THE RED TAPE

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Hows that amazing feeling when you find a place that fits all the criteria for a perfect parcel of land? It’s a great feeling right!

We had that feeling in the last week. Our hearts where racing with excitement. We made calls after calls, email after email. We negotiated and we investigated. We managed to negotiate the place for the right price, but then everything fell apart (as it often does).

Firstly let me tell you about the land. It’s 20 acres of semi cleared and bushland. It has a 30 year old established nut and fruit orchard. It has a cute little mud brick cabin (albeit illegal). It has sheds, a tractor and a domestic bore. It’s also in easy access from Melbourne.

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But there was the red tape that put everything to a stop. The land is situated in ‘farm zone’ which means we are supposed to be farming only. But we’re teaching not farming. Secondly we would need to install sewage (septic tank maybe) but there are already 8 operational septic tanks within that hectare so the water authority won’t allow any more tanks installed. So we find ourselves back at the drawing board. But I wanted to share with you how close we where to buying the land. It’s a starting point at least.

Ps. I had some people ask why don’t I use the money we raised in our crowd funding project to buy the land. I will not do this because that money was always communicated to be used for building the infrastructure for the project. I am going out and buying the land for the Nursery Project with my own money because it’s my life. It’s everything I want to do. The money raised during the crowd funding project will plant the orchard, pay for the bore pump, tools, machinery those kinds of things.

Happy Meal

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Tonights meal was the bomb. I had to share it with you because it’s everything I want to achieve in life (in regards to food and life-style etc).

It was a simple meal, really nothing flash at all. But it was delicious. It made me happy. It was a happy meal to eat. And best of all, most of it came about from effort on my behalf, i.e. I grew it.

Zucchini grilled, fresh garden rocket, dill leaves, jalapneo and onion all plucked from the backyard garden. It was dressed with home made red wine vinegar and topped with my Jamon lardons which I fried.

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This meal if everything to me. It’s what I want to share with people when I set up The Nursery Project. I want to make this with complete strangers and get them excited about real food and how to grow and raise it.

I love my back garden, but it’s a rental. I won’t be here for ever. In fact I’ve started looking at patches of land where I can set up the Project. Land IS NOT cheap man! And now that I’m buying this land with my measly finances I’m kinda freaking out.

What if no one comes to learn? What if the Nursery Project is a complete dismal flop? I guess I just have to continue on and hope for the best. The main goal is to set up a place to share ideas and knowledge. Worse case scenario, I’m sure I’ll cover that goal.

Joel Salatin talks about the value of understanding food and the Nursery Project

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We fell very fortunate that Joel agreed to set aside some time for us to record his little message of support. Joel is someone that we really admire, value and respect. His values are in line with nature and creating a better world. The positive impact he has made for our world is phenomenal. So when he agreed to film a clip for us we where over the moon. Please share this link and help the momentum of the project continue. We still have a long way to go.

Thank you to Meg who travelled to Joel’s farm to record this clip.

Sorry about the editing and wind noise. We may know how to grow food, but audio visual is definitely not or forte. I’ll never get an oscar for ‘Best Editor using iMovie’.

JOELS MESSAGE from The Nursery Project on Vimeo.

The Nursery Project is now LIVE!

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Hi guys, thank you so much for following us on our The Nursery Project journey so far. But now the real scary part starts!!

We are sitting here petrified, like little kids waiting to see if anyone shows up to our party. It would be so great if you could pledge, share and talk about the project to all who will listen. We have been, and we will continue to do so until we reach our goal.

Thanks again for all your love and support so far. We think you’re great!

Click here to see what all the fuss is about and pledge. 

Ro + Kate x

Blank canvas

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We love the idea of the old nursery so much so that it was the catalyst for us to get this project off the ground. The idea of raising little ideas into big positive action is what appeals to us. It’s a perfect metaphor! But the old nursery itself has some flaws. Parking is one of them. The place just couldn’t accommodate parking for more than a handful of visitors at time. Being a big believer in fate, I think it’s forced us look for better alternatives. We’ve decided that a blank canvas is the way forward for this project, i.e. empty fields/paddocks. We can then use the build for the Nursery Project as a tool for sharing information in itself. Take for example the build of a vegetable garden, orchard or chicken house. All these things can be built with anyone that wants to come along and learn the process. Can you think of a better way to learn than on the job?

The ‘assets’ we envisage

  • A demonstration vegetable garden showing what can be achieved in the average sized backyard.
  • The Mess Hall, with large demonstration kitchen to hold workshops and events
  • A mixed fruit, nut and berry orchard.
  • Stock housing for hens, ducks, geese, sheep, goats and pigs.

There is a real excited buzz around this project. Everyone I speak to is as excited as we are! The very thought of asking the community to help raise money for something that will benefit the community is a win win. We have a real chance to make this thing bloody beautiful. I really hope it comes together!

About The Nursery Project

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Simply put, we imagine a place where we can share the idea of eating real food and living well.

We aim to create a place for people to the learn skills to grow, raise, harvest and cook real food.

We’re a little voice, trying to be heard above the noise of, yes, you guessed it … large food corporations.

But with your help we can achieve real change.

Rohan’s Story

Years ago I ate bad food. Not just junky take away food, but highly processed supermarket food. The food most of us eat. And it made me sick, as it is doing to most of us.

I’ve openly admitted this before, but I think it’s an important point to reiterate.  It’s an odd thing to say, that I’m glad I ended up sick because of my lifestyle choices. But the reality is that being sick was a major catalyst in making me change my ways. I have the ailments of modern living to thank for the way I now live (which ironically, is based on the age old approach of peasant living).

I’ve embraced a life where I grow most of my food, I search for tucker in the bush, I hunt, I fish, I harvest and I cook with what I have, not what I can nick down to the supermarket and buy (out of season). Not only has this change made me healthier, but I’ve reduced my impact on the environment. Being a ‘food doer’ I have purpose in my daily life, by working for my food I’m rewarded with an immediate sense of achievement (something I feel is lacking in our mad modern lives).

I want to share this approach to living with others, and not just via my blog, but in a very real sense. Something people can touch, smell, taste, and experience. I’ve been sharing this journey on my blog and with my book, but now I’d like to take it a step further. In fact we would like to take it a step further. My partner Kate and I, have had a dreamy idea for some time now, but we’ve never really found ourselves in the right place or time. But the time is right now. And we’ve found the perfect place to implement our idea.

This project wouldn’t have got off the ground if we had not identified a property that became the catalyst for this venture. We found a great old nursery for sale, it got us motivated to really start up the project. But unfortunately it lacks adequate car parking so we’ve decided on building from the ground up. We’re starting with just dirt in a field, nothing else. The idea behind this approach is that we can share the entire build as an educational adventure in itself! We kept the name ‘Nursery’ because we like the metaphor of a nursery, a place where we can raise and nurture and the little idea of eating real food and living well that will in turn blossom into big action in people’s lives.

The Nursery is a place to share ideas, skills, techniques and experiences. A place where we can establish a demonstration food backyard, to show what can be achieved. A place where we people can come to learn how to cook, grow, harvest, cure, butcher and preserve. The Nursery will also have a mess hall where people can come to eat the food we raise. The idea is to provide a recipe with every meal so it can be cooked when you return home.

Sure it’s a big dream. The more people we can share this way of life with the better! Dream big or don’t dream at all!

The Nursery Venue

The ‘assets’ we envisage essential for the nursery

  • A demonstration vegetable garden showing what can be achieved in the average sized backyard (490 sqm is the average backyard size).
  • The Mess Hall, with large demonstration kitchen to hold workshops and events
  • A mixed fruit, nut and berry orchard for people to come learn the wonders of grow your own
  • Stock housing for hens, ducks, geese, sheep, goats and pigs so people can see first had how to raise animals for food production be it for egg, milk or meat. 

PAY WHAT YOU THINK IS FAIR

The reality is that this venue will have to be run as a business. We simply can’t operate without getting some income to pay the bills, such as electricity, gas, stock feed, fencing, plants etc. But unlike the conventional model I’d like to run the place on a ‘pay what you think is fair’ scheme. Take for example a workshop for butchery. I’ll arrange to have an expert arrive to run the workshop, they will charge me a fee, I can communicate what that cost is, calculate what that cost is, communicate the amount to the students, and allow them to chip in what they think fair to cover the cost of the event. I can’t make it any fairer than that. My current workshops are expensive, solely because I have to pay rent, insurance, food, drinks  and other overheads. The aim of this venture is to provide the information and experience for the most accessible price. The ‘pay what you think is fair’ idea is the way to allow all demographics to attend. Even though the nursery project will own the land we will still have bills to pay to keep the venture operational.

The Crowd Funding Project

Nothing comes for free and this place is no exception. I chose a life with less money, I left my corporate job to focus on better living and although it’s been great for my health it’s been challenging for my bank balance. We simply do not have the funds to acquire this venue, and that’s where you come in. We’re asking people not just to invest in us, but to invest in the idea.

We live in an age where everything seems buggered. And in many respects it is. But we need to put things into perspective. In the western world, more people die from food health related illness than from home grown terrorist attacks. But that news doesn’t sell newspapers.

We are sick and getting sicker.

There is much science that links our poor diets to obesity, diabetes, hyper-tension, inflammation, anxiety, depression, asthma, food intolerances, allergies, cancers and heart disease. Here we have a chance to provide a place to show how eating well can improve health and as a bonus it’s beneficial for the health of our environment, which unfortunately seems to be taking a back seat these days.

The idea of crowd funding allows you to show your support for something you agree with or believe in.
We are creating a rewards system that allows you to leave a legacy. As ace as it is to get a tee-shirt that says I helped Whole Larder Love, we think it would be better to plant an apple tree in your honour, or maybe we’ll plant you a row of corn, or even name a baby duck after you.

We want you to not just be a part of the crowd funding project, we want you to be a part of the ongoing nursery project.

Everyone who supports us will have their name on the honour wall in the mess hall to remind us who helped get this project off the ground.

We want you to be a founding partner.

Launch date for our campaign is 10 November 2014. Scroll down to subscribe to our feed, to get all the latest info and be part of the project with us.