A one acre farm that focuses on natural healthy living and the future of Mother Earth.
Tell us a bit about your farm, Limestone Permaculture? What led you to change your lifestyle, leave Newcastle and settle in Stroud?
Limestone Permaculture Farm is the home of Brett, Nici, Trae and Bronte Cooper and is a highly productive one acre property designed and operated on permaculture principles and located near the small, historic village of Stroud.
It was born in 2010 out of the awareness to be in control of our health and wellbeing and become self-reliant and self-sufficient with our food, water, shelter and energy resources, whilst striving to be ecologically regenerative.
Falling headlong into Permaculture nearly fifteen years ago was a result of my wife’s, Nici’s, diagnosis of gastroparesis, along with an auto-immune disorder believed to stem from this condition. We became “Urban Permies” back then, showcasing Permaculture on a small 330 m² urban block rightly named “The Urban Squeeze”.
In May 2010 we moved to Limestone Farm, with the goal of expanding on our urban permaculture knowledge and creating a highly productive one acre demonstration property.
Since then, we have transformed our property into a truly inspirational demonstration farm for all to experience and learn from. We educate regenerative and sustainable practices through Permaculture Design Principles and Demonstration, affording everyone the opportunity to either begin or extend their permaculture gardening, homesteading and farming knowledge, through a series of comprehensive courses, workshops, farm tours and internships.
What qualifications do you have?
I have over 10 years educating in Permaculture, completed a Cert IV in Permaculture and I’m a Certified Permaculture Designer registered with the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia.This is backed up with a Cert III in Aviation – RPA (Remote Piloted Aircraft), Diplomas in Project Management and Management, 25 years as a builder in the heritage building restoration industry, Stroud Show Produce Pavilion Chief Steward and many years of domestic and market vegetable gardening.
Nici is the resident nutritionist, completing an Advanced Certificate of Nutrition and Health, specialising in Infant, Childhood and Adolescent Nutrition and is currently studying Australian Native Herbalism. She is an amazing seasonal wholefood cook and a recipe conjurer, specialising in catering for those of us with allergies/intolerances. She can be usually found in the farm kitchen getting her homesteading on with fermenting, pickling, preserving, infusing, bottling and baking. Nici also undertakes the farm’s holistic animal wellbeing and husbandry along with our daughter, Bronte, caring for and breeding a variety of ducks, chickens, quail, rabbits and goats.
What services do you offer?
Limestone Permaculture Farm offers practical examples of:
- Permaculture Principled Homesteading from Urban to Rural.
- Beyond Organic Gardening
- Living Soils, Composting and Teas
- Farmgate fresh produce sales
- Intensive Fruit and Nut Orchard on Swales
- Native Bush Foods
- Farm Fresh Nutritious Cooking
- Animal Husbandry and Management of Chickens, Ducks, Quail, Goats and Rabbits
- European and Native Bee Keeping
- Seed Saving and Plant Propagation
- Building with Recycled Materials
- Natural and Renewable Energy
Our services include:
- Education via Permaculture Internships, Courses, Workshops and Farm tours
- Permaculture Consultancy
- Pre-purchase Permaculture Property Inspections
- Project Management and Project Implementation
- Rural Aerial Video and Photography
- “Beyond Organic” Fresh Produce Farmgate Supply (Fruit, Veg, Honey, Eggs and Plants)
What are the principles of permaculture?
Simply put, it is a design system for ecological and sustainable living, integrating plants, animals, buildings, people and community! Permaculture ethics include, earth care, people care, fair share.
How does organic gardening differ from permaculture?
Permaculture as a design science “umbrella” uses organic gardening and organic farming practices in its planning and design, along with regenerative farming, alley cropping, bio-dynamics, agro-forestry and much more. I see permaculturists as master eco-living “jigsaw puzzlers” who observe, research and understand each piece of the puzzle and where that piece must go to be multi-functional in its benefits and multi-supported in its needs at an energy efficient, energy cycling and environmentally sustainable level.
What role do animals and livestock play in permaculture?
As with all ecologies, animals are an integral part of the system by providing:
- Companions for people
- Provider of high quality soil conditioners (manures)
- Pollinators (essential for some fruiting plants)
- Pest Control
- Foragers (collecting fallen seed and fruit)
- Cultivators (digging and turning soils)
- Mowers (fire and weed control)
- Property Security (against invading animals)
- Producers of fibre (wool, fur, hair, feathers)
- A supplier of food (milk / eggs / honey)
- A source of food (meat)
Can anybody have a permaculture farm, or do you need a lot of land?
Permaculture is a design science with ethics and principles. Ethics are the moral compass and the principles are the road map. Permaculture is totally scalable and can be utilised within a “unit verandah” up to a “rural broad acre farm”. It can be used to retro-fit an existing property or start from scratch on a blank canvas. It is for everyday life and is utilised within many ethical businesses.
What are some of the community benefits?
Community benefits can be:
- Resilience of local fresh food supply
- Shared knowledge and resource supply
- Local network of skilled services
- School group learning
- Career pathway in regenerative agriculture
- Potential for local and ethical small business start-up and employment
- Less waste
- Local bartering and swapping of labour, materials and education
You offer courses on permaculture; where can we find out more?
At Limestone Farm, you can undertake workshops, courses and farm tours catered in-house and on a farm that exhibits practical examples of most permaculture techniques, including “beyond organic” living soils and intensively stacked gardens, swaled orchard system, water harvesting and retention, farm-gate, small animal husbandry, passive building systems, whole food cooking and much more.
Limestone Permaculture – https://www.facebook.com/LimestonePermaculture/
Simply Homesteading https://www.facebook.com/SimplyHomesteading.Nici/
Finally, where do you see Limestone Permaculture in the next five years?
Our vision is to grow Limestone Permaculture into a leading permaculture educator and demonstrator of regenerative and sustainability practices, with a focus on natural healthy living to meet the needs of the everyday person and the future of our Mother Earth.