An article written in the Gatton Star about the School sustainability program I work on for many years
by FRANCIS WITSENHUYSEN
29th Mar 2016 2:30 PM
ST MARY’S School sustainability garden has become a special place students can go to escape the craziness of the school yard.
The garden was started after the 2013 floods when the school received some funding towards the mental health rehabilitation of the students.
A Holistic orchard, fairy garden, veggie patch, chicken pen and native bees make up the garden, with room for more installations to be added.
Students and 2016 sustainability gardening committee member, James, said his favourite part of the garden was the chook pen.
"I get to feed the chickens, collect their eggs and learn about the benefits of compost," he said.
"But the most important thing I’ve learnt in the garden, is to always water the plants.
"I like to come down here when I have a headache. It’s nice because its quieter and cooler.”
St Mary’s School Officer, Michael Wardle, helped to get the garden going three years ago.
"It’s a place for the kids, made by the kids," he said.
"The students own it from the ground up.
“And they get hands-on, in the dirt while learning about where there food comes from.”
Michael said the garden was a good place for kids who are having issues to come down and have space and reflection time.
"I work with some kids who are having troubles in the class room so I bring them out here and do some practical things and relate it what they are doing in class. That way they have some hands on learning," he said.
"This is a space where those kids can come to play and express themselves without interruptions."
Michael said the garden also helps the school to be more sustainable
"We have processing tools too so all of our organic waste ends up here,” he said.
“And 60 per cent of what people use is organic waste, so the school has reduced its waste by 60 per cent and growing veggies at the end of it.
Mr Wardle said typically there would be between 30-50 students down in the garden, of a lunch-time.
"Savour Soils was recommended to us by a friend who had heard we had moved. As busy people, with only slightly ‘green’ thumbs, we were keen to engage a consultant who could provide a property-specific report, complete with local knowledge – so that we wouldn’t be wasting time, energy and money planting the wrong plants in the wrong places.
When we contacted Michael he outlined the three levels of consultancy services he provided. As we had settled on a large rural residential lot and wanted to plan our long term future there, we engaged Michael on a full consultation basis so that we could commence the permaculture design, with an understanding that a number of elements take three to five years to implement.
Michael visited us on a number of occasions, taking observations of the property, our lifestyle, and asking many questions. Most importantly, Michael listened to our dreams and goals and also took into account our limitations, particularly as we are time-poor, and provided a report that will help us create a garden that will feed our family and look after itself in an energy efficient way.
So the overall outcome was a property report that will help us achieve our goals and break them down so they are not as overwhelming. Michael’s knowledge has provided us with a 25 year plan of growing our own food, educating our children and enjoying our property. He has been so approachable and eager to answer our questions and design our garden our way. We wouldn’t hesitate in recommending Savour Soils for anyone wanting to gain a deeper understanding of permaculture, or anyone seeking holistic advice on how best to feed their own family from their garden." - Megan and Jacob
Did you know we also do Land Design? Using our unique approach, adapted over time we will
Below is what we offer for those interested in taking their ideas further along the permaculture journey
Verbal Design Consult
First is a verbal, little research and no report, consult where I come to your site, talk to you and any others living at the site, asking a few questions, to discuss your time, energy and financial budgets, what you would like out of the site (e.g., how much and what kinds of food) and what elements you would like included in the design then we tour the site talking about various options - $300 (approx.. 3 hours onsite with 1 hour offsite research)
Concept Design Consult
Second option is the same but with research, 30 page report and doing a concept design (rough outline), after which we sit down and look at the report and again walk around the property talking about the design.. Depending on how extensive the concept and size of the block - approx. $700 (subject to scope) (approx..10 hours )
Working Plan Design Consult
The Working Plan design which includes report, concept and a much more detailed design, and again walk around the property talking about the design.. Again depending on size of block, research and level of detail - approx $1250 (subject to scope). (approx.. 50 hours)
Adaptive Design Consult
The Adaptive Design Consult is where we truly embrace the design principle 'Creatively use and respond to change' and over the course of several years we design and create your design on the ground suited to your context. We are engaged for a period of 3 years and over that time we come and work with you to help fulfill your dream of a flexible permaculture design. - approx $4500 over 3 years
An article written in the Gatton Star about the seed library that we help start with our local Library
by FRANCIS WITSENHUYSEN 2nd May 2018 1:21 PM
FROM little things, big things grow.
Did you know there is a seed library where you can borrow seeds just like books?
Any member of Lockyer Valley Libraries can borrow up to two packets of donated seeds to take home and grow. Then as the plants begin to produce seeds, members can save the seeds and bring them back to the seed library. The range of seeds available include herbs like basil, coriander and sage as well as vegetables like pumpkins and capsicums. There are also some flowers including marigold and cone flowers.
Lockyer Valley Regional Councillor Michael Hagan said the seed library encouraged community spirit and sharing.
"So far, more than 280 packets of seeds have been loaned,” Cr Hagan said.
"It's really growing in popularity.”
The seed library was started in January 2017, when Michael Wardle of Savour Soil Permaculture and Nicole Kilah from Lockyer Libraries brought the concept into fruition.
"While the idea of a seed library has been around for awhile, it's the first of its kind in the region,” Mr Wardle said
"The more a seed is germinated in an area, over successive generations like this, the more adapted it becomes to that particular region.”
"The seed library is important because it builds community resilience, and it's helping to support the community in growing their own food.”
He said to keep the service flourishing, more seed donations were always welcome.
To donate, write your name and the seed variety on an envelope or plastic bag and drop the seeds into either the Gatton or Laidley libraries.