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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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Food Forrest Gardening

As part of THE Hungry Spirit Masterplan we will be creating a Food Forrest on site, to show how we can create a productive, edible landscape in a semi-arid environment. We are planning to host a workshop on this later in the year.

They have been applying the principles of the Food Forrest in the middle east for over 2000 years very successfully and it makes sense to me that we can do it here too.

Imagine a cool green space in summer on the opalfields as a retreat from the heat, creating a lovely microclimate and providing abundant food.

Anything is possible!

This is a great little video on Food Forrest Gardening!

Thanks to Permaculture Magazine for sharing!


Grow Your Life – Permaculture Short Course!

We celebrated an incredibly delicious winters weekend after rain in Lightning Ridge (dam was FULL) at the Grow Your Life – Introduction to Permaculture.

With 17 students from across the Murdi Paaki region; including people from Dubbo, Tooraweenah and Gilgandra, Coonamble, Brewarrina and Walgett as well as a couple of Lightning Ridge locals, we had a beautiful mix of passionate people.

Nick Huggins enjoyed the experience of the outback after rain and showed just how scaleable and applicable the permaculture principles are.

With concepts like ‘edge thinking’ and ‘regeneration rather than sustainability’ and the ‘rise of the funghi’ students were challenged to consider their environment differently.

THE Hungry Spirit team would particularly like to thank the vision of Mackillop Rural Services for empowering many of their team members to join the workshop and the Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service too.

And of course, many thanks to Walgett Shire Council for their support to bring Nick Huggins from the southern slopes to Lightning Ridge to share his wisdom and help form the basis of THE Hungry Spirit masterplan!

We Aren’t Africa; Or Are We?

We aren’t Africa, in western NSW, that’s obvious, but many of the challenges we face could be argued to be similar.  Hunger is not from lack of food, but from the wrong kind. Land degradation is from over farming and ill considered land use. Drought is consistent and I think is a reaping of what we have been sowing internally for generations – scarcity, fear and doubt.

Our communities resilience is waning with disconnection and external forces and a struggling sense of purpose. On the outside we are miles apart; on the inside, we are all still human – and our environment reflects our inner path.

Food is a common thread for us; it weaves magic among us if we allow it.

I found this incredible story of the Chikukwa Permaculture Project in Zimbabwe really amazing and am grateful for the opportunity to share it. I have purchased the video, so we can show it at The Hungry Spirit at Lightning Ridge in the coming weeks.

Thanks to Permaculture News for sharing this incredible story  http://permaculturenews.org/2013/08/15/the-chikukwa-permaculture-project-zimbabwe-the-full-story/

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

How To Green The World’s Deserts

Allan Savoury is a really smart guy – clearly, he is doing a TED talk!

I remember seeing a variation of this presentation at the Sustainable Living Festival in Armidale a few years ago and I recall being seriously blown away by the simplicity of the point of view.

It was the first time I really got the concept that my parents’ had been involved with back in the early 90s – cell grazing and holistic farm management.

It’s simple.

“mimic nature; there is no other alternative left” Allan Savoury

If you would like to learn more about how you can apply these kinds of principles in your own backyard OR your farm join us in Lightning Ridge for the Introduction to Permaculture on 27/28 June

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.