In the balance

Laying a foundation … Permaculture Exchange co-founder Nick Huggins has 100 isa brown chickens for egg production.A Permaculture Exchange course at the Australian National Botanic Gardens over a weekend in May drew an eclectic group of participants.
Nanjing Night Net

A woman from Tuggeranong had cleared out her garden to prepare for permaculture-based holistic growing. A couple from Fadden was keen on permaculture for the way it fosters a sense of community. And an arts worker wanted to join a community garden.

Nick Huggins led the course. He studied horticulture and landscape design on the Gold Coast where he worked for 12 years before moving to Tarago two years ago, where he bought 41 hectares.

With Colin McLean of Braidwood, he founded Permaculture Exchange last year to run courses on the subject. McLean says permaculture provides a design tool and techniques that lead to happiness and life balance.

The pair runs courses in Goulburn, Braidwood, Cooma, Wagga and Canberra, and offers a permaculture design certificate course over six weekends from June 8 at Lanyon (permacultureexchange.org.au).

On his Tarago farm, between Bungendore and Goulburn, Huggins’s garden is built on the contours, where ”keyline” beds harvest water from the landscape for the gardens below. He showed an image of a dead kangaroo on his property, the flesh of which had been eaten and stripped clean by soldier fly larvae. He fed the soldier fly larvae to his cows.

Huggins keeps 100 isa brown chickens for eggs, has introduced turkeys, and grazes angus and murray grey cattle. A local with a food stall at Lake Bathurst sells the eggs and cares for the chooks while Huggins travels.

At Lanyon, he will supply potatoes, onions, garlic, eggs, milk and apples to the cafe to use in meals for course participants. He will use the vegetable garden and orchard at Lanyon to teach participants who move to a working farm how to start a micro enterprise.

At the Botanic Gardens course, participants ate cakes made by a Wamboin resident who used local milk, eggs and fruits, and there were jars of spicy tomato pickle for sale made from 60 kilograms of green tomatoes grown by Nick Huggins and turned into preserves by Robyn Carroll, of Canberra. They were given a copy of Bill Mollison’s book Introduction to Permaculture, and a quote of Mollison’s made everyone laugh: ”That’s not a slug problem but a duck deficiency.”

Susan Parsons is a Canberra writer.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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