As frequent visitors to our site have noticed, we have changed our permaculturesunshinecoast.org site into a Do It Yourself Food and Health Hub. We were told several times that what we do here goes “beyond permaculture” and that we do not market what we do well enough. We have attempted to achieve that with this new “hub” of websites. To give you an idea of what we offer here, I will try to encapsulate it in this article. Some things are not quite there yet, but we are always working towards achieving a minimal footprint, self sufficiency and true sustainability, which translates into a healthy life and lifestyle.
On our demonstration site “Maungaraeeda”, nestled in the hills of the Noosa Hinterland village of Kin Kin on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia, we have a lush kitchen garden, ever expanding, with lots of greens, root crops, legumes, scattered fruit trees and all things food that can be grown in a sub-tropical environment. The food forest is still expanding, with a chook tractor preparing a small patch for planting out every 4 – 6 weeks. Swales wind their way on contour through the kitchen garden and the food forest, and larger swales are home to their own food forest and perform the function of dam overflow further uphill.
We have goats, cows, chickens, ducks and working dogs. We grow our own meat, vegetables, fruit and make our own dairy products from fresh milk (hand milked): yoghurt, cream, butter and cheese. We cook only whole food on the property, and try to only use food that we can grow here ourselves. The menu for today (Monday) is for example:
Breakfast: Pumpkin and salmon bake with steamed greens and baked tomato and zucchini, with homemade mayonnaise
Morning tea: Pineapple and bunya nut cake
Lunch: Cauliflower rice with curried pumpkin and butter chicken and a green salad with herb dressing
Dinner: Roast potatoes and chokos, with a meat stew (a bean stew for vegetarians)
Dessert: Pineapple with cashew cream and coconut chips
Volunteers and long term students on the property all get to have a go at cooking meals throughout the week, from recipes that are provided. Everyone really enjoys in being so fully involved in everything, from composting and mulching, to growing and planting, weeding, harvesting, food preparation and eating!
Some of the systems we have in place or are in the process of being in place are:
- making energy through solar, wood burning and biogas from cow manure (which we cook on!)
- food forestry
- swales, dams and other water management practices
- dairy production and preparation
- humanure systems
- composting systems
- building with local and recycled materials (eg local river rock, pulled apart buildings etc)
- nursery systems for propagation and cultivation
- community systems: communal jobs and activities, regular meetings etc
- communal gardening times
- rotational cooking schedules
- food preservation and storage
- water management systems
- water heating systems
- animal routines with cell grazing/holistic management practices
These systems are all in various stages of readiness and we constantly work to improve on the systems already in place. To learn about these systems in theory or in practice, please have a look at our growfoodforhealth.com site, which is all about learning sustainability, self sufficiency and permaculture. Courses are still run by the Permaculture Research Institute Sunshine Coast and the PDC (Foundation) course and the PRI Practical Certificate and Diploma programs are accredited by PRI Australia for global recognition.To visit this site from anywhere in the hub, please click on the grow! icon.
For people who are in need of advice for their own property and would like Tom to come and advise them on a design for their property, systemsforsustainability.com is the site to go to. From this site you can decide whether you would like to learn the knowledge yourself, or whether you would like a more in depth consultation about your own property. Tom is amazing in his ability to read the landscape, is very solution orientated and will prepare your property to be able to cope with disasters. He will design systems to improve the quality of your soil, to hold water and nutrient on the property and can advise on building and access locations and much more! This site is also part of the diyfoodandhealth hub and can be accessed by clicking on its live! icon.
Tom and Zaia are planning to move into what used to be the teaching space on the property by the end of the year. This then means that the house becomes the main center of the property. It will house the kitchen, the office, a library and the eating space, as well as a TV for students to watch educational videos etc. What is now the student space will become the teaching space as well as a quiet space for students and volunteers to be, with its own camp kitchen for use on weekends.
As the kitchen will be in the house next year, Zaia will be offering cooking classes as part of every PDC (foundation) and Practical Life Skills courses, and of course all Practical Certificate and Diploma students can participate as well. It will also be open to anyone else interested in participating. The cooking classes will run on a Sunday morning most months and will include a little “garden picking tour”, getting some food from the garden to include in the meals. Meals cooked will be morning tea, lunch and dinner. For more information and dates for cooking classes, please have a look at cookfoodforhealth.com, part of our new diyfoodandhealth hub and accessed by clicking on the cook! icon.
Zaia is also working on being a qualified FDN practitioner and CHEK holistic lifestyle coach sometime in 2016. With her knowledge about and existing qualification in nutrition, and her continual interest and research in that area, she would like to offer holistic food and lifestyle coaching. She would like to empower people to take charge of their own health and wellbeing by putting better food and lifestyle practices in place. To find out more about this side of the hub, please go to foodhealthandme.com, accessible by clicking on the eat! icon.
And last but not least, as the arts are and have been such an enjoyable part of Zaia’s life, with her painting and drawing in the past and her passion for music, she is putting together a lifestyle integration program which she hopes to launch in 2016. This program will include gentle exercise on weekday mornings before the day starts and regular music workshops. It will also encourage more play in afternoon free time, with volleyball and badminton nets, table tennis and soccer balls all made available to volunteers and students. This area will probably experience the most growth and change in the future and is accessible by clicking the play! button on the site, or by going to playforfunandhealth.com.
I hope this gives you an idea of what our new hub is about. We really hope you like it and that you will follow us for updates. We would love to see you at one of our courses! If you have any comments or suggestions, please let us know via the comment section below. We are very excited about this next stage of our journey and we hope you are too!
©2015 Zaia; Do It Yourself Food and Health Hub, incorporating Permaculture Research Institute Sunshine Coast, Tom and Zaia Kendall, growing food, cooking food, health and nutrition and sustainability.