Glen Barratt is a chef too. A real one. He is the chef at the Wild Canary bistro, located outside of Brisbane, Australia. The bistro offers colored meals elaborated with local ingredients only. The Locavore café, which we discovered in the previous article, also serves local food however Wild Canary goes even further: lots of the ingredients are grown at the bistro itself! Glen has a kitchen garden, at the entrance of the place...
We went to the bistro and met Glen. He could explain to us how fortunate it is to be able to grow food on site and how the garden influences the menu: “The meals are adapted depending on what is fresh in the garden. The weather also influences what we put on the menu. The garden allows the customers to see what is normally available in the season. For me, getting immediate access to fresh ingredients is fantastic!” Several times during our lunch we saw one of Glen’s assistant popping out of the kitchen and go pick something from the garden!
The young lady is picking up some apple mint for a tea!
“The garden is a nice mix of permaculture and organic,” Glen explains. Organic is now common in western countries. It consists mainly in avoiding synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, which have negative impacts on the environment and on health. Then what is permaculture? In agriculture, permaculture is about natural methods of growing food. It promotes diversity and rotation of crops, in small areas. It is energy-wise and imitates the no waste, closed loops seen in numerous ecosystems. Also permaculture fosters the role each crop can play in a garden.
For instance “there are good bugs and bad bugs in the garden,” says Glen. “The good ones eat the bad ones! For that I must have specific white flowers to attract these good predatory bugs. It takes place, but it is all more natural. If a crop is severely affected by bad bugs, we would recycle it and turn it into compost for example!”
Permaculture maintains the soils healthy, like other sustainable ways of growing. In France it has already demonstrated great results, in terms of productivity in particular. Today one-third of arable lands on Earth is degraded. In a sustainable society this will not be.
|Carolina had a Roast Winter salad: pumpkin, sweet potato, parsnip, heritage carrot, fennel, grilled haloumi, pumpkin hummus, seeds, balsamic reduction. Knowing the story of the ingredients, the dish had a special taste!|
Glen adds: “Sometimes we grow things just so people can see that it's easy and something they too can do at home. Also in the past we have done many workshops here - like organic pest control or composting.” Right! We can all be gardeners! Of course having a house with a garden helps. Nevertheless today there are more and more options for growing food on a balcony or even inside an apartment.
Eating local food avoids transportation and refrigeration which generate carbon emissions.
A message of the Ratatouille movie is “Anyone can cook”, we say: “Anyone can grow”!
The garden is located at the entrance so that people can see it.