Fiona Louise Buining is passionate about growing plants, especially food plants, and is inspired to create pathways for future food growers in urban areas. She has grown vegetables wherever she has lived. Working with teenagers as a teacher she has seen first-hand the physical and mental health benefits of learning to grow food. As a grower she has observed an unmet demand for locally grown fresh food. Her question was: how do you become an urban grower in Australia?
Fiona was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 2020 to investigate urban farm ventures that provide vocational pathways for aspiring food growers. Fiona believes that growing good food is one of the most positive actions people can do for their own health and to heal the planet.
Fiona majored in plant ecology and physiology at Macquarie University graduating with First Class Honours. She completed the first Permaculture Design Course taught by David Holmgren in the 1990’s and later taught residential Permaculture Design Courses with David for 7 years.
Fiona and her husband, Michael, have used permaculture principles to design two of their own properties – their one acre in Hepburn Springs and their quarter acre in Ainslie. Their property in Hepburn Springs gained recognition and set a legal precedent as it was the first property in a sewered area to install an approved composting toilet and grey water system.
Fiona managed the Merici College Kitchen Garden from 2012-2019, a teaching garden that grows seasonal vegetables using organic growing methods to supply the school canteen and restaurant. Her work was recognised when Merici won the ACT Keep Australia Beautiful Sustainable Cities Award in 2012 and the ACTsmart Schools Sustainable School of the Year in 2019.
Fiona runs Ainslie Urban Farm where she grows microgreens, in green houses in her backyard in Ainslie, for local restaurants and cafes. Since Covid19 Fiona has also been growing and selling seasonal vegetable seedlings suited to Canberra's conditions. Fiona’s property has over 50 fruit trees, nuts, berries, vegetables, two beehives, chickens and working rabbits.
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