What does contentment mean to you? Are you content in this moment? In line with the theme of this edition, would you find it valuable to explore and identify your perception and share that inner wisdom with others?
Since it is worthy of investigation, I recently asked friends on Facebook, and the essence delivered within the words offered by the collective was along the lines of; acceptance, appreciation, satisfaction and peace. Words of wisdom for sure!
Contentment is quantified as ‘a state of happiness and satisfaction’ in the dictionary.
Interestingly, out of 28 people who responded, not one mentioned they found contentment in ‘things or objects’, but rather, their sources were family, friends, food, alignment, abundance, support, connection, safety and beautiful environments–all of which are origins of nature and social interaction. These are freely obtained as long as your surroundings and culture are harmonious … would you agree? But does contentment go deeper?
Kari McGregor, a Cairns based Psychotherapists said for her, contentment is, “Being authentic and self-compassionate, which means taking the downs as well as the ups, and accepting it all as it is. Life doesn't only deliver us the things we want; it also delivers pain and vulnerability... but contentment comes when we're authentic, as that creates space for the self-compassion that helps us surf the waves. I used to think contentment was insufficient, and aimed for bliss instead, accepting that the downs would be as low, as the ups would be high. The latter part of that was correct, but I was wrong about contentment - it's an amazing heart space to be in where you can want things to be different from how they are, but be at peace with how they actually are. It's a denial-free zone in which we can simply be, without ‘shouding’ our way into a fantasyland that takes us away from the everyday beauty of reality.”
I really resonated with the last sentence of Kari’s comment because I’ve held contentment in a future time and space, with the belief that, when the day comes when I buy and live on my property; the one I’ve consciously designed for abundance and grown everything to meet the needs of my family, regenerating the earth and cocreating with a wonderful community of like-minded people, I would be content. It’s such a worthy vision to hold, likely the dream of many, but I was in denial of the ‘now’, the beauty and gifts of my current reality.
It took a shift of perception through exploration into ‘contentment’ that helped me discern that I was unable to feel content, until I ‘made it happen’ or ‘reached the goal’, and if I didn’t ‘get there’, then I would be disappointed. So what comes from this perception shift?
I went deeper into my psyche and found that I was operating from the point of view that I needed to ‘own’ land before I could be cocreating with this like-minded community and that somehow, designing for regeneration and abundance were tied to that ‘ownership’ or ‘having’ a place with borders, that differentiated mine and theirs.
I then stepped into acceptance of that standpoint, pivoted, and started appreciating the fact that I do live in a place where abundance abounds, in the wildness of nature and in friends and families gardens. In every garden I design and create for other people, is an act of regenerating the earth, and there I found a real satisfaction!
Most importantly, was my awareness of the amazing people in my life, within my local area and region that I cherish as ‘Tribe’, the community of inspiration and in whom I’m already connected and cocreating with! At this point, I discovered real peace, recognising that my dream is real and here now ... just packaged in a way that has no borders or sense of ownership.
In hindsight, my dream felt so important and I craved it so much, that I invested incredible time and manifesting for it and in doing so, missed the presence and place of contentment of what is here and now. This leads into insight from Donna at Wise Wombman Dreaming, whom commented that contentment is, “gratitude and not having to do, fix, solve, heal, change anything in the present moment.”
So, here I am, sharing my story of finding contentment, the unfolding that required only the change of my perception to know it by asking the question and exploring it for myself. I encourage you to do the same to see if you find some medicine in what it means to you.
Beyond this, here is an offering of some elemental practices shared with me by Kyle Laz from Elemental Living, that I use to feel content through connection with nature:
Herb spirals are a great way to get the most edge from a garden bed, enabling you to plant more herbs than possible in a square or circular garden bed, hence the more edge and flavour than a pizza! This video above shows a walk through spiral!
We've designed and installed many herb spirals over the years, partly because they are an attractive landscaping element, but mostly because they create so much surface area for growing herbs (that every home grown gardener loves), its a convenient to plant as many diverse types of herbs with the microclimates that the herb spiral design creates. The sun, shade and soil change with the height and side of the spiral created.
The design layout of the herb spiral below (same as the installation video above) had enough area off the front patio of the house, lending itself to a walk through pathway for a larger than normal garden. Below are examples of other spirals we've made in the past.
The team at Organic Motion is set to grow in the 12 month road map currently underway to re-designing the OM business structure. Whilst we have been creating landscape designs and facilitating workshops, we have held back on forming OM into the next level of business - that being a social enterprise.
Next level to us, is some land to regenerate into an abundant edible landscape while teaching permaculture and running workshops onsite to develop the land. Council approved earth houses and tropical food forests are just part of it. We will be focusing on social permaculture in this space too! So, if want to know more about why we are excited to have Jay back on the team, read on...
What brings you back to be part of Organic Motion?
After a joyful hiatus traveling and working abroad, I have gained a huge amount of experience and a new perspective on things that only a journey of 5 countries can provide. After initial creation in the organisation, I am eager to dive back into the growing enterprise that OM has become at the hands my dear friends Blake and Tonielle.
Why are you passionate about what OM is doing?
Seeing with my own eyes the need for permaculture principles and ethics to be spread far and wide, adopted as mainstream practice and communicated as 'household names', OM is the embodiment of my values in an organisational form. With mindful observation and interaction, OM property consultations are the beginning for most people to 'think outside the box' of their fence-line and see ways to incorporate sustainable elements into their lives for valuable and cost saving benefits. OM edible landscape design fills the need for a specialised service in the field to carefully craft a system that is personalised and productive. And my favourite part of OM is the sharing of knowledge by ways of educational workshops, courses, presentations and soon to be, certified training components.
What will be your biggest focus in the team?
My background in project management and public speaking are to play a large role in my contribution to OM and as tools for positive change in the region. As an active and enthusiastic person, I am passionate about community engagement, business relations, networking, research and development, innovation and most importantly, responding to the needs of those we are connected with.
Anything else you wish to share?
It is an absolute joy to be part of such an amazing tribe on the forefront of sustainable and regenerative practices in the region. I truly feel that each individual, organisation or business we work with are not just clients or suppliers, but all intrinsic connections in the flow of Organic Motion. I look forward to meeting each and everyone of you, while enjoying some tasty homemade, locally grown, organically produced, nutrient dense, living food!
Short answer...it is super efficient in fuel (wood) and time to cook scrumptious feasts!
We started out making the traditional cob ovens and still love them. It is the 3 hours of prepping the fire to generate the heat inside before to cooking, that often deters people (and us) from using the oven without a lot of prior planning.
10 reasons why we love the 'Rocket' oven:
Making a 'rocket' cob pizza oven is such a rewarding experience and we are often asked to run workshops.
Why? Well its always fun with more people and because it saves money!
You can spend 3 days with a small community, gaining the hands on experience through making one from the ground up - for just a fraction of the cost.
Seriously, the labor costs involved + the $700 for materials (cheaper if you source upcycled materials) results in the full installation costing just short of $4000. Considering its a unique and practical landscape feature that gets used often, and is one of a kind art piece, we have people requesting this often.
Usually, the kinds of people that come our way are 'doers' and like to make things themselves. We love that and are eager to share our knowledge and skills, which is how Organic Motion has grown into delivering workshops as much as designing abundant edible landscapes for individuals or communities.
It makes sense. For the $300 course fee, you get the D.I.Y manual and the know how to make your own, saving thousands in 3 days of workshop'ing in a fun hands on classroom.
If you are keen to participate in the workshop, just contact us for more details or sign up by following this link: Learn how to make your own Pizza Oven
Where and why...Here or there?
In permaculture design, 'Zoning' is a big part of the design consideration. By bringing awareness to 'zones' or areas based on how often we visit them, we can design elements into suitable locations to create a harmonious flow along access pathways and for time efficiency. Elements can be supported by other elements if located together, so identifying zones helps with appropriate location when planning.
This term 'zoning', refers to the areas of use are defined by the amount of visits per day, which is a reflection of the amount of energy needed in one particular area. This will always be related to the 'elements' located in these zones.
'Elements' are landscape features like;
From Pattern to Detail
Design from "Pattern to Detail" is a permaculture principle that relates to zoning. We observe, then illustrate the 'pattern' of daily visits/energy use of an area and then illustrate this in a 'zoning map' (below). This image becomes an overlay tool to then locate the landscape elements in the appropriate area of energy use, known as the concept plan (above).
So, what does efficient zoning and placement of elements look like?
You can literally walk along the path to your chicken coop, feed the hens, top up their water containers with the water tank full of rain water - collected via the coop roof. Once they are taken care of, collect the eggs, grab a few greens growing along the fence-line to drop in the worm farm to keep them content, in exchange for wonderful worm tea, which you can add to the herb garden on your way back to the house.
Fill your harvest basket with fresh herbs, tomatoes and beans for your omelet, a bunch of spinach greens for the smoothie - all within the 5 minute round trip! Legs stretched, deep breaths of fresh air, nutrient dense food ready to prepare and happy animals!
This just one scenario, a common one from a suburban block that has been designed using permaculture strategies and techniques. Of course, the more land, the possibility of more elements. But you need the time to interact and manage them too. Busy people working full-time jobs wont be able to manage acres of abundant food producing plants and animals. It is a lifestyle - and living on the abundance of your land can be a full-time job! An alternative to this is supporting local farmers and small-scale producers to produce the local, seasonal and nutrient rich food for you!
Our 7 Step Design Process
Each step requires a lot of observations, feedback, research and planning...but it is always worth it. Check out the first image below. This is just an introduction and another blog will be written with more detail of our design process.
Only your imagination and available time to co-create abundance in your landscape will determine the outcome of a design. For more information, get your hands on the IncrEDIBLE edibles tropical superfoods guide.
Common Names: Waterleaf, Surinam Purslane, Philippine spinach, Florida spinach
Origin: South America, now widespread in the tropics
A fast growing perennial bush to 60 cm high with
soft main stem and branches to 30 - 100 cm high, forming an attractive, clumping plant. The small pink edible flowers are pretty enough for it to be grown in the flower border. The bright green leaves are broad and fleshy in texture and delicious in salads. It self-sows very readily. Abundant in the tropics, it will go dormant during winter in the subtropics. Revered throughout Asia for its medicinal uses similar Panax ginseng for blood building and rejuvenating tonic properties.
Uses:The crunchy, tangy, nutritious leaves are high in protein and rich in Vitamins A and C as well as iron and calcium. The leaves can be eaten raw in salads or lightly cooked as a green vegetable in stir-fries. It is high in oxalic acid, so consumption should be avoided or limited by those suffering from kidney disorders, gout and rheumatoid arthritis. New research suggests it protects the liver and reduces cholesterol.
Planting Details: It is very easy to propagate from cuttings during the wet season or spring. Cuttings 10-25 cm long can be rooted easily in a glass of water or just pushed into moist soil. Strip the leaves off the bottom half of the stems and bury to half their length, Spacing 60 cm apart.
Soil: It prefers a moderate to rich loam
Sun: Partial Shade
Water: Keep moist
This is one of the plants that will be explored in more detail in the IncrEDIBLE edible Tropical Superfood Workshop!
This is one of the super star plants that every home gardener should have. Not only is it exceptionally easy to grow, but it is ornamental in its appearance with white lace stars upon a delicate umbel, and yet is extremely useful, from the root to bark, leaf, flower and berry.
"Roots of tree where used from dropsy, kidney ailments and stimulate the lymphatic system.
I love this plant. Many people regard it as the premier plant of herbal remedies for colds and flu - as an immune strengthener. As a child, the creamy white laced flowers intrigued me, with tiny stars and sweetly perfumed. I never actually sighted the the shiny dark-purple berries, as they were quickly snipped by my grandmother as she habitually trimmed these dainty lace displays when the flowers started falling off. For years, I passed this tree at the base from her front door, without the inkling of what medicine stood before me. Interestingly enough, I had always suffered hay fever allergies and this plant was able to help.
One day, a neighbor asked if he could harvest the flowers to make Elderberry cordial. My ears pricked up. There and then, i took a cutting and from that day on, this healing plant has been by my side, willingly propagated and shared to anyone that takes an interest.
At my last garden in Kuranda, I had a rather healthy Elderberry planted along a 'hugel culture' garden bed along the swale that captures laundry grey water runoff. Another grew near our front door in a much dryer location. It fruits and flowers at the same time, so purple and white add colour and attracts many birds; especially the sun birds who adore the them.
It is spring and my new garden in Koah is buzzing with bees. The flowers are starting to fruit which has been long waited because the stash of fruits in the freezer was used for the jam session I made for all the lovely people who donated money towards my crowd funding campaign to do a permaculture teacher training course.
There is a long history of folk remedies for use and although I could write an essay on the spiritual and folk stories surrounding this plant, I would rather share some of the practical and medicinal uses.
Every part of this tree is used. Known as a holy tree capable of restoring health and aid to longevity.
What are easy ways to utilise the Elderberry tree growing in your garden?
Firsty, do not use during pregnancy or lactation.
Simply eat the dark-purple berries to increase the production of red blood cells, to aid circulation and strengthen blood capillaries.
It is rich in vitamin C, so enjoy as a health tonic and to help absorb iron in your diet. At the first symtoms of cold for flu, make a cup tea.
Medicinal Elderberry Tea
Equal parts of Elderberry Flower, Peppermint (Mentha piperita) and Yarrow (Achillea millefollum), which makes the body perspire and sweat it out. At a pinch of Cayenne pepper and honey to sweeten for extra potency. Make extra tea and gargle for sore throats.
To cleanse the kidneys and purify the blood:
Make a decoction with 1 tbs of flowers and 1 1/2 cups of water, simmer for 5 minutes. Take for 2-3 weeks, one hour before breakfast.
Culinary Elderberry Jam and Cordial
Make jam with equal parts berries to sugar and apple pectin to thicken if you like thick jam. It is easier to freeze the berries as they ripen. Filling a bag until it is full and enough to make a few jars at a time. When the berries are frozen, they are easy to separate from the umbrel of the flower by pulling a fork through from stem to the berry. Boil the berries for 20 minutes and blend before adding sugar over heat in a deep set saucepan. Delicious on toast - especially when you feel a tickle in your throat.
Make cordial with the white flowers by boiling an umbrell of flowers for a few minutes with some lemon or lime juice and then add honey to sweeten if desired.
Boil elderberries for 20 minutes until soft and the juice is extracted, with a dark purple liquid appearance. Strain and separate the warm juice to return to low heat and stir in equal parts honey. Cool and refrigerate, pouring 15mls to slowly sip to relieve a sore or itchy throat.
Medicine never tasted better!
Flutes and Pipes
Traditionally, the Elderberry was used to make a flute instrument, carved with the stems due to its hollow center. It was and still is a favourable choice to make a smoking pipe with for those inclined to do some bush craft. Why not toke on some Passionflower or Mugwort that grows abundantly in a tropical garden for a mild herbal high rather than buying tobacco?
"Recent scientific research found elderberries to have powerful flavonoids, known to inhibit the ability of the flu virus to enter the cells and infect the body, Value Elderberry as a strong immune strengthening herb."
Check out the pharmacy next time you are near one and see the range of Elderberry products they have for immune boosting response. Then get a tree and plant it, for a home grown medicine chest!
Annual vegetables come and go with the seasons but perennial vegetables are planted once, root deeply and continue to produce food for you all year long. It is important to have both the diversity of annual and perennial crops in your edible garden, to ensure resilience and expand your caloric, nutrient and protein intake.
Annual crops take more effort, as they need to be grown from seed, planted, fertilized and harvested within the season they are encoded to grow within your climate. In the tropics, we can grow so much, all year long, however the European veggies we know so well from the supermarket shelves should really be grown from seed as soon as the big wet finishes - so they can be in the ground, growing and producing over winter. As spring approaches, the temperature heats up quickly and everything bolts to seed.
List 1 below is a list of fruits and vegetables that can be seeded now or on September first to be exact – in spring – to grow for your summer culinary tastes. I haven’t listed them in alphabetical order, but rather in useful guilds to plant in beds together. The vines become very handy for growing on trellises that can shade your outdoor living areas or provide shelter from the harsh summer sun over your vegetable patch. List 2 are some crops that you may be able to grow now, depending.
List 3, further down the page, you will find a list of plants that you can grow all year long in the tropics, just to give you an idea of what else can be included in your autumn planting frenzy to enjoy the harvest over winter too.
List 4, at the very bottom (saving the best for last in my opinion), is a list of what we call the incrEDIBLE tropical superfoods. Everyone in the tropics should have them taking up space in a garden. Not only are they highly nutritious and easy to grow, they produce consistently so you will always have something to eat - from your garden to your plate!
This weekend, 15/16th November is a busy one in the Organic Motion garden. We welcome you to come along and enjoy a social day of LETStrade (local energy trade system) and a Seed Savers Meeting. To top off community productivity, we will be screening the film "In Transition; a story of resilience and hope in extraordinary times' on the big screen in our garden whilst munching on wood-fired pizzas!!
*BYO chairs and toppings for the film as we will supply spelt pizza bases.
If you are interested, please join our event on the LETS Trade Day Kuranda and or the Kuranda Sprouts Seed Savers to let us know if you are attending.
New to all of this?
It is fun, to say the least and straight forward...LETS is all about trading; buying and selling goods and services for Bartles rather than spending the Aussie Dollar. Trade events are held in many locations across the north. There is probably one near you this week! What to bring to Trade events:
In the tropics, we deal with the 'dry and wet', with less defined seasons, however winter generally means the most diverse variety of crops can be grown. Crops like carrots, kale and snowpea produce well, amongst other standard European crops. I even have Chamomile growing extremely well at present. It is the humid weather and torrential rain during summer that has many people begging the question "will any veggies grow in summer?"
Yes is the short answer. The long answer can be found on our website page called 'Wet Season Plants for Summer'.
It is time to start. New projects, sharing of information and seeding change for the year ahead. For me, this means putting my home grown adventures into blogging so I can share the abundant processes happening here at our homestead. Unfortunately, the published blogs I wrote last year were deleted so this is a fresh beginning to share our journey.
As I look back over the years I have come to realise that we have done such awesome things on the land and in our kitchens, but documenting this has been a second thought. I am making a commitment this year to put more effort into sharing our organic motion towards living not just sustainably, but aiming to live regenerativley.
Our business mantra is 'from your garden to your plate' because the result of having an abundant garden is a diverse pantry! Between both, my creative flow comes from what grows and how to prepare and devour it, so you may find inspiration here too. This includes simple herbal remedies - nothing like growing your own drugs! So far, I've made comfrey oil, calendula oil, elderberry tincture, mugwort tincture, gotu kola tincture, sensitive weed tincture and use herbal teas on a daily basis. I am currently studying Nutritional Herbalism through the Living Centre in Canada and hope to run workshops upon completion to compliment the work I do in permaculture design and consultancy to help individuals and communities use plants at preventative health care and gain vitality through their use.
Soooo many projects up and coming this year and a burst of action with the change of season from the big wet to the glorious tropical winter means all the dreaming and visioning is being put into action.
A wonderful day was enjoyed by all when we set into full swing to co-create a design for the Pachamama House! Local Cairns and Tablelands participants and woofers from afar as Japan, France, Italy and the UK came together to crEATe a space to learn about the Permaculture fundamentals and collaborate on 'seeding the vision' to design an efficient and edible landscape for this 5 acre sloped property.
With the ethics and principles of Permaculture discovered and expanded upon throughout the morning, we gained an understanding of the thought processes brought into the rethinking of sustainable systems. We connected them to many aspects of landscape and beyond...through social and financial systems too. Discussions about strategies, tools and processes to implement a design that respect the limitations and opportunities of the site concluded the morning session. With all this brought to attention and noted for further research, each participant was provided with notes and a consultation report to take away from the day and utilise later.
Design.Grow.Create. That's the hOMe HIVE, our occasional mail out. We love nature and feel a deep connection to this amazing space and place called earth. There is so much abundance within reach and if you plant a guild, you will receive a yield! Our love of good quality food means we spend much of our time in the garden or kitchen...and as Hippocrates said, "let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food"! We welcome you to join us on an edible journey of tropical possibilities...
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