Ten years ago I set about transforming my house in Geelong (which boasted a north facing backyard with shed, lawn and obligatory hills hoist) into an edible garden oasis. The goal seemed pretty simple, productivity and beauty, how hard could it be? Little did I know how much my life would change through the process of learning how to grow food in my own backyard. The first few years were spent clearing, weeding, chopping, and having a crack at growing all sorts of things. Unfortunately I didn’t have the knowledge back then to make a real success of the initial goal, the game changer occurred in 2010 when I completed a Permaculture Design Course (PDC for those in the know). Now I had some tools, techniques, and more importantly the inspiration to turn our backyard into something really special. I had a clear vision to grow healthy, diverse and nutritious food for my family and friends and I wanted everyone to know that they could do the same. The benefits were clear back then and even clearer today - locally grown food is great for families, the community and our environment. 

In the midst of my Geelong backyard transformation, I went travelling and spent a year volunteering in South America. I was trying to use my newfound skills in the principles of permaculture to apply it in a practical way on the other side of the globe. The more I read and observed what was happening in our food system, the more it became blatantly clear that we are not looking after the natural world, whether it be mining, logging or agriculture – as a people we are slowly destroying the ecosystem that is meant to sustain us. Feeling slightly helpless, I vowed to do my bit by trying to help and encourage people to grow food in a sustainable way - permaculture was my way of spreading this message and remains so to this day. After returning from South America, I began the process of involving myself in communities that support sustainable food production. This process has led to me growing food for a living and having the opportunity to teach the community about how to grow sustainable food. 

I run edible gardening workshops all year round for both adults and children. I also consult locally with families and businesses on how to design and build their gardens to get maximum yields and also achieve aesthetically beautiful gardens. My life is healthier, more fulfilling, more community minded, and a significant part of this has been achieved through the simple act of growing food.

 Ben Shaw Permaculture and edible garden design, Geelong and Bellarine Peninsula
 Ben Shaw Permaculture and edible garden design, Geelong
 Ben Shaw Permaculture and edible garden design, Geelong and Bellarine Peninsula