walking the walk

Di Tod, 54, a clarinettist from Melbourne’s Burwood, is smarthly dressed and made up.

She also has soil under her nails, a hint of the 14 months she’s put into her 0.1 hectare permaculture garden which extends from the front of the house to the back “I’ve worked thousands of hours,” says Tod. “I’ll work from early morning until dark. I have literally planted by the moon.”

Tod says anxiety about climate chane and energy depletion prompted the dramatic life change. She recounts how three years ago she persuaded her reluctant family – her trumpeter husband, Bill Evans, 46, and their daughters, Molly, 18, and Emily, 16 – to move from their “pretty period home” in middle class Canterbury to a humble brick veneer house in Burwood.

The plan was to use money from the sale to finance a small farm, which would make them as self sufficient as possible.

“I’m your boring Mrs Eastern Suburbs sort of person – unless you talk to my kids who say, ‘Be normal Mum. Don’t be weird, don’t be a hippie!'” says Tod. “It wasn’t until I stumbled across websites about the impending collapse of global oil supplies that my fear ratcheted up a few notches. It felt like Armageddon. I just wanted to protect my family.”

The Sun Herald (Sydney) 29 Jul 2007 – screen copy held by this website