Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Zaytuna Farm

Welcome to Zaytuna Farm, home of Geoff and Nadia Lawton and the Permaculture Research Institute in a subtropical village known as The Channons, New South Wales.

In Arabic, Zaytuna means olive; the farm is named after Al Zaytuna Mosque, a famous mosque in Tunis where many Moslem scholars have been trained.. Geoff and Nadia are practicing Moslems, and the farm is run with a strict set of rules that adhere to their religion.

Since I arrived almost a week ago, I have joined a crew of about 20 volunteers, students, and interns who help maintain the farm and education center. We hail from all corners of the globe: Mexico, Holland, Jordan, Canada, Japan, the U.S., France, Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, Australia are all represented.

The place hums with activity, community, and hard work.

On any given day I could be:

Planting, mulching, weeding, watering or harvesting the main crop.

Propagating a huge selection of trees for agroforestry.
Laying down irrigation.

Chopping and dropping in the food forest, a complex human-designed, perennial food producing system that mimics a natural forest.

Feeding or harvesting the products (milk, eggs, meat) of chickens, goats, and cows.

Building infrastructure, such as tent platforms, a straw bale building, or a water harvesting swale.

Life is busy on the farm. Some of us get started at 5:30 am with Geoff, and there is learning to be had until around 10 pm when we wind down and head to bed.

I won't post many pictures because the internet access is limited. And sorry the blog has slowed down as I've settled in to life on the farm!

More news soon…forthcoming postings on titillating subjects such as what cows eat for breakfast, fascinating realizations about California weeds, and my top ten favorite Ozzie words.

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