In less than 4 years Green Dean has transformed a modest size city block into a productive urban farm, complete with animals, that easily provides for his household needs. The property also serves as a classroom. It demonstrates what can be achieved with a little bit of vision, backed up with the commitment to make it happen.
Green Dean’s urban farm is a welcome oasis in a sea of tired lawns and concrete. Upon arrival a flock of eager chickens rushed to the front fence to greet me. Inside the gate, lush herbs and crops jostle for space on each side of the driveway. Lizards bask in the sun near the thoughtfully provided pond, while bees contentedly hum and browse. A permaculture-style food forest continues into the backyard where Dean hosts his regular classes and events.
Creating awareness, teaching skills, building community
Green Dean is at the forefront of educating urban dwellers on how they can be more self-sufficient while reducing their ecological footprint. Dean teaches permaculture, urban farming, worm farming, soil care, keeping chooks and so much more. He consults on permaculture design and construction.
Green Dean hosts community events such as the popular monthly ‘crop swap’ where local urban farmers meet to trade surplus produce, seeds or home-made food products, and enjoy a chat over a cuppa and cake.
The KFC (Kindness For Chickens) project
While building a community, Green Dean is tireless in raising awareness on earth care, food sovereignty and animal welfare.
The KFC project finds homes for hens rescued from battery and free range egg farms. Founded by Dean, this not-for-profit enterprise has been phenomenally successful in housing hundreds of rescue hens. These hens, discarded by the industrial farming system when their commercial laying productivity drops, often arrive in poor condition. But when given proper care and love, they can recover fully and live happy lives for up to 5 years more. As a bonus they provide their owners with eggs – not to mention endless joy and entertainment!
Healing the earth, one backyard at a time
Dean doesn’t just want to encourage us to grow a few lettuces or keep a couple of chooks – he is on a mission to heal the earth one backyard at a time. And there is plenty of work to be done. While awareness about food growing is on the rise in Australia, the overwhelming majority of backyards in Brisbane still lay dormant – as unproductive lawn or concrete. Dean would love to see the suburban sprawl be transformed into urban abundance. “My goal is for everyone to grow as much of their own fresh produce as possible”, says Dean.
As an advocate for the environment, he is also keen to increase our suburban biodiversity, providing valuable habitat and food for the animals and insects that inhabit the area.
The future of urban farming
Despite his hard work and passion, Green Dean is reflective when discussing his work. There is so much more work required before he feels that he has achieved his goals. The multiple pressures of climate change, growing population and resource depletion mean that more needs to be done, and quickly!
And of course, Green Dean can’t do it alone. If we agree with his mission, then each of us needs to step up and take some responsibility for our food production. And that reminds me, I need to go outside and sow some seeds in my newly dug bed!
We can definitely expect more from Green Dean in the future. He has some exciting ideas in development for next year and here at the Urban Abundance Project, I can’t wait to see what he does next. I’ll keep you posted.
Find out more
If you would like to learn more about urban farming or any of Green Dean’s projects, visit him at www.greendean.com.au or join his community on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GreenDeanEarthandFood
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