bel P, nsw

Natives for the bush or gardens?

Dear Diggers,
The old gum tree issue will never die, I wholly agree with Clive, no gum tree ought to be within 100m of any house, I love them in the bush. Wollongong City Council foolishly planted gum trees in the refurbished mall only to have them pulled out some years later being totally unsuitable.
I have gum trees outside my property and at 80 years of age it’s no fun having to get up on my roof after windy days to clear the branches from it and the gutters. I have been gardening all my life, I spend glorious days in the bush hunting and fishing and I eat what I hunt …
so the less said about the vegan issue the better. Alex, I appreciate your position but your numbers don’t add up.
Regards, Alois A, nsw

Dear Clive,
As a new member of The Diggers Club, from a different generation from most Diggers members, I am writing to let you know my thoughts on your publication. I hope you can appreciate them as a product of my cultural standpoint: In our climate of environmental upheaval, gardens need to be in sync with the environment, rather than being a burden on them.
After reading your magazine for a year or so, I can see that you have strong views about plants, and I think that it is very sad for the world that one of your strong views is rather anti-native. The world is in a critical state, and a future of drought is our luck in most of this country. Please take some time to reassess the damage your frequent rants about natives is having on your readership, as well as looking again at the suitability of the cottage garden plants that you are so strongly promoting, to the current and future climate. I would invite you to dwell on the enduring presence of natives on this continent for the longest period imaginable, and the adaptations they have developed to be suitable to the soils and conditions of drought. It’s time for change, Clive. And perhaps some younger voices in the club.
Regards, Sarah B, nsw

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St Arnaud's Pumpkin pageant and feedback on Tim Flannery's lecture.

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