Bondi olive trees bear fruit and foster neighbourhood connection

May 10, 2017

Words by Kit

The main feature of our veggie garden in Boonara Ave is an olive tree. We’ve been gently encouraging the tree to bear fruit….and it has come to pass that we got a neat little harvest at the April Dig Day, on the Sunday before Easter. Small green olives, Bondi olives! This marked the beginning of a memorable community activity over the long weekend.

Lo and behold…. having set the course for an olive-fermenting project, I almost walked into another stately olive tree, while walking one afternoon, branches hanging over the fence, dripping with large black olives. It is in a private garden, the tree is covered in  shiny, plump fruits.

Overcoming my neighbourly reticence (or rather the strange respect for ‘privacy’ that we sometimes observe in city-living), I decided to knock on the door of this house in my ‘hood. My question/request yielded a good result: “Are you needing help to harvest your olives? Would you like some of us from Transition Bondi to do it for you?” The conversation grew and this new neighbour was only too pleased to share their crop. I borrowed her ladder the following day (my buddies couldn’t join the fun as it turns out) and in an hour enjoyed the pleasures of picking an unusual fruit, on a suburban street, and making a meaningful connection with some locals.

After I left, I realized that I should’ve worn our T-shirt ‘Transition Bondi’, to show passers-by that this was not a usual gardening arrangement.

Being somewhat undemonstrative myself – especially when it comes to messages on T-shirts – the habit of declaring one’s interests on one’s chest or back, has not yet been formed! Some members of TB are more marketing-savvy, and have passed on handy hints about how to bring publicity to what we do.

One person told me that it takes 6 points of contact with new information before someone will take note of a new message. (I like this idea, as it means I don’t have to feel pressured to understand or remember something after hearing it just once!). So a T-shirt is a good way (so is a flier, a Facebook post, a lamp-poster, an online article, a radio program or a conversation)…to gradually hear about things that might make us think or behave differently.

I think the message is: “Don’t doubt the value of any small contribution you make in this chain of awareness-raising. Observe, listen, think, share your thinking, decide, act. And then rest and reflect, with others. This sort of interaction happens very naturally at our monthly Bondi Farmers Market Stall (come and join us there on the second Saturday morning of the month…May 13, June 10, etc.)

Back to the olives…..Now the adventure continues, with 7 jars of olives doing their brine-y thing on the kitchen bench. Grinding salt (un-iodised) daily in the mortar and pestle, gives me a good workout, and I can follow the changes from bitter to tasty flesh. And the olives will grace the table at our next Film & Feast….May 18th (third Thursday of the month)

Kit April 2017

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