Wholesome healing at Noosa Forest Retreat
What was the initial inspiration behind Noosa Forest Retreat and when did it all begin?
To develop a community centred around nature and healthy food production rather than roads, cars and supermarkets. We founded Noosa Forest Retreat in 2004, where we offer permaculture education, affordable grassroots accommodation, permaculture internships, work exchange and co-ownership options.
We also offer holistic health advice, treatments, products and wellbeing and detox programs to our guests, as well as a weekly home delivery service for organic produce and products around the Sunshine Coast.
In a nutshell, please share with us what permaculture is?
Permaculture is an ethical design system for creating truly healthy human habitats modelled off nature, her efficiency of production and producing nutrient-dense food in a way that cares for the earth and all creatures.
Could you tell us more about syntropic farming and how that is different from permaculture?
Permaculture is a larger umbrella discipline developing by design entire habitats, encompassing healthy regenerative food production. Syntrophic farming is a specific system of regenerative food production that classifies neatly under the umbrella of permaculture, as does natural building, water harvesting and storage and natural energy production and storage. All regenerative garden systems are syntropic, meaning that they develop in energy, organisation and biomass as opposed to most current food production that is entropic, ie causing a breakdown in soil, organisation and health.
When it comes to the food production component of permaculture (permaculture covers so much more from housing, energy, ethics of distribution etc), syntropic farming is a specific system modelled on nature that utilises straight lines and a very developed planting frequency and chop-and-drop sequence.
Please share the holistic community living philosophy behind Noosa Forest Retreat.
“Tiny houses, big gardens, bigger hearts.”
What are some of the courses you offer?
Our key course is the permaculture design certificate, a 72-hour course gently guiding students through the entire process of habitat design from client consultation, design brief through to full-scale drawings, species lists, planting schedules and strategic planning, all done as an integrated dance between client needs and wants, the land itself, budget and resources.
What are your top five tips for living a more conscious life?
- Spend time mindfully in nature. As you increasingly see and feel the beauty of nature you will start to have a homecoming and experience yourself as at one with nature and be inspired to look after her and learn more.
- Do a permaculture design course (PDC), a life-changing study of the organisation, relationships and efficiency of nature. This course is designed to inspire and empower students to create healthy holistic habitat designs and to create lifelong connections on this life-affirming and empowering journey! The PDC is literally a life-affirming and life-changing course.
- Save and plant seeds regularly. Harvesting seeds from your favourite veggies, fruits and even flowers can go a long way and there’s nothing better than growing your own food from scratch. Seeds are so easy to harvest and a most vegetables require low maintenance to grow. The next time you’re cooking with pumpkin, beans or peas, save a few seeds instead of tossing them in the compost and get planting!
- Save kitchen scraps and compost weekly. Composting and raising seeds gives a gardener a daily connection to the ever-regenerating, transforming and reincarnating circle of life. It also provides exercise, a growing experience of wonder and great food for the soul before you even get to the process of eating healthy fresh organic food to nourish your body.
- Find and develop connections and community with like-minded individuals to share experiences, methods and growth.
What’s next for Noosa Forest Retreat?
We are in the process of developing a second holistic permaculture village community also in the Noosa hinterland on the Sunshine Coast. We are creating a space where individuals interested in living in a village centred and built around nature and regenerative food production can live, learn and grow.