For those of you who have not visited our Cooroy Community Permaculture Gardens recently, they are flourishing! Not only because of recent wonderful rains, but because the plants have been carefully nursed through the preceding drought by our dedicated volunteers. We have some amazing plans for this coming year, not only to continue growing resilient perennial subtropical vegetables and herbs, but to create a real community hub for Cooroy locals and permaculture enthusiasts alike.

We are expanding our bush tucker garden, building a dedicated area for food and gardening demonstrations, and very soon we will have our own Street Library. This month sees the start of our regular organic Harvest Swap. We are very proud to offer some of the bounty from our community gardens and our members’ properties, and as word spreads, we hope from the back yards of our local Cooroy residents also. No money will change hands—we just bring what we have to spare and take home a similar amount. Stay tuned to our Facebook page and our website for dates and times.

If you are interested in finding out more about our community gardens, stop by for a chat, a tour or a cuppa on a Wednesday or Sunday morning. Many hands make light work, and our gardens are not just for gardeners. Our volunteers bring varied knowledge and many skill sets, and everyone is welcome.

Our Seed Savers Coordinator, Sue Anderson, has built up our seed bank since taking on the role about 3 years ago. Our seeds are sought after at Club Nights and wherever we have events, as people realise the value of locally-grown organic, heritage and open pollinated seeds. It has been a natural progression for Sue to get involved in our community gardens, where many of our plant varieties are harvested for their seeds, and Sue has managed to turn our disused propagation shed into a thriving hub of seedlings for planting in the gardens or selling. However, due to increasing family commitments, Sue unfortunately needs to take a step back from some of her work. We are seeking a volunteer who is passionate about seed saving, and who would like to work with Sue, with a view to becoming the Seed Savers Coordinator in the future. If you think this role may be for you, please email Sue at [email protected] or stop by for a chat with her at the community gardens. Sue said to me recently, ‘I had no knowledge at all about seeds when I took over as coordinator—I was looking for something to do. But it’s an opportunity to learn on the job and it’s been so rewarding!’

In keeping with our theme for this year—Together we grow … with positive solutions—we believe an important aspect of our work at Permaculture Noosa is community engagement. And there is no better place to start than our own community of Cooroy, and the Noosa hinterland. Our Members’ Buying Club was started last year to provide extra value for our members—those of you who have ordered meat from Bunya Grove Produce can testify to the quality and taste of their produce. And we are currently in talks with other local producers to expand this service. But one of the other great benefits of the program is to support local businesses—families who follow the principles of sustainability and ethical practice. Our website will soon include links to many such businesses to help you ‘buy local’. Another great way that we can grow and strengthen our community and bring about positive change!

I know many of you enjoyed reading our Permanews article by Elisabeth Fekonia last month under the banner of our positive solutions theme. This month our contributor is Meghan Halverson with a very timely reminder about our wildlife, and how we can help them.

Our Club Night this Thursday promises to be another evening jammed packed with information and inspiration. We commence promptly at 6.30 pm, but why not come along early and join in our market place? I look forward to seeing you there.

Remember, Permaculture Noosa is your organisation, and we always welcome your feedback. Send your suggestions to [email protected].

Latha Matters