We are a fledgling permaculture project based at Mt Nathan on the Gold Coast. We are creating a model of a local farm to provide for a Community Supported Agriculture- CSA. The project is based on using the landshare concept as a site for the farm, we work with our host to create a beautiful, ecologically sound and regenerative food producing system, instead of the other option of ongoing brush cutting and slashing lantana and the likes.

We hope to be able to provide members of our community with safe, nutrient dense local food, along with a relationship to the farm and the food source. As a parrallel, we want to provide a model for a more productive and beautiful utility on otherwise high maintenence lifestyle blocks. If this model can get through it’s early stages, we can provide a template for other blocks who’s owners want something more useful out of their land. We hope this will lead to a self replicating model where our food supply can come home and we can be safe in the knowlege that our food is grown in a safe and ecologically sound way, as well as being more secure in regards to our food supply.

We have to pay someone, whether it be interest on a bank loan, or a lease or whatever. In this situation we prefer to pay our host a percentage of our sales. This keeps us from exporting capital from our area and gives owners of otherwise high maintenence acreage blocks an alternative. Instead they have a beautiful permaculture garden as a feature and a value adding asset- a garden of Eden.

Up to this stage we have been doing a year of trials to see what works well. We have had success and failure and a pathway has now been created for a small productive mixed farm. One of our biggest challenges has been dealing with the recent volatility of the weather – a dry pinch lasting 5 months followed by over half of a metre of rain in a big dump. We anticipate weather shocks like this as being a fairly regular part of the future and our designs in response to this have worked better than expected – we have had great results with contour Hugelkultur beds, that harvest water runoff into their own soak trench and in aggregate, act as a main swale (I will be putting up a more detailed post about this).