I grew up in regional Victoria. Some of my earliest memories include rolling the big concrete pipes in the bare paddock next door over to find frogs and toads or putting logs in the little channels to catch leeches and sprinkle salt on them. I have vivid memories of planting radishes with my mum, of stealing an onion from her veggie patch to eat raw with a friend. I remember visiting an old great aunt and uncle and just loving exploring their place and collecting eggs from the chook house. I think I have wanted chickens for my entire life since then. Apparently, uncles and grandfathers on both sides of my family were keen vegetable gardeners. What chance did I have!?
Following year 12 I moved to Melbourne to study, where I completed a Bachelor of Applied Science in Horticulture at the University of Melbourne (Burnley Campus). This is where I first heard of Permaculture, which I understood to be companion planting, specifically basil with tomatoes. I laugh at that notion now. But, I was increasingly becoming incensed with the insanity of the world and permaculture was always in the back of my mind. I drifted in and out of the public service until I really started to get interested in Permaculture, and had something of a spiritual awakening.
After travelling abroad for a year doing some WWOOFing and volunteer work, we returned home and started a family. When our first was 18 months old we bought ourselves a 3 acre place in Northern Victoria and set out on a mission to raise a couple of kids in a sustainable, self-sufficient, permaculture way.
So here I am in my favourite roles, Father, Gardener and Permaculturist. Until now, I'd been waiting for my real life to begin.
A technique for mounding potatoes in a mandala bed without importing soil, with the benefit of improving fertility and increasing organic matter
Just three years ago my young family and I made the move to rural Victoria, handing in our cushy government jobs for the dream of sustainable living based on Permaculture. But is our effort enough to help the planet?