A selection of our writings from 2009 to the present. If you'd like to keep up to date with our latest posts, please subscribe below.

Mobility and food (our first week home)

Now we are back home we find not all that much has changed. Just as it was on the road, our home-life is also all about mobility and food; how we move around and how we sustain ourselves.

After such a long time on the back of their parents’ bikes, the boys were keen to get their own forms of mobility cranking. Zeph made roadworthy one of our old tip bikes and Woody gave his hand-me-down first bike a thorough going over. Thanks Carly!

We continued to bike and walk as our main forms of mobility. Woody now walks a few kms each day.

We pedalled up to the community garden working bee (blogged here), to contribute to the community gift economy going on there.

We painted up some new signs to be put up at two of the growing number of food gardens in our small town.

We helped Peter install the signs,

and we began to organise some music events that will take place in the Albert St garden to simply celebrate life there.

We biked up to our local food co-op to buy what we couldn’t freely obtain and to support a more environmentally aware monetised economy.

We walked, bussed, trained and caught a tram to visit Woody’s great grandfather (aged 96) in the metropolis.

 We pushed our wheelbarrow over to Maria’s, our neighbour, to collect cockatoo-spoiled apples,

to feed to our girls.

We worked in our annual produce area planting some more food. This row: cayenne peppers as food-medicine for the winter.

We welcomed back Yael and Matt, Akira, Essie and Dante, who so wonderfully tended the house and garden while we were away and planted food for us to come home to. Thank you beautiful family!

We got busy in the kitchen making sauerkraut with cabbages that Matt and Yael had planted with the kids,

we revitalised our five year old sourdough starter and have been making bread daily,

we have made music each night before bed too,

and we have made our version of vegemite: miso paste, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic. Delish!

It is lovely to be home, and so far we haven’t got itchy pedals. After so many months of uncertainty, the comforts of home and community life have been both regenerative and restorative. We thank you, Dear Reader, for accompanying us on our journey in settling back into domestic life, and hope you too have both regeneration and rest cycling around in your neck of the woods.

Active activism

We, Artist as Family, stand firmly with our feet on the soil, as we stand with Jonathan Moylan.

Photo by Rasha Tayeh

For those of you who are out of the loop, Jono is a 25 year old from Newcastle who is facing up to ten years in prison and a $765,000 fine for sending a press release highlighting ANZ’s role in funding the Whitehaven open cut coal mine in north-west NSW. The mine threatens community health and food producing land at Maules Creek, and the health and survival of Koala populations in the Leard State Forest.

We reckon we’re in pretty good company too:

Vandana Shiva

The photo of AaF above was taken by our dear friend Rasha Tayeh. Rasha is, among many things, a documentary filmmaker whose most recent work is The Growing Food Project, a short doco that explores some of Melbourne’s urban agriculture practices and community food initiatives, where people are coming together to build local, fair and sustainable food systems. The film features Patrick’s award winning poem Step by Step.

The film’s premiere is on Wednesday 20th Nov at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) at 7pm.

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion of food activists inviting the audience to discuss the benefits of supporting local food systems.

You can purchase your tickets here.

And while on the topic of Patrick’s poetry, a huge congratulations are in order:

Patrick has just completed four years of doctoral research. In a nutshell, Walking for food: regaining permapoesis is:

a biographical thesis that investigates how we might transition to fairer, more just and sustainable communities. It draws on Indigenous knowledges and permaculture modelling in the attempt to demonstrate achievable societal change from the household and community economies out. The thesis contends that modern living is inherently damaging; and on such a scale that personal accountability is degraded. The ecological and social consequences of this are clearly evident, and the thesis challenges us to transition to radically different forms of living where permanent making replaces disposability, and personal accountability is once again performed.

If you’re interested in receiving a PDF of the final draft, please contact us.

And while we’re on the topic of positive and inspiring activists, Perth based singer songwriter Charlie Mgee, AKA Formidable Vegetable Sound System, recently visited the Hepburn Shire during the Swiss Italian Festa where he played a fabulous set of some of his songs from his album, Permaculture: A Rhymer’s Manual.

Charlie’s album focuses on bringing simple concepts of sustainability into the spotlight using the power of music, rhyme and humour to convey the permaculture principles in fresh ways to new audiences. If you get a chance to see Charlie play, we highly recommend you grab it.

And, while on the topic of grabbing: there has been much handlebar grabbing in these here parts as the departure date for our adventure draws near – 6 days!! We have been spotted all over the place as we ride with our panniers fully loaded on practice rides from starboard to port.

If we don’t get a chance to post again for a while, see you on our way up the continent!

This is Liam

Liam goes to the local secondary college and this week is doing work experience with Artist as Family. Liam lives around the corner and every day this week has arrived on his bike at 9am with a bag of wild apples picked by his mum, ready to start the day.

Rather than just relegating Liam to spend time in a studio as he might have done with other practising artists, we have been out and about this week showing him how we live and make our art of the everyday.

As we live car free, riding and looking after our bikes is a big part of what we do

as is promoting bike culture in our town, and the monthly local Critical Mass ride.

Because we don’t shop in supermarkets, thinking and talking about what we eat is also a big part of what we do. What we put in our bodies fuels the art we make, so if we want to make environmentally and socially responsible work, the food we eat needs to represent this. Every Wednesday we shop at our local organic bulk food table. This week we bought olive oil, almonds, tahini and 2kg of fresh juicy feijoas.

We made pasta.

We planted garlic before the full moon.

We measured up a potential site for a community food garden and drew up a draft plan of it to present to our local council.

We made music

and most importantly, we made a great new friend.

Carless and carefree in the country

We’ve been bike loony over the past several weeks, trading in our car for new cargo bikes and bringing them home on the train,

initiating Daylesford Critical Mass‘ participation in the town’s NYE street parade,

and setting off for bike camps between 15 and 40km from home.

But the last few days we’ve been held up in the house, watching the rain in disbelief, thinking about the fauna and flora affected by the floods, the lives lost and displaced, the era ahead.

Ride safe wherever you are and if you drive a car please think bike.

Free Wheelin’

TINA, the This is Not Art festival has started so Newcastle is abuzz with young folk keen to take part in some way. There are exhibitions, forums, artist talks, movies, music gigs, poetry readings, performance art and an exercise yard full of local trash collected over the last 9 days.

We two adults came up to Newcastle for TINA last year and it feels good to be back, this time with Zeph to share the experience. And our bikes. Last year we were on foot, but this year it’s great to have our own wheels. Riding, stopping somewhere to pick up rubbish, then riding to our next destination.

It’s so fun to ride around the city and wave at all the other cyclists on their Bike Library bikes, recognisable by their individual nameplates.