Early Morning Permaculture Tour of Zaytuna Farm


After a struggle to get back home to Australia and two weeks in quarantine before reaching Zaytuna, Geoff enjoys an early morning, and he takes us on a walk to some special spots around the property. Possum (the dog) waits on the speed bump that sends water to Paradise Dam, and just as we set off, Latifa (Geoff’s young daughter) sneaks up on her way to milk the cows.

Our first stop is a new house site. Of late, Geoff has been doing lots of permaculture designs for house sites, townhouses, subdivisions, and real estate. This Zaytuna site has dams above and below it, three swales moving off of it, and Zone 1 garden spots right at the ready.

Below the house site, in the bottom pasture, Zaytuna’s three horses—Max (miniature), Jax (thoroughbred), and Shadia (part Arabian). A riding arena just off this pasture is where Geoff and Latifa ride together, building up their skills. A hill to east gets backlit as the sun comes up.

Moving along, the main crop beds are heaving with produce, some reaching its end and some just going in for the winter. There is pumpkin, corn, capsicum, potatoes, sweet potato (grows year-round), tomatoes, and cassava.

At the dairy, early morning activity is underway: Daisy gets breakfast while she is being milked. Here, calves get milk all day but are separated at night in order for people to get milk. The process also provides nighttime manure for composting. Next to the dairy is a long thin paddock where the dairy cows graze for about 30 minutes to “bag up” after morning milking before the calves are allowed to join them for breakfast.

Lastly, we visit Geoff’s favorite tree on the farm, an “island of life” he camped under when he first arrived. It’s a Ficus macrophylla, the “figs” of which aren’t suitable for people but beloved by animals. Geoff used to use the buttresses of the tree as a cupboard. Now, just below it, Fig Tree dam is only a few months old. It’s one of the lowest on the farm and will be used for wildlife, fish, and swimming. Great to be home.

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About Geoff: Geoff is a world-renowned permaculture consultant, designer, and teacher. He has established permaculture demonstration sites that function as education centers in all the world’s extreme climates — information on the success of these systems is networked through the Permaculture Research Institute and the www.permaculturenews.org website.

About Permaculture: Permaculture integrates land, resources, people and the environment through mutually beneficial synergies – imitating the no waste, closed-loop systems seen in diverse natural systems. Permaculture applies holistic solutions that are applicable in rural and urban contexts and at any scale. It is a multidisciplinary toolbox including agriculture, water harvesting and hydrology, energy, natural building, forestry, waste management, animal systems, aquaculture, appropriate technology, economics, and community development. 

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