What is your background with permaculture and how did it lead to the creation of Permaculture Haven?
Both of us (Sebastian and Ewa) while growing up in Europe, were helping our parents and grand-parents in the gardens, sewing, planting, harvesting and processing food, using composting toilet, re-using, re-purposing and repairing anything and everything. We were learning and implementing natural gardening and farming a long time before we heard about the permaculture movement specifically.
Our own adventure with permaculture started in 2012 when we first laid our eyes on the block of land which became our home and our paradise. After lots of research and inspired by some of the food forests and permaculture pioneers like Masanobu Fukuoka, Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, it was exactly what we were familiar with and what we were looking for when we started to implement our ideas into our property.
We love to share what we know and so we decided to complete the Permaculture Design Course to become professional permaculture designers: and so the Permaculture Haven was born. The name “Permaculture Haven” comes from our Permaculture way of life and Haven because we live in Pacific Haven on the Pacific Haven Drive 🙂
Where is your site? Can you paint us a picture of what your permaculture homestead and garden are like?
We are in Pacific Haven QLD 4659, please find the attached image from our design showing our property.
How have you applied permaculture ethics outside the garden?
We recycle and re-use wherever and whenever we can and so some of our raised garden beds are made of tree logs, others of an old garage door we got from the local recycling shop. We have built our worm farm from an old broken fridge. We have built a new shade area from a bamboo we grow on our property so always trying to use everything and avoid producing waste.
We grow most of our food here on the property; we now have enough for us, for our animals and to share with others.
Ewa has created a local swap group to share and swap garden produce, plants, seeds and anything else homemade. No money is involved, only sharing, giving away and swapping. We meet once a month for now over three years already and it is always great fun and a good place to meet like-minded permies. Our swap group has been featured in the Grass Roots Magazine, too!
We are very pleased to be featured in the Grass Roots Magazine for three times already, the swap group once and our homestead twice 🙂 It makes us very happy to know that the Grass Roots team believes their readers are interested in our way of life.
Ewa has been asked to contribute an article each month to our local Fraser Coast magazine, The Beacon, about permaculture and the sustainable living choices we can all use to help ourselves and the environment.
What are your permaculture courses like? Is there anything unique about the space you’re working in or the components of your courses?
Our courses are desgiend to teach and show people how easy it is to grow, eat and process healthy food, how to produce fertiliser, how to live sustainably and how to be self-reliant using nature's cycle. Our courses are a mix of the theory and hands on experience. All our workshop and courses include a little testing experience of our home grown food or home grown tea to inspire the course participants in showing them what is possible and how it can be done. Some of our workshops also include a cooking experience from harvesting through preparing, cooking and testing the not so common edibles we grow in our food forest. We also try to have some perennial edible seedlings here so the course participants can start to grow their own food straight away. All in all the goal is to teach and show how to make it simple and effective. Even subjects which may seem complex and complicated at first, are easy done if you know how. We are also planning some cooking workshops soon 🙂 All made simple and delicious, from our home grown ingredients! Our course participants who come from further away are always welcome to come the night before the workshop and stay here overnight.
Step us through what a normal day on the site is like.
We start our day with feeding and caring for our animals; this is Seb's job 🙂 I go to the food forest and check if the seedlings or young plants are in need of water. I also collect a mix of fresh greens for breakfast every morning.
We are still both working, luckily from home, so this takes us a couple of hours at least every day.
During the day, there are always different jobs and tasks. I spend every free minute in the garden while Seb is mostly busy mowing, building or maintaining the animal enclosures, maintaining the property, checking on the animals a couple of times during the day, collecting eggs and working on one of the new projects. We are still in the “building” stage and so the projects are not running out and new come onto the list all the time!
We also make our own sourdough bread once a week.
We got over one hundred different edibles in our food forest which are perennials, self-seeding and some other annuals as well. Our food forest is still young so it needs regular attention but I am also busy with our annuals and depends on the season, with harvesting and preserving food. We love our home grown teas, jams and pickled vegetables so there is always something to do! But, everyday is different! Ewa is also responsible for the website building and maintenance and the social media to stay connected with others. We also work on the Permaculture Designs for our customers and do workshops and courses. The days are different but we always end the day with a healthy meal we’ve prepared, I would say about 80%-90% of the meal comes from our home grown ingredients.
What advice would you give to a new permie starting out, or to someone who doesn’t think they have the time or resources to fully incorporate permaculture into their life?
Start small, very small! And expand! Start with small projects like a little herb garden and plant some perennials. Plant your first edibles very close to your house and easily accessible, the best is if you can see it from the kitchen or the place where you prepare food. There are many different delicious perennial edibles which are low maintenance and you can start to eat the new growth nearly straight away! Also start your own natural fertiliser production, even if its just a small compost pile, worm farm or just two chickens if you have the space, as this is one of the most important steps towards suitability in our opinion.
Anything else you’d like to tell our readers?
We are always very happy for volunteers who to come, help and learn in exchange for food and accommodation. You can also book our cabin for a night or two and just enjoy the nature. Please check out our website www.permaculturehaven.com for details. We also have just recently started a new project www.holiday4hand.com to make it easier for us and others to stay connected. All more than welcome to join. It’s free!