Together we grow … with positive solutions

In 2020, our committee aims to focus on the positive – positive solutions that we can all try, to better look after ourselves and our planet. We have invited guest presenters to write a short article in this spirit, and we will publish one each month. We hope you find them inspiring. This month our guest writer is Elisabeth Fekonia.

Right Livelihood – creating a sustainable income

It is everyone’s dream of having a source of income that is built through your passion, a hobby turned into a business or simply wanting to contribute to the community turned into a reality. In permaculture terms that is referred to as a right livelihood as it serves both to the doer and the receiver in a positive and sustainable way.

Money makes the world go round, there’s no doubt about that, as we all need our fair share of it. It’s only when greed takes over ethics and the rich start taking away from the poor that making money can become a negative factor.

How then can we rest assured that our personal income and wage is a positive contribution rather than a means to an end?

It’s been the great Australian dream, along with owning your own house, that we also have our own small business. Small business makes up the backbone of our economy after all. Do you have a dream of creating a business based on your passions? Would you like to wake up every Monday morning and look forward to the coming week?

I don’t have a formula for success in this regard but I can share my own personal experience in how I created the business I have today.

It started 25 years ago when with Frank my late husband and myself we decided to become food self sufficient. The first decade was a huge learning curve of research and learning on how to grow and produce our own food. We were also building the huge concrete monolith of our house at the same time, so between pouring buckets of cement, milking cows and goats, feeding pigs and keeping the gardens going, I was on a relentless search of knowledge through any and all of the libraries that were within reach (pre Mr Google in the mid nineties!) After a decade or so I knew I had to contribute more substantially to the household finances so boldly I held some bread, wine and cheese making workshops from home. That began in 2002. By 2005 I had to increase my contribution and sought to turn these workshops into a viable business with the help of the NEIS program. That was 15 years ago. I am now GST registered (that’s both good and bad) but it shows of the achievement made by persevering over the years. Being bold and confident of what I was doing and what I really believed in. The timing seems to be right and that helps as more people these days from all walks of life are becoming interested in what I have to offer them. I travel all though the state and beyond with my workshops and I’ve just published my first book. Next March I will be travelling to Peru to teach the local people in a small town fermenting, seed saving and other topics that may be useful to them. I did the same in Kenya two years ago and it was well received there.

So if you have a passion that you would like to expand on and turn into a right livelihood business, believe in it and don’t be frightened. You may need to have some outside help now and then to see you through the rough patches, but have that faith in yourself and in the dream you have to follow it through. Prepare yourself, be practical, do a business course, have patience and resilience and above all believe in yourself and amazing things can happen!

Elisabeth Fekonia is an award winning, accredited permaculture teacher. She runs regular workshops on topics such as cheese making, sour dough, fermenting and seed saving. Elisabeth has been a member of Permaculture Noosa since 1996, and is a former president of the club. Find out more about Elisabeth at [] or find Permaculture realfood on Face Book.