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Towards a microbiome approach to culture and economy (or, Re-dreaming a gender-distributed science) with Gemma Smithson


Hello dear Subscribers and other curious visitors,

Over the past week we’ve hosted three new volunteers at the School of Applied Neopeasantry, who have been learning-helping with the harvesting and storing of this warm season’s abundance. We’ve been harvesting and preserving summer crops and also prepping soils to plant winter crops while there’s still heat in the giving earth, here in Djaara Mother Country.

While we’ve been working hard – doing-saying, lifemaking, neopeasanting, demonstrating the possibilities of living a low-impact ecological-economy – Tully, Anisa, Gemma, and we mob have also engaged in many conversations.

On Gemma’s last day, she asked whether she could record Patrick for a university assignment. Gemma is studying environmental science and has, true to her openness and curiosity, organised two radically different placements for her summer work experience – with Artist as Family and with Parks Victoria. Go Gemma!

We have edited this little interview, recorded on Gemma’s phone in the garden at Tree Elbow, into a twelve minute excerpt, and we’re sharing it as a way of giving an insight into some of the subjects/conversations we have with volunteer-students at the school, this time occurring at the end of a neopeasant lunch, just before we all headed off for siesta.

We hope you enjoy this little moment (12min listen) with Gemma, pictured here with Meg and Patrick.

As always, your input, questions and comments are valuable to our readers and to us, so please feel free to offer up what’s living in you after listening in. Also, we have a place available next month if you’re interested in volunteering and learning with us. Head here for more details and please get in touch if you’re keen to join us.


  1. Lesley Wills says:

    Interesting conversation and one that fascinates me the old adage as above so below. What are your thoughts on the biological transmutation of elements which uses or picks up unseen (to the naked eye) elements to change into other element’s which could mean our microbiome is on an unseen level transmuting for the benefit of the whole.

    1. Yes, totally plausible, Lesley. Perhaps what you’ve explained here is the underworlding of microbiome country at work. The workings of the unseen, of microbial transgenesis, of much-more-than human shapeshifting, transforming the human and broader-than experience in ways that are beyond human (and bot) comprehension. This is essentially Gaia theory – we are all connected, we are all interrelating, the complexity of which is mostly unseen… To materialists this theory is not possible.

  2. We are what our guts make us…

    1. To a fair degree, yes.

    2. Joel says:

      Really feeling the full circle of your thinking grow in strength. What a beautiful conversation, thank you for sharing, it is truly a joyful inspiration, I love these insights, especially our forest garden being. So good!
      Much love to you and the mob

      1. Thanks for once again bringing in your encouraging positivity, Joel. Having young folk in our lives, like Gemma, who ask direct and goodly questions enables for a momentary distillation (in words) of what we are deepening in our lifemaking. In an age where modern psychology sees Jung as a witch, and yet ever more folk are opening to spirit/Country/Gaia/mythos/poetics/soul, society surely appears to be splintering. And then again, quite out of the ordinary, another materialist suffers/experiences something very big, which eventually leads them to understand their grief as a fine teacher, and in this process they become catapulted into the sacred and thus begins their life alive in an alive world. Intellectually it’s a path from, say, The God Delusion to The Science Delusion, but it’s so much more than this when we think with our whole bodies. Love to you and your mob, AaF xx

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