We’ve been incredibly busy with harvest season this year. It’s the first time in 12 years without volunteers helping to prepare and store food, fuel and medicine for the winter, exchanging their labour for learning, and helping us process the various abundances of this giving season.
We’re happily ensconced in the thrum of this seasonal moment with a quieter, more beautiful world, engaging with a plethora of wonderful neighbours, song birds, goats and other sentients while ramping up the next chapter of our radical homemaking.
We’ve also been making more neopeasant how-to videos and putting out other offerings on our Youtube page as our way of contributing to strengthening peoples’ home economies, adaptation and general well-being.
Last week we participated in the first Happen Films podcast, which is a weekly, hour-long conversation with people navigating this new era, embracing the not-knowing of it while at the same time knowing pretty much what to get on with.
While we’ve spent the past 12 years slowly weaning ourselves off the monetary economy, and up until COVID-19 we had managed to achieve a 70% reduction of dependancy on the global monetary economy, like many people we have lost money income. We are now a 85% non-monetary household, and while we’re pretty excited about this as we’ve been working towards such an achievement for a while, we weren’t entirely prepared for it. The first 50% of reliance on money was fairly quick to achieve. Going car-free, giving up air travel and a few other expenditure-curbing things did this for us within the first twelve months of our transition all those years ago. However, the remaining 50% has been a slow step-by-step process, the last 30% being for our rates and some some utility bills, though mostly for our access to a modest parcel of land.
Let’s talk about housing being recognised as a basic human need again in Australia, and let’s all work together to phase out multiple property ownership. Let’s sing up the seeds and the rain for universal access to land for everyone so we can grow the local-ecological economies we really need to invest in now.
We have been overwhelmed by people’s generosity in response to our return to social media, and specifically for our neopeasant how-to films. Your kind and encouraging words (both publicly and privately) are spurring us to share more about our life and daily processes. We have had many people ask us to put a Donate button on our blog. We have ummed and aahed about this but today have decided to. Many thanks for your support, everyone. We are feeling most humbled and most grateful.
OK, let’s take the oak tree, for example. Air conditioner, alkalising leaf compost, fine timber, Green Man cosmology, edible tree crop, and a now sacred feral tree of our homeplace in southern Djaara country. Is such reculturing neopeasantry?
Is neopeasantry the walking, harvesting, shelling, cracking, steeping, drying, grinding, baking and celebrating of acorns? For us honouring the fruits of this old deity tree as food and soil maker where both remain outside of an economic lock and key is precisely neopeasantry. Teaching this and the following skills, ethics and lifeways non-monetarily where the exchange is labour for learning, is what our School of Applied Neopeasantry at Tree Elbow University is all about.
The Permaculture Living Courses we’ve been running over the past year have been a radical experiment in education held in the centre of our family life. This is worts and all learning and sharing. There is no convention centre, no powerpoint presentations, no absence of non-human kin and children, dirt and rich microbial life, as Woody and his friend Fab (juicing gleaned crab apples) can attest.
Life is cooked, dried, stewed, fermented, stored and consumed, and so too are all the apples we can reach that haven’t been eaten by our fellow friends of the non-monetary economies – the local fruit-eating birds.
Apples that come from the mothering earth are dried by the fathering sky within a gender fluid logic that is both ancient and present and calls the future to account. Apple cider vinegar and scrap apple cider vinegars brew alongside one another. Before bottling the strong vinegar and the weaker scrap vinegar they are strained and mixed together to get a strength we desire with minimal waste.
Neopeasantry is a physical life (no gym memberships required), and lifting heavy items (such as this basket of vinegar bottles to take down to the cellar) without damaging our backs is crucial in maintaining the capacity to perform such economy and culture, which keeps us fit.
Making sourdough fruit loaves using biodynamic spelt grain and our dried fruit, dried ground orange peels and some spices (purchased from the not-for-profit food co-op we belong to) means we can eat highly nutritional luxuries for around $2.50 a loaf.
All of our bread making occurs in a bowl and tins. We are too busy to clean the mess that benchwork requires, so we’ve adapted our method – stretching the gluten in the bowl every hour throughout the day (or when we’re home), and doing the final rise in tins that will hold this incredibly wet loaf together. It’s a 24-hour ferment that takes 12 minutes of our attention throughout the day and 60 minutes in the oven, which we fuel with bicycled and hand-cut tree waste.
We reckon our high-hydration sourdough (which costs $1.80 a loaf) is the “best thing since the return to unsliced bread,” a favourite saying in our home. It is a locally grown staple (thanks Tania and Steve from Burrum Biodynamics for growing it) that even our gluten intolerant friends can happily eat.
The starter is made from Burrum rye and because of the diverse microbiology attracted to rye grain it always makes the starter (leaven) very active. Buying yeast, which must come in single-use packaging, is avoided when keeping a starter. So are the safe industrial strains of yeast that men in white lab coats have prepared for the money chasers since the 1960s. A starter becomes one of the household kin, it needs attention, love and regular feeding. Excess starter makes lovely crumpets, just tip it (like wet pancake mix) into a hot oily pan and cook off both sides.
For about 9 months of the year we make neopeasant cheeses and yoghurt from contraband local raw milk when the cows are not being rested. Neopeasants resist state encroachment into our lives and the ridiculous rules that come with a nanny state. We don’t passively accept all laws. Many need challenging and resisting, especially if we are to live again in relationship with the cycles of abundance and limits that constitutes the living of the world.
Going without cheese and yogurt for approximately three months of the year bonds us to the cycles of the year and the need to rest, which enables us to appreciate these gifts of pasture and cow, sunlight and water even more. Yum!
Meg loves to teach from this important hearth of our home,
and also from this hub of the community – the free-to-learn Culture Club where wild microbes enable the possibility of what she calls ‘community-immunity’ without a single cent going to any pharmaceutical company.
Patrick teaches from other commons in the town – the Daylesford Community Food Gardens for one – de-privatising his food growing knowledges to any participant who sees the value of a community flow of gifts economy.
Banana passionfruit vine creeps slowly across the library garden, while the pumpkins spread out across the front annual bed inviting all to behold community food that is not under economic lock and key. Keeping away the encroachment of private interests has taken some work and even among permaculture peers has created tension. This model draws on traditional Djaara food and energy provisioning and our own peasant and indig ancestors’, albeit not in the cultural or technical details, but rather in the spirit of keeping food and energy resources non-polluting and free from narrow self-interest. We call this community-provisioning or community-sufficiency.
Household-provisioning is the foremost economy for us. Neopeasant household provisioning requires broad self-interest. We grow it for ourselves, volunteers, friends and to trade with community but we do it in a way that is ecologically-integrated. Making cookies with seeds, oats and dried fruit we either grow, glean or buy through our local co-op enables us to eat non-packaged healthy snacks that cost very little money. A neopeasant economy is a time-rich/cash-poor economy.
Tending and growing tiger worms is integral to such an economy. These worms are soil makers and provide home-grown bait for more provisioning.
And if we don’t catch a feral redfin at Lake Daylesford,
we might go home via the creek and bring a little yabby protein home to join the dinner.
Commoning is a big part of ours and a growing number of neopeasants in the town. This is Bluey, a mama Boer goat who through our participation as shepherds in Goathand Cooperative, we’ve got to know and love.
Ryan, a former PLC student, interested in alternative forestry practices, gives young Ella a cuddle. Ella will become one of the herd working sensitively and biologically to reduce fuel loads in the climate changing and thus fire prone forests around town.
Tess gives herd alpha Woodison a scratch while he’s on the job in the Cornish Hill commons in Daylesford. Where these lovely mammals are standing couldn’t be accessed for the 3 metre high blackberry a few weeks earlier. This photo shows you where they’ve got to.
Hand tool forestry is complimentary to the goat browsing. And planting useful trees, such as this strawberry gum (thanks John + Emmanuelle for the gift), into the commons has been something many of the PLC participants have done,
especially after multiple sessions of blackberry surfing.
Once again, this area was impenetrable before our board crushing (blackberry surfing) work, allowing Zero to do more rabbit hunting in areas that were too dense even for this little tough nut.
With each harvesting of the abundance of perennial crops at home comes learning. Little learnings about when to harvest, where to pick from, what is labour intensive, what is not.
A year’s supply of brewing hops can be harvested by three people in a morning. Audréane shows her haul.
Some things we do still calls for money, such as the 3-hour house and garden tours we hold from time to time. While we’re forever transitioning away from the hold and grief money once played in our lives we still require some.
Demonstrating the harvesting of garlic scapes on one of these tours raises awareness about growing your own bulbs and getting an extra feed out of them, instead of leaving the scapes on which will put the energy into the flowers instead of the bulbs.
Demonstrating the simple processes of humanure composting on these tours can encourage a transition from fecaphobe to fecaphile and a way forward in a peak phosphate rock era.
Recognising we are the largest mammals on our quarter-acre plot means our shit is out of the outhouse and back on the table,
via a very safe and slow method,
that is fool-proof once you know how to do it.
And this is our shit on our table. Beautiful produce enabled by a closed-poop-loop.
And this is what Zac, Tess and Audréane turned some of that goodly shit into.
Learning and making on the go is a big part of a PLC course, which came out of the teaching we were already doing with our SWAPs or volunteers. Many had said to us they’d done a Permaculture Design Course but it wasn’t until they came here that all that theory was actually performed and they could see how to begin to embody it.
Keeping bees and making mead,
knowing the farmers who grow our staples, the earth processes given freely for us to make pasta,
to learn skills for life so our consumption is conscious and full of story and indebtedness,
and caring for the ecologies that make more living possible,
is the heart of neopeasantry, which is a deliberate refusal to follow the intransigence of global economic rationalism and all its waste, separations and despair. While the land on which we make this alternative economy has never been ceded, and we stand in the trouble of this, we have found that capitalist food, energy and medicine resources can be divorced with a little access to land and a lot of will, attention and care.
If you missed it here is ABC Gardening Australia’s take on what we’re doing. It’s cheesy but generous and they reveal a complex story of economic and cultural change in simple and accessible terms, for which we are grateful. (If you’re reading this in your inbox you’ll need to click through to our blog to view it.)
There have been so many learnings, diggings, explosions, failures, accidents, fermentations, tears, discoveries, haulings, screamings, inventions, reclaimings, cuttings, upcyclings and salvagings to get to this point in our neopeasant transition. When we began we saw the internet as a friendly commons, that is before the dopamine engineers and greedy manipulators polluted it. So each year we contribute less and less to it, weaning ourselves off a digi-dependancy that further plays into the hands of powerful interests and their non-transparent algorithms and spying ways, the data of which they sell to third parties who forever try to claim our attention.
With three course participants at a time and six two-week courses now complete this means that 18 students have completed a Permaculture Living Course with us. A big thanks to Marty, Cara, Teeka, Mo, Liam, Christy, Ryan, Claire and Lucille who came in the late spring and early summer months and Felix A, Felix L, Nat, Audréane, Zac*, Tess, Peter, Patrick and Tara who came from late summer to mid autumn. We hope you are all out there in your homeplaces stirring up big pots of microbes and trouble.
* Thank you so much Zac Imhoof for taking all of the beautiful photos above!
Fire! It’s wild, feared, harnessed and praised. Our first tool. Like the Greek story of Prometheus stealing fire to give to mortals, Djaara people – on whose land we have made home – also have their stolen fire story. Waa, the raven, was originally white and in stealing fire got himself burnt. We heard this told at Yapenya in Bendigo recently. All comers were invited to come witness this new Djaara ceremony.
Djaara women performing Yapenya, before the ceremonial fire is lit.
Performing new ceremony is soulful, much needed work. Former SWAPs Connor and Marta – who met at Tree Elbow, got hitched, travelled far and wide and moved back to the area – are expecting a child. Patrick lit a fire for Connor and a number of men gathered in the forest to warm Connor into fatherhood with stories about being dads, sons and men. The night was transformative, a kind of medicine.
Meg concurrently held a women’s circle for Marta and again the night revealed many insights and gentle sharings, and this group also realised ceremony was missing in their lives as women.
The cultural absence of gathering around fire, in forests and in other more-than-human environments, led us to establish Make & Play a few years ago. Patrick has recently begun a second weekly group for older kids called Feral & Free – a radical form of scouts (drawing on both the ecological masculinities and ecofeminisms of our day). The following quote from Patrick’s book re:)Fermenting culture, which excavates the fire stealing creation myth of western culture, has been cited as the epigraph in the recently published, Ecological Masculinities: Theoretical Foundations and Practical Guidance:
A culture that has lost its beginning story is a culture adrift, destructive and self-harming. While the West can be seen as synonymous with imperialism, this is not our old people, this is not our true culture, gender-lopsidedness is not our only heritage.
Feral & Free crew
The Celts reportedly said that a woman’s soul is male and a man’s soul is female. How’s that for oldskool gender fluidity? The father fire (technics) and the matering earth (ecology) are within us together, regardless of how we identify. They are not opposing stories, they are intertwined. We are technical animals; storytellers. Story derives from fire.
Story features at all these gatherings in the forest. It is stories – what we tell out and to ourselves – that make us who we are. When we gather and speak together across a fire a raw heartfeltness springs forth. Courage to do this is more than required. Woody spoke his first public story recently, at the local community Cicada storytelling night. He mustered all his pluck to raise himself from his seat and make the slow walk up onto the podium at the Senior Citizens’ Room behind the Daylesford Town Hall. His story was called Spring Blossom, and he quietly spoke of beholding the blossom of a wild apple, trying with his 6-year old language to conjure that earlier moment of praise and delight for the tree, for all of us to share.
Pic: Juanita Broderick
Stories heard from across the crackling foci of the fire speak to our ancient selves in our present bodies. The podium or stage can adversely change this intent, but that’s another story for another time.
Woody is growing up within a general household narrative where a commons (of any form) is never to be capitalised, where an economy (of any form) never enslaves us or makes ruin terra mater. On working out how he is to save up for a new guitar he said: “If I get the sticks from the tip to make my kindling bundles, then I’m not selling them from the floor of the forest but only selling waste.” This ethic he did not learn at school but by learning to think with a forest’s thoughts. What if the dominant value system shifted from unrestrained growth at all costs to the sanctity of humus and earth others at all costs? What transformations of culture would we see?
If we know that the tumorous Internet of Things is just the next sales pitch in a long line of greed and intransigence, how do we garner the courage to turn away from such seduction and face and embrace humus, and all the quiet things of earth not screaming for attention? How do we perform other stories that don’t just passively go along with the dominant, egotistical ideology?
Pic: Laurel Freeland
Woody has been setting up his fire-starting stall beside his dad’s edible weed ID stand at the Daylesford Sunday Farmer’s Market. Like the mushroom ID stand Patrick offers in autumn, spring is weed time, and there are many beneficial autonomous plants to eat, make medicine from, preserve and ferment. None of these gems beneath our feet require climate altering transportation, weeds move around without industrial distribution systems.
Weed knowledges are just some of the things we’ve been sharing on our Permaculture Living Courses (PLCs) this spring. Foraging for weeds is a powerful way back to sensing what ecological economies might be performed in the near future. Weeds constitute about 5% of our diet, but because of their many health-filled properties this constitutes about 40% of our preventative medicines.
On the third and final 2018 PLC we hosted Ryan, Lucille and Clare for two weeks, and reperforming commons of all forms was central to the curriculum. As was making leek kraut, another arsenal in our preventative medicine chest as it is both a pre- and probiotic.
Just three students at a time is small enough to engage intimately with the many interrelationships and layered learnings within a permacultural neopeasant household. We began the course with a big list to get through, that grew and grew from this picture on…
Wood was collected on bikes from areas of forest where fuel reduction burns take place. We talked about the importance of reducing fuel load going into the fire season while at the same time leaving more than enough for habitat, mycelium and humus production.
We also scavenged useful materials from the tip such as chicken wire and fire wood. (If you’re reading this in your inbox you’ll need to click through to our blog to watch the video below).
We gathered elderflowers for brewing tonics and ciders in ready for the festive solstice period.
We planted pumpkins at the community garden, yet another goodly place for reclaiming and expanding the commons.
We prepped beds (double dug and humanured) in the Tree Elbow annual garden. By the time a PLC participant leaves The School of Applied Neopeasantry they would have been introduced to the imperatives of origin-known food. They are also introduced to our economic form: subsistence first (nourishment of household), surplus second (gifts in and out to community), money third (paying the rent and bills). If money by its very nature must grow as an economic form, and knowing what this means to terra mater, it must be sent into degrowth. Money constitutes just 30% of our economy now. We are active degrowth-ers.
Each day of the PLC, when we broke for refreshments, we engaged in discussions on the philosophy, poetics and politics of neopeasant economy, permaculture garden-farming, or regenerative culture making (take your pick of language). Oh, and the subject of Zero was a high priority…
While philosophy, poetics and politics are important, they are nothing without a sleeves-rolled-up pragmatism and a goodly interspecies back scratch.
While Ryan, Lucille and Clare were with us we updated our fire plan, a three page document featuring various codes and scenarios, and what our actions will be with each. We’re sure this doc will be put to use a number of times this season.
We carried out a dress rehearsal on the first Very High day in early December. The PLC participants will no doubt call on such prep work well into their climate changed futures.
Bush fires are, of course, going to be more and more frequent, and more or less a direct feedback to neoliberal economics. Thanks Jordan Peterson environmentalism! Thanks neoliberals everywhere! Thanks belligerent Baby Boomers and your mainstay Ayn Rand ideology! Go get ’em Hercules, Superman, indulgence tourism! Plugging and filling our gutters with water is really such a quaint response to the climate leviathan so indelibly ready to pounce. But plug we will.
As a car-free family, we (ironically) need to be even more prepared on fire risky days than those with cars. Which days we stay home and defend and which days we leave early (on the bus out of town after hopefully persuading the driver to let Zero and his PTV rail approved dog carrier on board because we are, pleadingly, climate refugees) will be critical to call. Packing special items and required documents to have on hand throughout the season is just one of the many tasks listed on our plan.
Ryan, Lucille and Clare carried out fire mitigating work on public land nearby to Tree Elbow. This labour also has the benefit of ensuring a weedy commons is not sprayed with pesticides, burnt or bulldozed by one of the various land managers, and thus the weed cycle returned to phase one, again. Using chop and drop techniques and an old peasant trick of laying down a sheet of iron or a large board onto the brambles, we reduce fire risk while using the crushed material to make more humus for other (fire retarding) plants to grow within.
We made this video to highlight holistic, post-pesticide methods of fire and weed mitigation, which is not the same as traditional Djarra land management practices, due to the fact the A1 soil horizon, and thus the ecology, has changed so radically. However, like both contemporary and traditional Aboriginal principles of land care, our methods aim to incorporate fire-risk mitigation with ecological enhancement. Watch on our Youtube channel or below.
Fire is something we handle every day. For us it is a local, renewable energy. Our outdoor kitchen stove (repurposed from the tip) to fuel our 8-slice toaster made up of a wire rack (again from the tip), powered by wood (also from the tip) collected on foot or by bicycle. No grid is necessary. Being of the mindset that nothing needs replacing, things just need repurposing, remaking or mending, we move our household’s economy further into a degrowth of money and debt, growing an abundance of relationships with people, forests, soil communities, knowledges, nourishment and skills.
And when the day’s labours are done, and the heat is upon us, we descend to the lake with our big post-carbon rig. Just about everything we need comes from the tip, skip bins, op-shops, garage sales or from terra mater herself. A blow-up dinghy is only ever a reclaimed waste product, lovingly patched. It never comes new off the shelf. When the tip runs out of such things, then we’ll learn to make our own canoes from scratch. This is powerdown in action.
Picnicking by the lake is a great chance to unwind, especially after the stresses of a day prepping for potential fire. Although it only turned out to be a dress rehearsal, it was a great opportunity to see where the weaknesses in our fire plan lie. Swimming in untreated lake water is so restorative after such a long, hot and windy day, especially after we’d been so pragmatically staying with the reality of climate chaos, trying not to lose our senses.
On the last night of the third PLC we invited the first 6 participants to join us. Nearly everyone was available. We walked with Liam, Cara, Ryan, Lucille, Clare, Moe and Marty up to the forest so each could see what the other had done in the commons to allay fire threat and continue the work of moving ecological succession into the next phase.
The PLC alumni came together for dinner and swapped notes and sang some sweet tunes. A tradition we’ll keep going.
Marty and Cara, from The Rattlers, and the first PLC, gave a wee after dinner performance. (Again, you’ll need to click through to our blog or Youtube channel to watch if you’re reading this in your inbox).
Aren’t they great! We’re continually inspired by the love, labours and intent of young people on their respective regenerative culture making journeys.
Connor, Marta and Jeremy – the three Tree Elbow musketeers of 2017 – have all moved back to the area permanently, and are all brewing up special things of their own. Jeremy will be taking interns at his place in 2019, especially for those interested in learning all things curing animal skins, blacksmithing and other lost arts. Here he is with newcomer to town Tony, harvesting broad beans at the most recent community garden working bee.
Community garden working bees really get the love juices going. Through activities like gardening, the soil releases nonpathogenic Mycobacterium vaccae, which increases levels of serotonin and decreases levels of anxiety in mammals. Do it communally and you get oxytocin as a top up. Oxytocin is the bonding chemical found naturally in the body and exchanged between loved ones (including between dogs and humans). Though be aware, it also heightens awareness of enemies and potential threats. This smiling assassin will rake apart any mug who threatens terra mater.
And this mama, Lovely Duck, is also a fearsome warrioress when it comes to keeping her brood safe. It has been a pleasure to get to know her over the years. Her truly giving demeanour instructs us and lets us know what love is possible as radical homemakers.
There are many in our community who are actively engaging in a flow of gifts economy. These lil beauties were brought to us by Fiona and Edward from Adsum Farm. Kohlrabi kraut is the best! Knowing where the great majority of our food, medicine and energy comes from means we can better live accountably to our local land’s logic and processes, and know what we need to give back to keep such abundance flowing.
Thank you Fiona and Edward for your generosity and nurture, and thank you Sari for your flame red morello cherries that you didn’t want to see go to waste. They have lit our days; a wild morello cider is on the brew, and a bottle or two will boomerang back to you.
Flame red morello cider will be appreciatively consumed this summer as more and more fires will burn in the nation-state of Australia, never ceded. Bill Mollison famously wrote that, “Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.”
Fire is a wild force that could more than displace us and our community one day. Creation stories across the world speak of how humans tamed or procured fire as our first tool, and how we got burnt in the process. With climate change fire will be wilder and far less tameable. Djaara people haven’t forgotten that Waa got burnt stealing the first tool and they are retelling that old story today. We would be wise to heed such a story.
Merry solstice everyone! May you continue to trust the fire in your bellies in 2019, and stoke your guts with goodly microbe-generating fibres and ferments from your homeplace hearths. If you would like to come and visit our homeplace we have three more house + garden tours coming up in 2019: Sunday 24 February, Sunday 31 March and Sunday 28 April.
Pic: Jennifer Polixenni Brankin
Sending our very best wishes for the solstice and new year, much love from Artist as Family.
It has been a very social time of late, guests from many places visiting with much sharing, learning and sleeves-rolled-up labouring. A lovely French couple, Ariane and Thomas, stopped in. They are making a film of transitioning peoples from around the world, and they provided us a very privileged bird’s eye view of Tree Elbow University’s School of Applied Neopeasantry, AKA our quarter-acre home ecology.
Thomas Dorleans even made this little mash up of the footage he took, which we layered with our mate Charlie‘s songful magic to make this little vid of the spring garden. (If you are reading this as an email subscription you’ll need to click through to our blog to see it).
Thomas also took this lovely pic of us with our second Permaculture Living Course (PLC) participants, the delightful Christy, Moe and Liam.
A PLC involves many differing skills and knowledges and any given day will include various songs of fermentation, cellaring, composting, sowing, harvesting, soil prepping, building, cooking, repairing tools, community gardening, community forest stewardship and fire prevention work, to list just a few things. Woody has been making a series of videos of late of such labours and learnings and this one shows the work Christy, Moe and Liam carried out to continue the fire prevention and ecology enhancing programme we’ve initiated on the south-west edge of the town, based on David Holmgren’s and the Spring Creek community’s volunteer work over the past 25 years in Hepburn.
This work complements and extends the beautiful labours that Cara, Marty and Teeka were doing in the previous PLC. Make and Play bush school kids, Woody, Luna, Fab and Leah, hang out while gently absorbing the volunteer service work of adults taking responsibility for their futures.
Make and Play has been going for two years now and we have been learning so much about forest biomes, edible weeds and wild foods, and how to make magic, simple tools and build collaborative skills.
Patrick is about to start Feral and Free, a group for older kids, which will be a radical, less formal form of Scouts. If you would like more info please email him. Patrick has also been offering his weedy and feral knowledges at the Daylesford Sunday Farmers’ Market, collecting donations for the community gardens in exchange for proclaiming the edible and medicinal properties of numerous weed species. His next weedy appearance will be on Sunday 2 December between 10-12 noon.
Other guests we have hosted recently include Eva Perroni and Eric Holt-Giménez, who came to stay with us on their tour of Australia for the Food for Thought and Action series. With Eva we put together the Land for Life event as part of this series, and it will soon be available as a video on our Youtube channel. Community elder and permie activator, Su Dennett, joined us for a post Land for Life breakfast.
The Land for Life event, featuring Bec Phillips, David Holmgren and Eric, was a remarkable moment in our community, drawing on indigenous, permacultural and post-capital relationships concerning food, land, culture and economy. The night transcended typical heady discussions to become more about trust building and healing the traumas of our imperialist pasts, each as capital subjects and actors of varying degree.
It is always sobering after such a powerful event to return to the stuff of the everyday, using the body for what we call productive yoga – lifting, hauling, cutting, stirring, holding, shaking, walking, mixing, harvesting, digging, sitting, throwing, forking, running, thrusting, hurling, bending, squatting, etc. All these things constitute the biophysical rhythms of the day from stretching the gluten of the spelt dough, to mixing the weed or poultry teas, or sifting the dry potash from the char to make a range of home-brewed fertilisers required for the garden. In combination they call us home to a certain presence of mind, through the body,
like hanging out the family cloth, for example. Each cloth, after being washed, is ‘ironed’ by the palm of our hand as we prepare them for the drying rack. They dry by the solar of the sun (outside) or by the solar of our hand axed and walked-for wood (inside). Many small, repetitive tasks throughout the day mosaic into a rich order of productions, which together constitute as low an impact life as we can currently achieve. We were once fecaphobes, now we are fecaphiles, as our brightly singing family cloths and humanure soils attest.
And it is this that we aim to impart during each of our PLCs. Below Christy, Moe and Liam plant out our home-raised tomato and basil seedlings into our newly prepped humanure compost annual beds. Closing the poop loop and saving seeds are two very powerful processes that enable us to live off the industrial food grid and therefore divest from that sector of capitalism.
Running these courses has been extremely rewarding and heartwarmingly positive. Building relationships are everything within regenerative-gifting economies, and the social warming that takes place in a PLC is certainly the sympoetic honey on the cake.
Many thanks for reading. We look forward to responding to your comments and questions. If you are inspired by what we do please subscribe to this blog or Youtube page, and tell a friend or two about the things we’re up to. It’s your social network that will help to share and expand a culture of households who are in transition from damaging forms of economy to a culture that includes a plethora of regenerative and life-giving household responses to the predicament of our times.
Before we go we’d like to tell you about a number of forthcoming events:
Patrick is giving a talk in Melbourne on Wednesday November 14 at Hawthorn Library (584 Glenferrie Rd). The talk, entitled Here come the neo-peasants, is about how and why we live like we do and what are the social, environmental and climate imperatives of transitioning to low carbon lifeways. Entry is free. More info here.
We have one more house and garden tour for the year on Sunday November 25 from 1.30pm – 4.30pm. Tickets are $32.74 (incl. booking fee) and includes afternoon tea. You can buy tickets here.
Would you like to do a Permaculture Living Course? Do you understand the permaculture ethics and principles but are not sure what it means to embody them in your everyday life? Are you already on the path away from a pervasive pollution-consumption ideology but want to take it much further? Our next round of applications to do a PLC at Tree Elbow University’s School of Applied Neopeasantry are open. Head here for more info about what’s involved. And please email us if you’d like an application form. Applications close Friday November 23. The three autumn 2019 PLC dates are:
Feb 25 – March 10
April 1 – 14
April 29 – May 12
PLCs are 100% non-monetary and 100% non-accredited.
Well, it’s been three weeks since our sweet divorce from social media and we’ve been breathing more deeply by not serving the algorithm. We are exceedingly more productive, co-organising a significant new community speaking event, tending, gathering and making returns within our food and energy biomes, and teaching our first Permaculture Living Course (PLC).
Teeka, Marty and Cara are our first three PLC students
PLCs aim to transform permaculture principles and ethics into truly living the change – living alternative economies, practicing social-permaculture, fermenting and composting incalculable things to extend life and honour death, caring for kin, community and more-than-humans, developing post-materialist/capitalist lifeways, growing and harvesting home and community food and energy resources, making biomic returns (humanure, potash, micturated biochar, weed and poultry teas etc), and guerilla-managing public lands using regenerative land practices. Song-, philosophy- and poem-making also feature big throughout the day’s labours, coupling the pragmatic with the soulful, the earthly with the abstract. Our PLCs are 100% non-monetary and 100% non-accredited.
Apply. Our next round of applications to do a Permaculture Living Course are open. Head here for more info about what’s involved. Please email us if you’d like an application form. Applications close Friday November 23. The three autumn 2019 PLC dates are:
Feb 25 – March 10
April 1 – 14
April 29 – May 12
Gift. We’re looking for those who are not only committed to transforming their home economy into a carbon-conscious social ecology, but those already engaged in such work within the community (by which we mean non-monetary) economies.
Tours. Our house and garden tours have begun again and you can book for a tour here. There are two more tours this year.
Podcast tour. If you can’t make it to an actual tour you can listen to our latest podcast, Radical neopeasant homemaking, which was recorded a few weeks ago, captured on our last tour:
We hope this gives you a little insight into some of the processes, systems and biomes we labour with and within.
Event. With our community caps on we have been working hard with Eva Perroni to put together this special event, which takes place in our home town of Daylesford in less than two weeks:
Land for Life. Featuring Jaara speaker Rebecca Phillips, permaculture co-originator David Holmgren and US food activist-scholar, Eric Holt Giménez, this event will be the second in a series of talks, since we co-produced Land Cultures: Aboriginal economies and permaculture futures (2016) with Anthony Petrucci.
Note. If you’d like more info about Land for Life, please email us (click above right) or head over here.
Another thing. If you are reading this in your inbox, some of our media will not appear. You may have to click through to our blog to read the post in full.
Thanks. Thank you for reading and engaging with our labours in our little neck of the world,
Artist as Family.