First, my sincere apologies for not being more regular with posting updates this year. Things have gotten really busy at PRI Sunshine Coast, so it has been hard to find the time. Tom and I are currently at Zaytuna farm, where Tom is co-teaching a Permaculture Design Certificate with Geoff Lawton, I am now sitting in the sun after a very cold night in our camper, and have some time to write an update.
So far this year we have run 2 PDCs, one 8 week internship (with 2 specialist project courses) and one 3 week Urban Focus internship. Tom and volunteers have been busy trying to get forage to the animals, as it has been a frighteningly dry year. Currently we are agisting one cow off site. We only just managed to get there with our water before the rain finally came earlier this year, but unfortunately the amount of rain we had was not enough and way below normal. A lot of time and effort was and is needed to ensure we will have enough water. We also put fingerlings into our pond which evaporates reasonably quickly, so the pond has to be refilled with water as well. Hopefully we will have some decent size silver perch soon, and we can go fishing in our own pond!
Tom has been busy with the bio-digester, building an overflow and reed bed area. It is not finished yet, but we are already producing gas, so the pressure is on! (pun intended). Hopefully by the end of this year we will be cooking on our own gas. Exciting!!
As the rain left us waiting, when it did come we had to quickly start planting out the swales and putting in as many plants as possible. We also needed to do the food forest chop and drop. Our food forest is now moving into what used to be a cow paddock. We have been planting lots of forage food for the animals and Tom has switched to cell grazing, adhering to holistic management principles, which will hopefully regenerate the paddocks a lot quicker. This is another exciting step to improve our animal and soil management methods.
After receiving a lot of positive feedback about my food during the first PDC of the year, I started my own recipe blog (www.wholefoodcookery.com), catering for a number of dietary needs. I also was asked by many for dietary advice and decided I needed to get some “formal” educational background, as all my knowledge came from personal experience and research. So I started studying nutrition and functional diagnostic nutrition, and hope to be able to coach people in making better food and lifestyle choices for their health and wellbeing. My focus will be on what will be beneficial for each individual, as no two people are alike and we all have different needs. No one diet works for everyone and I am learning the investigative skills with which I can determine which diet works for who. Besides diet, I also focus on lifestyle improvements, excercise, stress reduction etc. This fits in perfectly with what we are trying to achieve at the PRI Sunshine Coast, and is part of Permaculture’s People Care ethic.
We still have many projects to complete this year, and I will attempt to write updates more often from now on. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email us on info (at) permaculturesunshinecoast.org (replace (at) with @ in the email address). We do garden tours as well for interested parties.