In a little street of a residential neighbourhood of Daylesford, we come about a lushious and slightly chaotic garden. These are the 1000 sqm of the school of applied neo-peasantry of Meg, Pat, Woody and Zero.
On these 1000 sqm, there is a house where the family lives, with a huge kitchen to make all the food transformation, bake the bread, heat the house with the stove which also is an oven. They have also built 3 little huts, of which one is almost a complete small house. There is also compost-bucket based squat toilets with a separate pot for peeing (good fertiliser!). A huge rainwater tank covers the water needs. A vegetable garden shares what is lefts of the space with the chickens and ducks sheltered in the netted orchard. In front of the house, a leisure space with a tree-house. On the side, in an open yet covered space, there is a pizza oven and a table to eat outside. There is no garage as they travel by bicycle. Meg and Pat live mainly from exchanging services and goods in what they call "the gift economy". When they started, it was with three households, nowadays, it extended to 80 households. There is also a coop to buy large amounts together and hence reduce both costs and waste. For nearly 70% of their needs, they do not need money anymore. The 30% that is left are covered by occasional renting of their little house, nicknamed the "love shack" as well as Meg's work two days a week at the Permaculture Center Melliodora with David Holmgren.
Practicing permaculture in an urban environment in its largest sens, that is as a complete way of life and not only a gardening style, Pat and Meg regularly host people who in exchange for a helping hand are hosted and fed, in a similar fashion as for woofing, except that it is a real training in this way of life in order to teach urban permaculture as well as the gift economy.
The daily life is mainly organized around the short term. Proteins have priority, meaning that if a fish is caught or a rabbit ensnared then the other activities are put in the background while this is attended to. After in the priority order comes the garden and then the rest of them. Food production is central as it is a basic need.
There are numerous activities made for and with the surrounding community. There are workshops to make preserves, to make kombucha,...etc. Pat and Woody go and hold a stall at the nearby market to help people identify mushrooms or weeds. They take part in caring for the shared gardens as well.
It is a life rich with encounters and connected in a very joyful way to its environment, for independent and self-sufficient peple who are greatly attached to a great quality of life for their family, for their guests, their community as well as for the planet
Blog: Artist as family