Our Permaculture Life

Welcome to my new blog – Our Permaculture Life. Everyday I explore what it means to live a simple sustainable life in my home, garden and community. I love to explore what can I do to live more lightly and be making a more positive contribution to the planet and society. I will write about my experiences, ideas, challenges and insights – in permaculture gardening, simple healthy living in the home, staying debt-free, having a permaculture livelihood, raising children in an ecovillage, homeschooling, community gardens and much more…
I live simply in a permaculture village with my husband and 3 children. I am debt free and work part-time from home together with my wonderful husband, sharing responsibilities for our children, home, garden and business. I am surrounded by an abundance of food gardens, incredible nature, great community, clean air, fresh water and lots of love and laughter. It is a happy and healthy way of life for me and my family. We all love it! 
I deeply care about the impact of my lifestyle. I want my daily actions and choices to make a positive contribution to the earth and to society. I care about the future and the planet, so I take care with my presence here.
As an inquisitive young person I questioned why things were the way they are, and felt deeply troubled by war, social injustices and environmental degradation. I studied at the University of Melbourne which gave me a solid grounding in creative problem-solving. New doors were opened to ways of thinking that sparked in me a burning passion to find out how we could design a better way to live in this world – to create sustainable human habitats – and to find out how I could be part of that. 
Still I craved more depth, more meaning, more guidance – so sold everything I had, accepted donations from family and a prepaid contract from the University to share what I learned, and set off on a solo pilgramage to visit pioneering sustainable living projects with a backpack and fold up bike. My journey started at Schumacher College in England. There in 1992, at this new school for ecological paradigm and systems thinking, I met some of the worlds most exciting thinkers on the forefront of the global change for sustainablility who have become my close friends and mentors.
What began as a 5 week program at Schumacher College extended to a year. There I met the founder of the Ladakh Project, sustainable community development project in northern India. So inspired by her work, I volunteered to help for months, and immersed myself in expereincing a traditional sustainable culture. I came home knowing it was time to bring this together and find a way to live sustainablly with head, heart and hands connected. Permaculture has provided the foundation for this. Since then the ethics of permaculture – earth care, people care and fair share – have infused themselves through all parts of my life.
The next few years were spent starting Northey Street City Farm in Brisbane, working with food coops and community food systems, running education programs and in 1998 I made a treechange to Crystal Waters Permaculture Village.
I just love teaching permaculture and sustainable living to kids and adults, and helping people and groups to design their permaculture projects. My work is exciting, rewarding and enriching – and always adventurous. My permaculture work has taken me to twenty countries since 1992 – twice with the the whole family.
I intentionally set out to be debt free – to free myself to work where it matters; be actively engaged in family and community life; and to remove unnecessary stresses from my life. I so value the real freedom a debt-free life brings. I earn enough and spend wisely. My wealth lies in my quality of life. I feel great richness in my deep connections to family, place, community and nature.
With help from my family, I designed and owner-built our eco-house in this ecovillage, Crystal Waters. We built the house in what I call ‘buildable, affordable modules’. We generate our own power, collect our own water, deal with all our biodegradable waste on our acre. This way of life has resilience and a true sense of security.


I have surrounded our home with abundant permaculture gardens full of vegetables, fruits, herbs, flowers, medicinal plants, bushtucker, tea, mulch, fibre and fodder plants. I love foraging for my meals and fossicking in the garden. I love sharing from my garden too. I’ve given away over ten thousand edible and medicinal plant cuttings and toured thousands of people through it. 


My children are growing up immersed in nature, culture and community – a bit like my childhood where we explored outside with kids from the neighbourhood till our Mums called us in for dinner. Living and thinking sustainably is normal for my kids. Connecting is natural. I am so impressed by their deep appreciation and respect for the earth and how they are constantly coming up with ideas to redesign the way we do things in this world – to be net-positive and regenerative – to create more benefits than negative impacts. 

Having my first child at 37 and my youngest at 44, I am an older mum – and I love it. I see myself as my children’s first teacher and this excites my creative passion for learning and teaching. My daughter is homeschooling, my eldest son is at a little local school and my youngest son is exploring the world as 2 year olds do. Keeping up with their insatiable appetite for learning and being able to respond interestingly to their fascinating questions about life constantly keeps me challenged.
Each morning I wake up in awe of the incredible wildlife and natural beauty of the landscape where we live here in the Upper Mary Valley. I am reminded every day that we are just one of the species that dwell in this land and that we need to share, and that we need to care about the impact our lifestyle is having. I have daily wildlife encounters which is one of the great joys of living here for me.  Maleny is my local town. Here people know each other and smile. It is a centre for cooperation – food cooperatives, artist cooperatives and a strong community economy. I know that everything I do does make a difference. I understand that to bring forth positive change in the world I must first walk my talk – do it, live it and be it. So, I try to create positive ripple effects with my life – through the things I do and say everyday.
I recently met down-to-earth blogger, Rhonda Hetzel. She has inspired and encouraged me to write about our permaculture life, so here I go!

3 Responses

  1. Jacqui
    Jacqui at |

    I am also a mother of 3 kids under ten, who tries to live as sustainable as possible. We live on 5 acres in southern Tasmania. Your blog is wonderful and I am always looking for inspiration and ideas that are family focussed. Merry Christmas

  2. Morag Gamble
    Morag Gamble at |

    Thanks for your comment Jacqui and welcome to my blog. Living this way with young kids just makes so much sense, and I feel it is such an healthy and delightful way to raise children. Merry Christmas and best wishes for 2016.

  3. Australian Gardening Granny
    Australian Gardening Granny at |

    This is a wonderful introduction to your blog, such an interesting background, thank you for starting at the beginning and sharing it with us.
    Thank you for sharing your family, your home and environment, and your permaculture journey.