|6 Birt Street, Picnic Bay, Magnetic Island, Townsville, Queensland, AU
A tropical food forest designed to thrive in a monsoonal (wet/dry) climate, with a nucleus on TWO 1/4 acre suburban blocks (but extending into the bordering properties to give an approximate area approaching 1 acre). Currently still in establishment phase, but will soon be used as a site for tours and educational opportunities for small groups of people as well as WWOOFers; and host a very modest commercial (micro) nursery. The main objective is to produce a significant portion of my family's (3 adults and a 9-year-old boy) food and medicine in a low maintenance system, as well as drastically reducing the amount of waste being exported from the properties. In this way we hope to provide a substantial demonstration of more holistic living and motivating others to transition into a more harmonious relationship with the world ~ which certainly includes other people.
Integro Food Forest will, like all living systems, evolve over time. I'm not only referring to the natural succession of the ecosystem that has already been catalyzed, but the imagination of the dynamic climax. Exactly what yields (including material, spiritual and informational) will be most important from this system in 1 year? 3 years? 9 years? what about 50 years from today? Only time will tell. Because the assumptions we hold about the future, today; are very unlikely to be completely consistent with the reality we experience once in that time.
Although we can have a fair understanding of the general trends we are immersed in and thus where we are heading. We cannot know all of the specifics; the details are inherently unpredictable. For this reason, the flexibility we need to allow for in our designs is very significant. This understanding also solidifies the notion that our "Permaculture Design" is just a starting point; I see it as a well-considered plan and should be followed as far as possible, but not with a fanatic obsession of getting the project to turn out exactly as we had planned. Go with the flow, by creatively using and responding to change.
SO, WITH THAT SAID...
Integro Food Forest is intended to be the 'base-camp' for my parents' (currently 48) future -- providing them with:
a beautiful, small, secure and financially-stable residence;
an abundance of locally suited food and medicine plants (mostly self-maintaining);
small animal products;
monetary income from multiple tenants
a source of renewable assets to trade;
alternative energy systems to maintain modest comforts;
organic waste recycling systems;
a positive, stimulating and nurturing home environment to raise their youngest child (9 y.o. son) to maturity;
opportunities for direct cooperation with Gaia; and
freedom to spend weeks or months abroad, sailing \ hiking \ bicycle-touring, etc.
These are the ideals, and we as a family are moving towards these goals slowly but surely. I would also like to reveal a list of other potential and intended benefits from this Permaculture Project:
just the presence of this project, so long as it is exposed to those with an interest, provides stimulation of awareness and positive feedback to motivate others in ways they can positively change;
taking that one step further is facilitating half-day or full-day interactive workshops on a variety of 'sustainability skills' (as they're becoming know as) that are specific to our climate and our needs [this project may or may not be an appropriate scale to host such events, we'll see]
by being available to Willing Workers On Organic Farms (WWOOF) or even just a simple tour, provides tremendous inspiration and motivation to actually make some positive changes in their own lives;
Integro Food Forest will not just accommodate my immediate family and WWOOFers, but also short-term or long-term renters (the number of which would vary depending on how often and how long my family is away for) because we also own a small duplex next-door and this currently has 5 people living in the two flats. The home we live in is also divided upstairs|downstairs so can easily host at least 2 more people;
providing a demonstration of holistic preparation and response to catastrophes such as cyclones [currently documenting how we fared in Cyclone Yasi after 1 year of establishment];
operating businesses from the home includes Integro Permaculture Systems and an informal micro-nursery for locals (however with more entrepreneurial people living here this could easily be expanded into an ecologically-based-economic-ecosystem, such as demonstrated by Joel Salatin in the USA);
I've already started collecting food waste from the Cafe down the road from me, bringing it back to the food forest and using it as an ingredient in compost, this is going to continue and I'll begin collecting from other sources as well; and
creating an ethno-botanically diverse garden that manifests a particular spiritual quality to this little piece of land - a speck on this Earth that densely harbors a rich tapestry of genetic material from all over the world in which Homo sapiens is intricately woven.
I shall return to this page soon and add more to it, because right now I must go to sleep. I will put in many updates from my activities and lessons of the last year, and once we're up to date, I shall begin writing many more updates about insights, plans and more detailed retrospective analysis.
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