“The Salad Bowl” by Colin Williams

The loss of good farming land to urban sprawl is the subject of this poem by Colin Williams.

The last of the blood-red soil goes under urban sprawl - filling the space that once separated Thornlands from Victoria Point

The Salad Bowl with its blood-red soil is being replaced by urban sprawl between Thornlands and Victoria Point

 The Salad Bowl

Bare feet dyed by blood-red soil

As in my father’s fields I’d toil

Planting seedlings, picking fruit

Pulling weeds out by the root.


This area was the “Salad Bowl”

Farming was our heart and soul

We idolised this crimson ground

A place where fruit and veg abound


This is the Redlands I recall

Before the days of urban sprawl

Now concrete seals our fertile land

Where strawberries grew, McMansions stand


Building approvals everywhere

A free-for-all without a care 

The developers won’t be appeased

‘Til every inch of land is seized


You say “This is the future, don’t get in the way”

“That was then, this is today”

Call me a whinger, call me a whiner

Then sit down to your salad that was grown in China

Written by Colin Williams and published with his permission

18 February 2015

The Salad Bowl in Redlands art

A mural depicting the Redlands when it was the Salad Bowl can be seen at the Redlands Museum in the Dan Holzapfel Farm Pavilion

Other poems published by Redlands2030 include:




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6 thoughts on ““The Salad Bowl” by Colin Williams

  1. This is a tragedy unfolding before our eyes. If we keep forcing our farmers onto less and less arable land, the time will quickly come when they cannot grow enough food to support the population. The end result is that we have to import all our fresh produce instead of growing it ourselves. The recent Hepatitis A outbreak is a poignant reminder of the consequences of this policy. So much for Australia being the foodbowl of Asia.

  2. beautifully written, true and tragic. Having married an Australian and recently moved here even I have noticed the difference in such a short time. I would have loved to experience what this writer did. Alas, no more and how short sighted to think that people who want to buy into ‘the lifestyle’ are the very ones destroying it. If I as a relative newcomer can see this, why cannot the Council who grants this destruction also see it?

  3. An agronomist I volunteered with mentioned that our rich, fertile, red volcanic, soils are in some instances 30 feet thick which would help feed Brisbane for centuries. Not covered in concrete! Great planning, council!

  4. We need to support the last few remaining farms in our community as they will become ever more import for food security especially in light of the recent contamination scare on imported food products reaching our shores.

  5. Loved the poem! How true and how sad it is that our beloved Redlands is turning out the way it is. I long for the days of the beautiful farmlands amongst our community.

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