• Events & Workshops
  • THE Hungry Spirit Centre For Semi-Arid Regeneration
  • Organic Wholefood Retail & Catering
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Events & Workshops1 THE Hungry Spirit Centre For Semi-Arid Regeneration2 Organic Wholefood Retail & Catering3 Growing Community4 Nice Things People Say5 Free Stuff6 Connect7
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A Little Oasis In The Outback – Landline Story

We had a lot of fun filming with Tony Eastley and the Landline crew for this piece. Screenshot 2016-04-20 14.24.27

I am always so grateful for the media in their support in sharing good news stories AND to those who I bring along and challenge to step outside their comfort zone to share THEIR good news stories. Ashley and Ronnie are amazing and humble people.

Lightning Ridge is an extraordinary place.

We can do anything.

Click the link below to watch the story and meet Lightning Ridge locals Ashley, Ronnie and Rebel


Don’t Forget Zone 4

When we are focusing on our own backyards it is easy to forget that there is a zone 4 (permaculture concept) out there that is full of abundance if you are willing to look for it – even in a semi arid zone.

We are always looking for ‘free food’ beyond our borders.

This week Michael found mushrooms on the opalfields; they popped up after the rain. He is so careful about brushing them to make sure we don’t end up with gritty lunch. I pan fried them in butter and had them on some homemade chia and buckwheat toast = coupled with greens from the garden and it was sensational!

20150629_190045There is so much to forage and make use of in the zones expanding from our homes. Firewood. Sticks and posts for using in the garden. Wild fruits and plants. Around Lightning Ridge we often pick ‘snottygobbles’ the fruit from the napan tree – tastes like a passionfruit. We also harvest wild oranges and I used to know of a secret grove of quandongs but I think the drought might have heavily impacted them. There is the wild spinach too – the warrigul greens. There are fish from the river (our freezer is FULL of Murray Cod at the moment from several fishing adventures by Michael) and if you have permission, wild game like kangaroos, emu eggs and rabbits.

We often stop roadside and pick apples or peaches from trees that have popped up along the way.

Keep your eyes peeled. Mother Nature provides for us in abundance and it’s there for our harvesting; mindfully and always allowing for regeneration too, of course.


How Do We Do It?

We grow lots of food in the outback of Australia – we eat mostly from our own garden, supplemented by meat from local farmers or from suppliers we have found and mindfully purchased consumables – organic if we can, but not always.

We don’t spend thousands of dollars.

We consume consciously even though we live in a remote town.

We don’t spend hundreds of hours doing it.

We live clean, simple and fresh.

It’s a mantra.

We support local businesses.

Time. Money. Access. These are all excuses I hear all the time for people not living the life and making the choices I describe above.

These are all excuses for ‘it’s not that important to me’.

Which is all a deeper belief that ‘I am not important’.

Pushing buttons much?

When we understand that these things are just the surface layer we tell ourselves we can get to the true reason you aren’t growing your own, making time for healthy eating or making different choices.

Let me be clear – it’s not time; it’snot money; it’s not your remote geography…it’s your BELIEF system (BS).

And I am calling you on it.

So if you have the inclination right now to stop reading; it’s exactly the reason you should keep reading!

But let me be clear – I am no different to you – I started in exactly the place you are right now…until I decided that it SUCKED being there and made a different choice.

I made a choice to choose ME.

It believe in ME.

To prioritise ME.

To create a life I LOVE by valuing ME.

When you shift to this level of love for yourself you become compelled to take time, to invest, to create the energy and momentum you need to live a life with no limits.

If you focus on loving yourself – the skill set, money, time, access and energy all materialise.

Start focusing on SELF LOVE – and the garden will begin to grow!

If you would like to join us to explore this conversation more – Grow Your Life – Introduction to Permaculture would be a great start!

An Interview With Nick Huggins – Permaculture Expert


If you would like to join Nick and Rebel for an Introduction to Permaculture in Lightning Ridge on 27/28 June – click HERE

Re-Inspiring Drought Stricken Farmers with Permaculture Scholarships

With the conversation in western NSW constantly turning to drought, The Hungry Spirit Centre for Semi-Arid Sustainability at Lightning Ridge is attempting a new strategy – re-inspiring food producers through permaculture.

The Centre has engaged the services of world-leading expert, Nick Huggins, to travel to Lightning Ridge on 27/28 June to host a 2 day Grow Your Life – Introduction to Permaculture course with full scholarships available to farmers that want to come along to regain their inspiration and learn easily applicable holistic strategies for growing food.

Nick Huggins understands the issues facing the western region of NSW in regards to the scarcity of water and the issues of drought.

“There is a great need for people to reconnect with food and food security and take back the reigns of how we produce our own food,” he said.

“There has been so much wisdom lost and permaculture helps us get this back and the good thing is that it’s scalable – the principles can used in a square metre growing space to farms the size of small states and it works in any climate.”

Nick says people are successfully applying the principles of permaculture in landscapes like the Dead Sea area in Jordon,  so it makes sense that the principles, techniques and ethics can also be applied in this semi-arid zone.

“There are four primary points in permaculture design and the first and most important element is water,” he said.

“What we focus on is putting water back where it belongs in the landscape, permaculture draws on a large number of techniques for harvesting water.”

Nick says this weekend will be the opportunity for drought impacted farmers to reconnect; to exchange ideas, to connect with themselves and with other like minded people.

“My role is to offer the facilitation of this process and invite the question and offer ideas about how we can apply permaculture in our lives to reconnect, provide for ourselves and live a great life.”

Grow Your Life – 27/28 June 2015

Email rebel@thehungryspirit.com to apply for a scholarship

To listen to a full audio press the arrow below

Grow Your Life – An Introduction To Permaculture

June 27th & 28th – Grow Your Life, Introduction to Permaculture & Permaculture Planning/Design (2 days) with Nick Huggins

FOOD bring us all together; it is a common need and it can be incredibly delicious and also stressful! If you want to get back in touch with your inner hunter/gatherer, learn the skills to create your own food heaven, re-connect with why you are in food production, or inspire your kids in the garden; then join other like minds in a successful outback veggie patch and learn from one of Australia’s leading Permaculture experts – Nick Huggins! Over two days we will learn and apply the basic principles of why, how, where, when and what you can do to create a sustainable, delicious environment, reconnect to your food source and create abundance in all areas of your life…YES, even in the outback of Australia!

If you are looking for a way to be more self-reliant and want your land to be more productive and profitable (backyard, paddocks or community space) then this is a great course for you! Permaculture provides the skills to improve your quality of life, create resilience, care for the environment and build family and community strength and this course has been designed with you in mind!

Grow Your Life

Time: 9am – 5pm each day

Cost: $295 (payment plan available – workshop to be paid for when booking is made)

Click here to BOOK





Greening The Desert (Food) And How It Relates To Western NSW

I came across this video on Greening The Desert in my research on permaculture and semi-arid environments and it got me even more fired up about sharing the knowledge, skills, principles of permaculture in semi arid western nsw.

‘All the world’s problems can be solved in a garden’ Geoff Lawton

is a pretty powerful statement – and when you see the first 5 or so minutes of this video you will realise how – and that it may be in fact, partly true!

Even in drought, and low water/high salt environments, they have shown, through this project, that we can create abundance in the landscape; if we understand how and implement the knowledge that understandings can bring. Permaculture teaches us this.



If you would like to learn more – join Nick Huggins for an Introduction to Permaculture at Lightning Ridge on 27/28 June 2015

Fish & Food Even In One Of The Driest Climates In Australia

Ashley and Ronnie Steed are a couple of pioneers when it comes to food production in a semi-arid environment.

They have spent the best part of the last decade or more perfecting their veggie patch, orchard and most recently; their aquaponics set up. Not only are they supplying their own healthy and delicious food from their 50x50m residential mineral claim on the opalfields at Lightning Ridge, but they are now also growing fish for their table – proving just about anything is possible if you create the intention and manage your conditions.

Ronnie and Ashley have a well established orchard that incredibly includes mango, peaches, apples, grapes and paw paws and their garden, before aquaponics was always full of seasonal produce, grown directly into well managed soil.

A couple of years ago they began experimenting with aquaponics and using mainly re-used material, set up a double tank system that now houses a few hundred fish.

What has grown is abundance in the back yard. The system is all solar powered and fed by rain water (supplemented by bore water during very dry times), as Ronnie and Ashley do not have access to mains water or power on the opalfields.

They have had great success growing everything from carrots and beetroot to corn, beans, tomatoes and leafy greens.

Ashley and Ronnie have used old tractor tyres, rescued tanks, recycled (and well washed) chemical containers and old pumps. Basically the only new components to this system are the pipes and the fish!

They use cumborah gravel as the growing medium, in prevalent supply around the Ridge and when I asked Ashley how he planted the seeds he just made a throwing motion with his hands indicating he just threw them on the top of the gravel and they grew.

Seriously blew my mind!

If you want to learn how to do this in your own backyard – check out the Aquaponics Workshop being held in May

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ShortVideoAquaponics23.4 from Rebel Black on Vimeo.

Inspired Veggie Gardeners

The first ever Hungry Spirit workshop was hosted on Saturday 21st February and 16 enthusiastic participants rolled up their sleeves, donned their gloves and big hats and got in and blitzed the garden, filling it with love, seedlings and seeds!

Workshop facilitator Rebel Black was chuffed that so many people had traveled so far – participants came from Tooraweenah and all around Coonamble as well as from Lightning Ridge.

“There is an obvious hunger and desire for re connection to food and to source!”Rebel said.20150221_102711

“It was a treat to work with such an enthusiastic and passionate group of people – and I know they will all go home and get their veggie hand in – and share their produce and new skills with their family, friends and community!”

Rebel says, in her experience, the key to successful backyard veggie gardening in semi-arid Australia is to give it a go and see what happens – and record what happens, so you know for next time.

“You can read all the books you like and google your pants off – and still kill plants or successfully grow stuff…the best thing is to throw your expectation to the wind, take on a positive, productive and love filled attitude and give it a go!”

Rebel’s advice is to start small and when planning to begin a veggie patch consider things like your time, what people like to eat, your space and water availability and don’t be afraid to fail!

Rebel has both a philosophical and pragmatic approach to veggie gardening in semi arid Australia.

“Things die – it’s a part of the natural cycle of life – if you are scared of seeds not sprouting or seedlings dying then they most likely will. If you embrace it as part of the leanring and the cycle – then you just put more in and harvest the abundance that flows when you get the mix just right!”

For more information about upcoming workshops CLICK HERE


Greenies In The Garden: The Resilience Green!

IMAG2006I am in love with my veggie patch at the moment and the funny thing is that it is the messiest, most unruly and least organised it has EVER been, in a decade or more…no I am serious, it is!!!

But that is what I love about it.

We have so many self sown broccoli that I never got around to transplanting that are merrily growing delicious and nutritious little broccoli. We have rows and rows of splendid Asian greens that I can barely keep up with and radishes the size of enormous potatoes! The nasturtium, as always, takes over and spreads its wings over everything bringing bees and other little critters in and even the kangaroos are getting their confidence up and coming into the patch to leave little dropping presents. It is unruly and crazy and totally wild and it is brilliant, because I haven’t done a thing in there in months and it is STILL feeding us and then some!

Our snow peas are abundant and our spinach and beetroot keep growing away ready for us when we are ready for them.

For me this is the RESILIENCE needed in our life right now. I have had a lot of time away from home what with holidays and my husbands’ unexpected hospital visits, so our garden really has to fend for itself and RESILIENCE means that rather than surviving, it actually THRIVES! What JOY that is!

What it means is that all the hard work done in years gone by is paying dividends now. And I am grateful for that.

For me this is the same approach I apply to all my life and, it is what I coach my business, health and community development clients in…how to develop resilience and how in turn to foster it in their clients.

If you put in the hard yards now…learning, practicing, building your wisdom and growing your foundations – the rewards will be enormous, paramount and most importantly, timely.

It is hard to predict when the shit will hit the fan. But what you want to know is that when it does, which it inevitably will, you are prepared and RESILIENT, so you don’t just bounce back you fly back!