We recently stopped in for a weekend to visit an old friend of mine who lives on 6 acres of beautiful North facing slope, somewhere between Sydney and Byron bay. I haven't seen Zoe since our time together in the Panya permaculture project in Thailand 5 years ago, so our recent journey up the coastline was a perfect chance to catch up with her.
Zoe lives with her partner Shmuel, and her parents (both gardeners and landscapers) also live in a separate house further down the hill. Since moving onto the land together about 3 years ago Zoe and Shmuel have been building up a thriving fermented foods business, making a completely amazing range of kimchee's, pickles, kombucha's and water kefir, and selling them at local markets. They've turned the main slopes of the land into incredibly productive garden beds filled with the seasonal veg that goes into their ferments.
They keep several cows, a herd of chickens and a pair of pea hens, and are practising holistic management, rotating the animals regularly through small areas of land, cows followed by chickens in order to increase the fertility and health of the land (a very simplified and basic explanation!). This is something that I find completely fascinating and we had some great late night chats about how it all works.
Alongside all of this since they arrived on the land they have also been building themselves a natural home, a timber frame filled with 'light earth' - an earth and straw mix- and a huge amount of recycled and reclaimed materials. Apart from some plastering and a few extras they are almost done. You can see from the pictures just how beautiful a space it is, and its also in amongst a group of trees, overlooking the valley. Totally lovely.
We left feeling really inspired by what Zoe and Shmuel have created, especially as this is similar to what we are hoping to start (as soon as we decide where to be!). Check out Zoe's amazing fermented range of deliciousness on facebook under Warinyan Farm/Bottled culture