Show #29 – Permaculture – better by design, with Nick from Milkwood Permaculture


Today, we explore permaculture principles & the Milkwood story with Nick Ritar. Permaculture is a term that people feel they understand but when we dive right in there, it means so very much more than having a compost and growing veggies with sustainability in mind. Nick shares with Alexx how he came to found Milkwood Permaculture, and shares the breadth of what permaculture design actually covers. There are so many little nuggets of wisdom to take away from this chat to help you think about your beautiful life in the context of how we design it and what we can learn to do the best by people and plan that we can.

Nick is Milkwood Permaculture’s primary educator and consultant. Nick is passionate about authentic outcomes for students studying permaculture and life skills, and cultivating community. He divides his time between extensive permaculture teaching, permaculture consultancy, home mushroom cultivation and growing good food for his family.

 Here’s a little snapshot of the goodies in today’s episode…

  • The three differentiating core ethics of Permaculture are (a) Care for the earth (b) Care for people, and (c) Fair share – ie. always set ethical limits – only take what you need.
  • DIY Mushroom farming!! Get yourself some Shitake or Oyster mushroom dowel spawn, and grow your own! Super easy for beginners – all you need is a log, then drill some holes in it, pop a dowel in each hole, plug the end with a little natural beeswax to seal off the dowel hole – and you’ll have beautiful organic mushrooms for our own eating for years!
  • If you’re just starting your own journey around traceability around meat – I’ve included some resources below that you can explore which may help you along your way:
  1. Firstly – show No 6 with regenerative farmer Paul Grieve. A must listen!
  2. Joel Salatin books – any of them. Joel Salatin has brought so many farmers the knowledge they need to farm for the betterment of animal life while on the farm as well as the planet, with showing just how rapidly an animal farm can actually regenerate waste / grassless land and create green pastures with proper management.
  3. At the butcher – ask of the provenance. With beef and lamb ask: Are these animals pasture raised? Are they fed grains at any point or are they grass fed, pasture finished. That’s what you’re after there. If you’re shopping for chicken, duck or pork the key question is are they fed organic grain and pasture raised. Pasture raising means they will have access to pastures, insects and a happy life. Organic grain will mean they’re not fed genetically modified corn and soy grains or conventional grains, sprayed heavily with round up, thus containing glyphosate residue and harming not only their gut bacteria balance, but in turn ours.
  4. When shopping for sausages – ask are they organic / pasture raised as above but also ‘preservative free’. You want sausages that are freshly made each day and therefore not requiring sulphites to preserve them or keep their colour. Bright pink sausages? Stay away!


THIS WEEK’S LIVE HAPPIER, HEALTHIER CHALLENGE: Start growing something – anything at all – the process or act of actually growing something is a really powerful way to re-kindle your relationship with the natural world.

Check out all the workshops and courses available to join on the Milkwood Permaculture website.

These two are especially exciting and deserve a special mention:

Join Jodi Roebuck, established bio intensive grower, for a weekend learning the Biointensive Growing system – an organic vegetable growing method designed to maximise harvest in small spaces.

The Art of Natural Cheesemaking is a new/old approach to cheesemaking that is inspired by traditional practices, and based on the ecology of raw milk. Much like wild fermentation, natural cheesemaking teaches how to partner with fresh milk’s resident ecology to transform milk into delicious, healthful cheese. David Asher’s methods include cultivating raw starter cultures, growing the fungi that ripen cheeses, and working with the indigenous cultures of raw milk.

And here are their important links:

The Milkwood Permaculture BLOG






Enjoy the show and thanks again for taking the time to rate and review the show – it’s like tipping the bartender and it means the world. (To do this from your phone, you can’t be ‘in the show list’ – go to the podcast search function and type low tox life, and then click on the show and click ‘review’. Annoyingly tricky but hey. I figured I may as well help you out if you’re going to take the time to leave a review!)

Low Tox. Happy us. Happy planet

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