Category 31

DIY OFFICE CHAIR COVER – Saved from the tip


We turn a much-loved tea towel featuring Issue 23’s cover artist Cheryl Davidson’s black cockatoo artwork into a practical washable cover for a well-used office chair.

Even though ergonomic seat bases might often be unusual shapes, making a new elasticised cover out of fabric you already have at home is easy.

If you’re new to sewing, this is a great project to start with as none of the seams will show in the finished product. If you don’t have access to a sewing machine, it’s not difficult to sew by hand, it will just take a little bit more time.



After working in male-dominated industries and unable to find gear that was functional and well fitting, Melbourne-based Mimosa Schmidt launched Sük workwear designed by women and to fit all body shapes. The popular Yard Suit is one option in a wide variety of ranges available in various fits, colours and fabrics. The Yard Suit features reinforced seams, brass hardware, an adjustable waist, seven pockets and is constructed from hard-wearing 310 gsm fair-trade cotton.



Inspired by the ‘incredible edible’ movement, permaculture and other urban edible projects around the world, two friends – a horticulturalist and a human rights-environmental scholar – started Edible Bristol almost 10 years ago. The very first meeting saw people come from right across the city to envision how Bristol could become Britain’s first edible city.

Together with ‘IncrEdible’ volunteers and a lot of community education along the way, the initiative has now created more than 60 edible gardens on street verges, station platforms, pocket parks and other ‘unseen’ places around the city. And the food that is grown is provided for free for anyone to come and eat.

The group promotes growing food as positive local activism, building community and addressing food deserts. As they say: ‘If you eat, you’re in’. More recently, through the Growing Futures program, the group has offered nine months of urban food gardening education to help people move into urban permaculture growing careers.

FIVE OF A KIND – 5 heritage apple varieties to grow at home


One of the oldest featured food heroes – the apple – has starred in stories since biblical times and for good reason; ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor at bay’ is far from an old wives’ tale. There’s abundant evidence of apples putting their high pectin and fibre content to work in lowering cholesterol and fat in the blood, and their skin has excellent anti-inflammatory properties.

These health attributes are due to their high levels of phenolics which are more prevalent in the older heritage varieties. Not only are the heritage varieties better for you, they serve up a complex range of flavours.

In today’s commodity-centric world, the scale of apple orchards has grown immeasurably since the late 1970s, forcing many small-scale family-owned orchards to close. With these closures, many of the local varieties of apple have declined too, favouring instead the handful of varieties that can be picked early, stored well and transported easily in our long supply-chain food system. As a result, the more than 7000 registered global varieties are now little known.

BRAINS TRUST – Fire ants

Fire ant vertical

Questions answered by Pip team

What are fire ants?

Red Imported Fire Ants (Solenopsis invicta) are native to South America and were first detected in Australia in 2001 when it’s believed they arrived on a shipping container from Argentina that docked in Brisbane, Queensland. They live in organised colonies, have the ability to adapt to almost any environment and they reproduce quickly.


We’d love to receive your feedback, questions, ideas or to see if we’ve inspired you to embark on any projects. Email your letters and photos to

EV incentives

I read your EV article Taking Charge (Pip, Issue 30) with great interest. As someone who has been investigating EVs for at least five years, my primary concern is the fact that EVs rarely come in sizes that will hold a family of four with dogs and assorted camping gear.

INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE – Bushfoods at home


Here are three Australian bushfoods that play important roles in Indigenous culture. Easy to grow at home, they add versatility to your kitchen and support native fauna.

You don’t need a lot of space to grow a small collection of bushfoods in your patch. The three examples below are suitable for planting in most urban backyards and in smaller courtyard gardens. You can even have success growing some in pots.

SAVING TOMATO SEEDS – Heirloom tomatoes


Saving tomato seeds is easy and a great way to keep growing your favourite tomatoes. Saving heirloom tomato seeds allows you to keep these heritage tomato breeds alive. Lycopersicon lycopersicum is the ordinary tomato and L. pimpinellifolium, the cherry tomato. Lycopersicon is derived from the Greek lykos for ‘wolf’ and persicon for ‘peach’, referring to the beautiful, but supposedly deceptive appearance of the fruit.


Although the tomato originated in South America as a weed in fields of corn, it was domesticated in Mexico and Central America. The name tomato comes from the word tomatl in the Anahuac language which was spoken by ancient Mexicans.

URBAN FORAGING – Prickly pear

prickly pear

Often found rising over suburban backyard fences, along train lines or growing wild on marginal land, this invasive, contentious and tasty cactus is not only known for its brightly coloured fruits, but also its edible pads and flowers.

Prickly pear (Opuntia spp.), also known as barbary fig, cactus pear and nopal cactus, is often spotted growing wild. It’s a hardy cactus whose large pad-like stems – called cladodes or nopals – can be peeled and eaten, as can its various-coloured flowers which, in Australia, are most often shades of yellow. The fruits, called tunas, are also edible and mature over summer.

First introduced to Australia in the mid-1800s, prickly pear cactus has been a Central American staple for thousands of years and is still enjoyed around the world. But they’re highly invasive, they invade habitat and make land impenetrable if allowed to spread, so there’s every chance this invasive weed may be prohibited in your area.