Q&A with Robyn Rosenfeldt

Robyn Rosenfeldt is the founder and author of PIP, Australia’s most awesome permaculture magazine.

How did you first get involved with permaculture and growing food? Was there a pivotal experience or moment?

My dad always had a vegie garden growing up and I remember him giving me my own little patch and growing carrots in them. I’ve always had an interest in growing food that has grown as time has gone on. I probably first got into permaculture properly after moving to NSW and connecting with the permaculture community here, although I had an interest prior to that.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about taking up growing?

Do it. It is so satisfying and once you have tasted your own home grown tomatoes you will never look back. Start small, with something easy and achievable. Herbs by the back door or on a window sill, a tomato in a pot, something easy that you love to eat.

What’s growing on in your patch right now?

Broccoli, cabbages, cauliflowers along with lettuce and rockets, garlic is coming up, kale, turmeric, herbs and my tamarillo is fruiting and ripe and citrus will be ripe soon.

What is your favourite edible to grow and why?

I think tomatoes. Because they taste so good. A shop bought tomato is usually flavourless and tough but a tomato that has been allowed to ripen on the vine and eaten while still warm from the sun is something to remember.

Can you tell us about Pip Magazine. How did it all begin and why? 

After completing a permaculture design course, I decided starting a permaculture magazine was a great way to use my editorial and photography skills to help make a change in the world. That was ten years ago, we have been publishing for nearly 8 years and have just published our 20th issue. Pip Magazine is a magazine designed for people on all stages of their sustainability journey. It is full of lots of practical ideas and inspiration that people can incorporate into their lives. It is a beautiful thing to receive in your letter box four times a year.

Top 3 favourite veg to cook with? Any tips on using the whole vegetable to reduce food waste?

Broccoli, I always use the whole broccoli, the stem is often the best bit and the leaves can be used in stir fries.

Garlic is great to add to just about anything to add a depth of flavour. You can use the tops as well as the bulbs and when they start sprouting save them to plant for next year. It is very easy to grow.

Warrigal greens. Its native to our country, it grows wild and it is full of goodness. It requires very little care and just keeps coming back year after year.

Whose patch would you most like to checkout and why?

In my profession I get to check out a lot of really great patches which I love, there is always so much to learn. I just recently checked out Julie Bennet, vegie gardener at Montalto Windery where she grows a large proportion of the vegies used in the three different eateries there. An amazing place where the chefs work from what is in the garden.

Top 3 favourite songs to garden too?

I have a live music venue not far from here that plays music on a Sunday afternoon so whatever they are playing. And whatever I am listening to or learning on the guitar. Lately that’s been a lot of Waifs and Gillian Welsh. And often I just like to garden with just the sounds of the insects. I like a bit of peace and quiet in the garden.

Do you compost and how important is it?

I definitely do. It is super important. Every time I plant a new crop I add compost to feed the soil, so I always try and make sure I have some on the go and some ready to use.

A favourite garden-inspired recipe you love? 

Wild weed spanakopita. I often make this after a day in the garden as I can just throw in any greens I have harvested while I’ve been working in the garden. I add silverbeet, warrigal greens, dandelion leaves, kale, sorrel, nettle if I have it, some broccoli leaves, garlic tops, whatever I can find.

Check out Pip Magazine - https://pipmagazine.com.au/