Urban permaculture rental • Lachie & Emily

A 15-year-old food forest at Forestville, Kaurna Land (Adelaide).

About Lachie & Emily’s suburban food forest

Based on permaculture design principles, this rental property in Forestville is a small but very productive garden on a 408 m² block.

Emily Gray-Bugg and Lachlan McKenzie started renting the property in January 2020 from their good friends. The previous owner bought the property in 1996, lives around the corner, and has given them history on some of the early fruit trees, asparagus and more established plantings.

The garden is a mix of fruit trees, natives, flowering perennials, herbs and vegetables. Lachie and Emily are always looking to connect all the elements, so the garden becomes low maintenance and resilient with low inputs. Composting and worm farm systems are important to the overall running of the garden.

Emily is a school garden and sustainability educator who has been gardening since she was in Year 5. “I had a little veggie plot in my primary school with a few friends. I lived on a big block with lots of tropical fruit trees and chickens,” she recalls. These days, Emily is inspired by her work at Village Greens of Willunga Creek, a small-scale market garden in Aldinga.

“Growing food is a simple way to tackle climate change and change the world. I don’t want to grow everything I eat, but I do believe in creating strong community food systems,” Emily says.

Lachlan is a permaculture designer, author and teacher. He grew up with a big garden with fruit trees and has pretty much gardened his whole life. Lachlan watched his first permaculture video in 1994 and has been inspired ever since.

“I love how permaculture brings together food production and all lifestyle elements into one sustainable system. I was inspired to make a career of it,” Lachlan says.

His favourite things to grow are broad beans, broccoli, eggplants, garlic, tomatoes and peaches: “There’s nothing like doing a nice harvest from our home and community garden and cooking it up.”

Emily and Lachlan grow a lot, swap produce/skills and shop at the local farmers markets. Their tips for you are:

  • Spend time in your garden.

  • Have a go.

  • Ask people in your community for tips.

  • Learn from your mistakes.

  • Love your soil - it all starts with healthy, living soil!

  • Enjoy being part of nature and attracting birds, beneficial insects and other little critters into your garden because they’ll help your production and its good to provide a home for them too.

» Watch the virtual garden tour »

Resources mentioned in this video

Download the transcript.

Prefer to read this conversation, or want to quickly refer back to a specific spot? Download the full transcript here.

Contact Lachie & Emily

  • The best way is via The Goody Patch community garden’s Facebook page.

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We acknowledge and pay our respect to the Kaurna people, the traditional custodians of the land on which we live, learn and grow food.

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© 2021 Adelaide Edible Garden Trail, brought to you by the Growers’ Collective
Photos by Baxter Wiles for the SA Urban Food Network (thank you!)

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