If you’re looking to reduce your food miles, eat healthier and mitigate the effects of climate change, then there’s arguably no better way to tackle things than to grow and eat your own fruit and vegetables. And one vehement band of gardeners that’s contributing to this movement hugely is The Diggers Club, the largest garden club in Australia.
Born in 1978, from the inside of “an old tin shed”, The Diggers Club was inspired to “rescue the wonderful old variety of vegetables, such as scarlet runner beans, that mainstream companies were dropping from their lists”. Such disclusion is the result of food monopolies being enforced by businesses such as Coles and Woolworths, leading the club to conclude the only way to reach true food lovers was to set up a mail order distribution.
Today, the Victorian based club posts carefully packed plants year-round to places as far-flung as Darwin. However, besides supplying the public with choice garden goodies, The Diggers Club grows and sells hundreds of thousands of plants that sequester CO2, while it teaches gardening at horticultural colleges, runs workshops, and only uses green, renewable energy at its premises.
It also has its own environmental café, which was built with a thatched roof made from locally grown water reed. The walls are also made with rammed earth, sourced from gravel found on site, while the structure is bolstered by recycled telegraph poles. All food served at the café also comes from The Diggers Club on-site organic garden.
Where did the name come from? According to the club, the idea of growing one’s own, uncontaminated food stems from the Diggers in 17th Century England who seized public land to provide freshly grown food to the poor. “To be called a Digger was to describe a subversive mate who shared the common cause”. Furthermore, one of The Diggers Club’s first members was a 92-year-old RSL Digger.
The club has thus appointed itself as “the club for subversive gardeners”, and their main interest lies in encouraging the public to grow their own, fresh, organic food. “Buying food, rather than growing it at home, is a greater contributor to climate change than all the CO2 from coal fired power stations”, the club says.
If you’re not certain how to start growing your own food, or if you just want to be a part of this growing food movement, contact these inspiring gardeners through The Diggers Club website.