5 MINUTES WITH TESS & BYRON FROM SLOW DOWN AND GROW SOMETHING
When did the idea for ‘Slow Down and Grow Something’ first spark in your minds?
In 2017 we were approached by Murdoch Publishers with the idea of writing a book. For us, it was a total no-brainer. Byron has always loved the educational side of the business, as he runs workshops for families and corporates to teach them how to grow their own food and live more sustainably. The Urban Growers brand itself has always been a method for us to communicate our ideals with clients to allow them to grow more of their own food, so it made sense to put it all into a book and be able to reach more people.
Why do you think it’s important to bring the essence of the countryside to the city?
As life becomes more hectic and the relentless pursuit to ‘do it all’ dominates our daily lives, we feel that growing your own food is the perfect antidote. Living in the city for almost 9 years, we could see (and feel) the disconnection amongst city dwellers from their natural states. We wanted to show and teach people that gardening could provide them with a quiet escape to slow down and be mindful - a practice so desperately needed for those of us who spend our days chasing our tails.
The beauty of a garden is that you can’t rush it - plants grow in their own time and as a gardener, you’re completely at the mercy of nature’s pace. This is such a great lesson for those of us who push and push and try to do everything and be everything all at once. No matter how big or small your garden is, it will bring you both patience and presence, teaching you to slow down and enjoy the simple things in life.
We love how the book is an extension of how you both live in your own home, what would your advice be for people starting out on their urban growing journey?
Our advice would be to just do what you can. Start small and find the rituals and daily practices that bring you to a slower pace. It might just be noticing the steam rising from your kettle, or taking five minutes to really enjoy your cuppa. Then, build it up from there. The recipe for the good life will look different for everyone, so just experiment with things that make you feel good and then simply, try to get more of that in your life.
We must admit though, slowing down is a constant work in progress for us. With a few businesses on the go, renovating our house and a newborn thrown in the mix it’s a constant struggle to find our moments of downtime and ease. But, it is an important value to us that we always strive to achieve.
How would you describe your approach to living a sustainable life?
Our daily approach to sustainable living isn’t too regimented, but we do try to live mindfully and consciously and do our bit where we can. We favour quality over quantity and try to consume less, but consume well. We are also fully aware that how we spend our money is a vote, for a better or worse future - a responsibility we don’t take lightly.
In essence, Urban Growers is our 9-5 through which we communicate the message of sustainability. Through our work each and every day we’re promoting an ideal and vision of what we feel the future could look like, and that’s really exciting for us.
Another big part of what we do is education. Byron’s greatest love is educating others. He helps people through his work to do what they can in their home and workplace so they can live more mindfully and sustainably. It’s about trying to spread the message a little further than our own tiny circle. This is why we love working with corporates and building urban farms on city building rooftops because the message literally spreads from the rooftop down through the floors to each and every staff member to take home and hopefully adopt a slightly more sustainable way of living.
We love the idea of creating a space to slow down from the pace of modern living. What are some ways you like to do this in your own home?
We rely on our small daily rituals to slow us down. We love our morning coffee or chai, walking the dog on the beach, making time for nature, slow Sunday's, cooking pancakes at beach, watching the sunrise and just generally taking time to appreciate our good fortune.
We limit our screen-time and prioritise more face-to-face action, throwing regular BBQ’s in our backyard with good mates and good food. Byron is also completely devoted to the surf, which is a great practice for slowing down and being present.
Then, of course, there’s gardening! Time spent in the garden is always time spent slowing down and it's the perfect antidote to the chaos of modern life.
Lastly, which recipe from the book would you make for the perfect dinner party?
Seeing as though we’re coming into the cooler months, we would most likely start by welcoming our guests with Pomegranate, Apple Cider and Rosemary Spritzer, then some Smoky Baba Ganoush and crackers. For mains we’d be having the Grape and 3 Cheese Pizza, followed by our Fig and Rosemary tart served with fresh yoghurt and a drizzle of honey from our hive.
Begin your urban growing journey and grab your copy of Slow Down and Grow Something at our Paddington Showroom at Shop 3/188 Oxford St, Paddington NSW 2021.