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Friday, March 18, 2016


Have you ever wanted to grow your own shiitake mushrooms?
Shiitake are high in proteins, vitamins and minerals and low in fat. They are used around the world to help improve the immune system, improve circulation and reduce cholesterol. There is evidence that shiitake may help in inhibiting the growth of cancer tumours.
Growing shiitake on logs is the traditional method of production. Research carried out in Australia in recent years suggests that the log grown method produces superior fresh shiitake.
Shiitake are traditionally grown on oak logs. The word ‘shiitake’ literally means ‘oak-mushroom’. Australian research has proven that shiitake can be successfully grown on many types of eucalypt
logs and other species such as some acacias and poplars.
Come along to this workshop to learn the method of inoculating logs and growing these versatile mushrooms for nutrition, fun or even commercial use. 
Date:   Sunday May 1st       

Time:  GAther at 9 for a  9.30 am start. Goes till  1 pm. 

Cost:   $45.00  includes morning tea 

Teacher: Mr Julian Sharp 

   Julian is a great native forest defender, having gone to court recently to successfully stop bauxite mining exploration in our beautiful Karri forests.   He brings his expertise in growing shiitake from both Victoria and Pemberton, and sees this workshop as a  great opportunity to get a cooperative style log grown shiitake industry happening in the south west, for people to get involved in at whatever scale or level they wish. Julian will  supply a range of suitable farm grown eucalypts for host logs, shiitake plug spawn, beeswax......and inform us  on log grown shiitake research history, growing methods and conditions, marketing etc.

Venue:  Merri Bee Organic Farmacy    
Contact  for enquires and to book  (before April 22nd please)  to   08 97561408 after dark

Have you ever wanted to grow your own shiitake mushrooms?
Shiitake are high in proteins, vitamins and minerals and low in fat. They are used around the world to help improve the immune system, improve circulation and reduce cholesterol. There is evidence that shiitake may help in inhibiting the growth of cancer tumours.
Growing shiitake on logs is the traditional method of production. Research carried out in Australia in recent years suggests that the log grown method produces superior fresh shiitake.
Shiitake are traditionally grown on oak logs. The word ‘shiitake’ literally means ‘oak-mushroom’. Australian research has proven that shiitake can be successfully grown on many types of eucalypt
logs and other species such as some acacias and poplars.
Come along to this workshop to learn the method of inoculating logs and growing these versatile mushrooms for nutrition, fun or even commercial use.
Date:   Sunday April 30th       Time:   9.30 am till  1 pm. Cost:   $45.00
Venue:  Merri Bee Organic Farmacy        

Contact  for enquires or booking

Thursday, February 4, 2016

 I  was kicked out of home at 16 for building compost heaps in our backyard in the Melbourne suburb of Mt Waverley. Earlier, Dad had taken me to a psychiatrist in an attempt to rid me of what he thought was a rare personality disorder, but the composting obsession proved incurable. Now I’m 57,  and a steaming hot compost heap still enthralls me: the way it takes stinky waste products and turns them into black gold ( humus).  I love that  a mass of red wriggler worms can demolish a cow pat in half a day and that a throng of soldier fly larvae can devour a sheep’s  hide and guts just 48 hours, and be themselves returned to the soil (via some chooks  )soon after.  And that out of all this decay comes another generation of healthy plants, and another joy of my  life, food!   I wanted to be an organic farmer from the age of 10.
I arrived in Nannup  as a very young,  mung bean- eating hippie in the early 80’s and after a foray in a commune  which promised cheap land upon which  to follow my dream ( but delivered lots of hassles) ,  me and my first husband  moved on to  27 acres in Nannup, inspired by  Bill Mollison to start a Permaculture.  I am still here, having raised a family of 5 children. That, and  working for a living , meant Permaculture was on the back burner for many years. Near the end of that  17 year marriage I constructed   a passive solar mudbrick house out of recycled materials. The house is still standing and the  permaculture surrounding it  has grown upwards and outwards: magnificent now with towering bamboos and pine nut trees, spreading oaks, chestnuts and hundreds of other species of fruit, nut , timber and native  plant.  I met  my darling Stewart 12 years ago and  we suddenly became  full time organic farmers, ditching our outside jobs pronto,  thanks to   the rise and rise  of farmers markets.   Our Permaculture yields  building materials , all our food and an income year ‘round.
We would be living the dream by now, but no man is an island and   climate change hit us in about 2007. Terrible climate change.  Our usual winter efforts to extend the  food forest were now beset by failure due to drought and heat . Things just died even though we spent 8 hours a day hand watering over prolonged summers. It is so hard to watch this formerly lush district turning to desert.
It became clear we needed to work on our soil.  In 2013 we  invested heavily in learning the latest in soil science from  Dr Elaine Ingham ( eminent soil microbiologist) In 2014 we re-named the farm “Merri Bee Organic Farmacy” because whole food grown biologically is the best  preventative medicine. Like canaries in the coal mine our children are reflecting our impoverished  and  toxic environment  and have a lower life expectancy than ours.  This is obviously unprecedented and tragic and the  cause is  diet .  Teaming with local Naturopaths we’ve been joyed to supply parents with good food to help their ailing children, but really we want to feed people organic food exclusively 2 years before conception to prevent problems.
With a degree of compost tea success so far,  we now run courses in  Permaculture , water harvesting , and soil creation , and our  focus is farmers.  In the South West of WA, just a few thousand farmers control 55% of the land area, and thus our local climate! Green plants are the original and still the  best carbon capture and storage mechanism on Earth. They  pump carbon underground whenever the sun is shining, but surprisingly, this only happens in natural systems where the soil microbes are intact. But 99% of farmers clear most of these carbon -sequestering microbes  from their land with chemicals . Peer reviewed and published science shows GM crops use 15 times more chemical than usual!
Dr Christine Jones makes a staggering claim that  if all farmers in Australia raised their soil carbon by just 1 per cent, the entire globe’s legacy load of carbon in the air would cleared away into the soil, and a safe climate would return. 
So good soil is powerful. It is key to our health, wealth, happiness, energy and intelligence for generations of our family to come, it  can uniquely  solve not only the environmental emergency but the health crisis (which is really an agricultural crisis) .Only good living soil can stem  the pandemic of mental and physical disorders which threatens to bankrupt the richest nations .
Bill Mollison said it beautifully : “All our problems can be solved in a garden”.
Permaculture people know trees make rain and know how to repair ecosystems, we know that you don’t need fertilizer and pesticides to grow food, (forests show us that)…. but our voices are not heard above the din of chemical company myths. Farmers have been subjected to the lies of the 5 companies controlling food and health since the Green Revolution.  Monsanto (‘feeding the world, one lie at a time”) has been in control of the media, regulators and  governments for 6 decades now.  We are proud to follow Dr Elaine Ingham who courageously  “de- programmes”  brainwashed farmers the world over.
We are in the middle of “6 X” (the sixth mass extinction event on Earth) with species from beneficial soil microbes to the large animals becoming extinct, many we suspect  even before discovery . Cloistered in the city or even on the coast, most people have no idea of how close to extinction WE are.   The cause is toxics, and GM crops use even more chemicals than conventional.

Perhaps  you are  one  of the people who already sees the need to cook organic, not the planet? If not, I hope my story will be food for thought for you and yours.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Merri Bee Organic Farmacy

 Two small properties in Western Australia, 10 hectares in Nannup ( the mythical town of “Seacliffe” in the  movie “Drift”) and 20 hectares in Karridale, constitute Merri Bee Organic Farmacy. Operators   Stewart Seesink and Bee Winfield  are together creating a permaculture,  a natural system of perennial abundance to  satisfy human needs for food, shelter, energy , community and wilderness forever. They believe Hippocrates was right when he said  500 "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be they food". Organic food is powerful preventative medicine.
 The  cleared,  steep and degraded piece of rural land in Nannup has largely been restored  to abundance over 30 years.
 "When I first came here there were only 5 trees. It was over grazed by horses and covered in doublegees” says Bee. The first 8 years were spent pulling them out, but the paddock furtherest from the house never got weeded. But the double gees died out naturally never to return. A valuable lesson  was learnt. Doublegees like other prickly or bitter plants, are natures way of protecting soil from over grazing. The lazy solution to doublegees turned out to be simply understocking and getting a healthy cover of mixed plants in various stages of growth and decay on the soil all year round.
Bee designed and has now largely implemented a ‘closed loop’ system in which the yields and by-products of one enterprise are used to satisfy the needs of another. On this mixed farm, nutrients are constantly circulating and water and energy are harvested by multiple elements. “We aim to return perennial vegetation to the land, then gradually introduce animals as the trees and other plants establish. This mimics a natural ecosystem’s biodiversity but uses food  plants and animals from all over the world. In a forest you have the conditions soil microbes need to thrive and therefore you maximize the transformation of nutrients into plant available foods.”  The couple now produce food with forgotten flavours and medicinal qualities because the soil biology is coming back.
Stewart and Bee make their  living solely from farming ,selling from the produce of their permaculture of over 100 species of rare fruit and nut trees, at the Margaret River Farmers  market most Saturdays, and delivering to loyal Perth customers once a month.  They enjoy the contact with "their families" watching kids they help to nourish grow. Bee says kids have the best palate and often send their mums back to get Merri Bee eggs, pork , lamb or kale. Yes, kale!  Their mums appreciate  produce with long keeping properties and marvelous aromas.
Their other  passion  is creating space for wilderness and seeing wildlife returning.

  The food forest also not only supports wildlife but the farm livestock: chooks, pigs, ducks, geese, sheep, alpacas and jersey cows as well . Acorns are popular with the sheep, pigs and cows, as is sheoak, poplar, willow and coprosma. Says Stewart “ What we’ve discovered is that cows like to browse trees, not just grass, and unlike grass, many trees are green all year round. Its the  trees and perennial pasture plants with deep roots that bring up minerals from the subsoil which keeps our animals healthy. They are also photosynthesizing year round, therefore  pumping carbon  from the air, and injecting it deep into the soil  all year round.

 Bee and Stew grow cereal grains on areas previously “ploughed” by the pigs ... broadcasting wheat and mulching over the seeds by hand. They don’t like to rely on fossil fuel and heavy machines, preferring to use animal “tractors” which fertilise, weed and turn a profit or food. They are constantly refining low energy methods of growing.
Says Bee “Neither chemicals nor artificial fertilizers have been used here for the past 20 years.  Trace element lick blocks, seaweed, biodynamic grain  and woodchips from Western Power line clearing are the farms only inputs. We compost green waste of neighbours and make compost tea as well”
 The BD grain for supplementing the free range chooks and pigs diet is the expensive input, costing $500 a ton, with freight also $500. Bee said “We think it’s worth the cost to have no chemical residues in their feed"

. There are an estimated 50 million types of soil bacteria and 50 million types of soil fungi which do amazing ecological services. They  are capable of reversing climate change, but they are sensitive to agrichemicals and ultraviolet light.Climate change in this South West corner of W.A. is very obvious to anyone who has had their hands in the soil in the same district for a few decades. It is crippling and I think this issue has got to be tackled full on”
 Bee thinks the role farmers and gardeners can play in literally saving the planet, is huge.

 “Clearing and cultivation of land has reduced average soil carbon levels from around 8% to 0.7%, and obviously that carbon has entered the atmosphere. We are into reversing that , regenerating soil with CO2 through plants.  Sustainable soil management strategies such as cell grazing can rebuild soil carbon levels,  turning agriculture from a greenhouse gas liability into a carbon and methane sink."
Bee says  that anyone who makes compost is meaningfully offsetting GHG emissions and breeding menthantrophic bacteria which "eat" methane.

 Stew added “What has been destroyed can be repaired. We now know the importance of vegetation to rainfall and know how to repair ecosystems .... we just have to get cracking on it on a massive scale.“
 Both Stew and Bee are involved in permaculture teaching and consultancy, with
Stew specialising in placement of access roads and water harvesting earthworks such as swales. Bee conducts regular farm tours and composting workshops and particularly welcomes youth and conventional farmers to come see what strategies inspired by permaculture 's founders Bill Mollison and David Holmgren  have achieved here.

Saturday, April 25, 2015


"It just seems that they have declared war on the planet."  Pete Lane 

DePAw lit up a large forest block ( Kearney block, about 64 sq km) on April 20th and must take responsibility for the health impacts this is, and will have, on hundreds of  residents. Kearney block is about 2 km southwest of Nannup. Unfortunately many such blocks of similar size, set aside by all govts since 1920 as high conservation value, were logged in 2012. Should these all be burnt this autumn there will be implications for human health (1) and climate change will accelerate. Burning forests produce more hazardous smoke than burning coal.(2)
 It turns out that the very weather conditions which favor safe burning conditions in terms of homes and property damage,  maximizes  human health effects.  Virtually no wind and dew every evening has  ensured the residents sat in carcinogenic smoke every night for more than a week and counting. Health impacts of exposures to these gases and some of the other wood smoke constituents (e.g., benzene) are well characterized in thousands of publications. The Polycyclic aromatics released  in particular are not only  irritants,  but mutagenic,  carcinogenic, and neurotoxic. 
As a nearby resident I was not warned of this controlled burn. Were people with  pre-existing heart or lung conditions warned? Data suggests there was an increase in out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in Melbourne during the 2006-2007 bushfire season in Victoria, many hundreds of kms away from where the forest was burning in the Victorian Alps. (3)
The conventional thinking has been that controlled burns are needed to reduce debris under the forested areas to reduce the intensity of a fire. Recent fires have showed controlled burning has little to no effect in slowing, reducing and stopping forest fires. Recent Northcliffe fires are a case in point. A lightening strike in a prescribe burnt area started the fire. The fire quickly spread .Fire Chiefs were expecting  that when  the fire  reached a certain area that had been prescribe burnt 5 years earlier, it would slow down and  be containable. It did not slow down. 
Controlled burns don't stop wildfires but they do cause human and native health and crop damage. So why are we burning again ? There is little reason to continue putting the health and welfare of local residents, animals and agricultural systems (grapes etc) at risk with annual controlled burns. With residents ill, crops damaged, health damaged, lifestyle damaged, the sentiment that wood smoke ,(being a natural substance)  must be benign  is still sometimes heard. It is now well established, however, that wood-burning stoves and fireplaces as well as wild land and agricultural fires emit significant quantities of known health-damaging pollutants, including several carcinogenic compounds (e.g., polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, benzene, aldehydes, respirable particulate matter, carbon monoxide [CO], nitrogen oxides [NOx], and other free radicals) (4)The range of potentially toxic gases and other substances of concern include atmospheric mercury, ozone precursors and volatile organic compounds. 
When I rang the hospital to enquire about a respirator. the nurse said I should go for a drive to some fresh air. I rang the department DePAw duty offficer and asked him “where is there some fresh air? “ He was a nice young man who said he couldn’t help me. He said there were fires everywhere and not just  his department's fires burning, but farmers and householders. Everyone is keen to “reduce fire risk” to their property....what about risks to something more important , our health? 

Does the government have the right or legal freedom to cause us harm

 Could we not plant fire retardant trees shrubs and ground covers as fire breaks? Growing these shelter belts would ameliorate climate change which leads to increase in wild fire intensity and frequency. South Hampton homestead owner Jeff Pow told me some of his animals sheltered behind a Robinia hedge to survive.  Oaks also provided shelter for fire fighters in the blaze, while other tree species exploded.
Eucalyptus forest burns. Our native forests have been artificially created by human intervention (fire) in recent history. We humans should not live in the forest, or we should protect our homes with fire retardant plants and intelligent design rather than controlled burns. 
 Land developers have an obligation here to develop already cleared land , not settle people amongst the  trees.
Solution!  We can reduce  property loss  from bushfire and other catastrophic results of global climate change by planting buffer zones of flame retardant  vegetation. 
In other words, we fight  fire not with fire but with plants. Logged forest areas should  be  left  un-burnt  to decompose  into humus ( it doesn’t burn, and facilitates the growth of plants which in turn create lush conditions )
 We can make soak up carbon from the air by making compost, and again by  planting  the many flame retardant species available (5)  (eg Robinia, succulents) to shelter our homes and livestock from  fires.
References supplied below.
Thanks, Bee Winfield   Thomas Rd Nannup 

2)Burning forests are more dangerous than burning coal:
3) heart conditions worsened by smoke inhalation
   4)  Tuthill, 1984; Koenig & Pierson, 1991; Larson and Koenig, 1994; Leonard et al., 2000; Dubick et al., 2002; Smith, 1987; Traynor et al., 1987).
[ Smoke  travels]  and “ is known to irritate the  respiratory system, but evidence suggests it's the particles that damage people's health, says Dr Fay Johnston from Menzies Research Institute in Tasmania. Dr Dennekamp adds it's the very small particles – those with an aerodynamic diameter smaller than 2.5 micrometres – that are likely to cause the most significant concern”."And in particular the very small particles that can penetrate deep into the lungs," she says.“Symptoms caused by these particles can continue for days after they are inhaled.”
WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer(IARC) scientist Christopher Wild says"We now know that outdoor air pollution is not only a major risk to health in general, but also a leading environmental cause of cancer deaths.”
NSW Air Quality Monitoring agency says:"An air quality alert may be raised when pollutant concentrations reach levels which exceed national air quality standards for gaseous pollutants (ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide), fine particles …. During an air quality alert, people sensitive to the effects of air pollution are likely to feel its impacts (POOR and VERY POOR categories) or during extreme episodes of air pollution such as during prolonged bushfires (HAZARDOUS category) which can affect everyone's health" 

 5) a small sample of suitable flame retardant species : salt bush,Coprosma, elms, oaks, willow, guavas, tagasaste, paulownia, hydrangea, geranium, comfrey, sweet potatoe, alfalfa tree tomatoe  etc. For a list of native plants that will not burn in the face of continuing flame, see this website . People can test more plants by throwing a small branchlet into a fire and watching how it behaves.

 We may be exposed to the obvious hazards of a wild  fire occasionally in our lives  but  this has been a
(poorly) planned event . Many other folks will be similarly afflicted as the score of other same sized forest blocks in the shire and adjacent shires,  logged 2 years ago,  are burnt. Mowen and Helms recently logged will swell  the area beyond the 640 square km area already logged .   We  know that the logging operation runs at a financial loss, and cancer treatment was certainly not factored in .
This is all just so crazy, but we can revolutionize the thinking:
Fear of fire will lead to the felling of  what is left of  native vegetation since white settlement ( 5 %), and the repeated burning of anything that tries to grow. As society  clambers to protect property in the face of climate change and it’s resulting increase in the  frequency and intensity of bushfires, expect  guys with matches  to destabilize climate further and therefore increase the threat of wildfire with every prescribed burn. As Alan Savory warned us: burning bush is more toxic and polluting than burning coal, and far more so than cars.
Fear of fire could be addressed with green fire breaks. Says the Nannup Council, as it encourages landowners to burn roadside vegetation but to take precautions “Smoke over roads can create an extremely hazardous environment for road users”
but I have replied, what about  breathers and eaters?  Air quality and climate are more important considerations, actually.
  I am asking Main Roads  ( who have cut down a lot of Jarrah and Marri trees lately in the name of road safety ( but there- in is another issue: sadly a method of suicide around here is to aim your car at a big tree on the side of the road) ) to please encourage the  planting of flame retardant vegetation on all roadsides, which would create extremely good air quality and a safe climate.  Main Roads could encourage the planting of deciduous trees and succulents instead of mandating natives.  We have taken over the management of our road side verge at Karridale because otherwise it is sprayed annually with Round Up. Much bureaucracy later, we’ve STOPPED THE SPRAYING and been allowed  to  plant trees on this grassed verge, but only natives. Let us research species which are unburnable and unpalatable to kangaroos. With fear of fire addressed in this manner,  we can dispense with thousands of liters of carcinogenic  Round Up being used on roadsides . This obviously poisons  waterways. Succulents are drought tolerant and do not burn, climb over embankments, are easily propagated  and maybe even taste yuk to roos. With teams of young ones potting up pig face in organic soil, who may otherwise feel lonely and depressed ( remember good soil is an anti depressant) , climate change,  suicide, air quality and fire protection would all be addressed at once. If you like the plan, please agitate for it by contacting your council, fire chief,  MP, minister for health, the environment, forestry,  and the Premier.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Testimonials .

Thankyou Bee for all the information and effort you  both put into making the [Soil ] weekend a great success and given us hope for many great changes at our farm to come. I have just had breakfast with my neighbour in Fremantle who is very interested in doing a future workshop. .....

Thank you again.


Hi Bee and Stewart,
I just wanted to say a big thank you to you both, for giving your time and for your warm hospitality, when we recently visited your property.  I would have loved to stay longer.  You have a beautiful place and I could feel the passion you both have for organics and permaculture.  Rob and the boys also enjoyed learning about the pigs and being able to wander and explore.  Jake particularly liked the ducks! For me, it was great to see so many permaculture practices, in place on  a larger scale property.  I loved the worm farm and chicken runs.  I am now inspired to start my compost tea brewing again and I will let you know of the outcome.  As I have been learning about swales it was also great to see the swales that you created and how they work.   I was able to obtain ample material for my assignment, so thank you.

Bee bread was delicious and chicken was like real chicken  yummy ! Thankyou,  Mrs H

[we found] your beautiful farm!
Please thank your husband for welcoming us. …. We had the pork mince last night....beautiful probably the most delicious spag bol we've ever had :)

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and the happiest new year. Taking the time to really thank you for providing me and my family with such beautiful organic produce, so thanks for all your work this year.
Love J, Ian, J, Jo,,S,M,and C.
Hi Bee & Stew

Happy New Year! Hope you guys had a lovely Christmas and New year celebration!

Just wanted to let you know the pork we got from you a few weeks back has been amazing as usual! Also the blackberries were so yummy (big hit with my 2 yr old daughter!) and the woodfired bread was so good too! Peaches and nectarines beautiful as well. Amazing food as always so thanks Bee.

All the best for 2015 and we look forward to enjoying lots more of your amazing produce this year!



Hi Bee
Just a quick message now that I’m safely home (with the kids tucked up for the night - all fed, happy and exhausted!)  to say how much we enjoyed our visit to your farm today. Thank you for opening up your amazing property to us all. The kids are full of tales of how they milked the cow, fed the animals, held chooks, hit down the walnuts and collected eggs ready to regale to their friends when they go back to school this week. Lunch was delicious and we were all fascinated to learn about the wonderful things you grow. …
Dear Bee and Stewart .................. the most wondrous buttery tasting kale i have ever tasted !
AND delicious avocados and so-yummy- wheaty-flavorsome BREAD

Hi Bee
 Thanks again for coming and talking to us last night. You were really fantastic, so easy to listen to and so knowledgeable. I know how busy your life is so we really do appreciate it. If you would ever like to talk again we would just love to have you.
 Sal xxx
 Sally Gray ND
Naturopath - Nutritionist - GAPS Practitioner - Herbalist - Educator - Author
Real Healthy Kids

The lamb chops were amazing. The fat on your animals tastes completely different than other meats, it is crispier if that makes sense (even better than other organic grass fed meats). I wonder what it is that does that? The raspberries were the best I ever had, so firm and tasted just like raspberries if you know what I mean? I loved the yoghurt, it tastes more sour but I like that (and so does James). The more sour/fermented it is the more lactobacilli and other bacteria there is. Also it has less lactose, which is better. You can really taste the difference between yours and other organic yoghurts (which are only done for 6-12 hours). The bread is really delicious too.
 Just wanted to let you know, we had the rump roast rubbed with fennel seeds last night and tonight, and it was some of the most delicious meat we have ever had. So moist with the fat, and so tasty. So nice to eat meat that I didn't have to worry about - because I knew it had had the most perfect, happy life right till the end. Could just enjoy it for two reasons - firstly, it was perfect, so I didn't feel bad that some animal died for an average tasting bit of food, secondly, because I knew she had a good life. Plus, lots of lard saved for future roast potatoes. Food of the gods (apart from mash of course). The main difference I noticed with your pork compared to ordinary pork, is that the fatty bits are nice to eat, not a flubbery, grainy, nasty jelly mess like from other producers. Loved it, let me know when you are raising more meat of any kind, and we will have some. 
I come in a few times to the organic markets when i lived in Belmont for your lovely roast beef, best I've tasted. J.M.

Hi Bee

I had a great time on the weekend, i was amazed at how quick you could feel at home in your home. For me it was great to meet you three in away that i felt you can live ge free and organicly and still fit in with society. Already have started my worm farm. Also has changed what i buy from the shops and working on the bigger plan. I even found myself looking up land in Nannup on sunday night.

I dont realy have much constructive critism, as it was great. I felt i learned a lot more once it was the three of us rather than saturday morning when we were with others that already knew a lot more, it got a bit complicated for me. So i think it would good if possible for people at similar stages to spend the weekend together as we had.  Also i think the more hands on stuff on the farm it what i remenber the most and would encourage that side the most.

I enjoyed it a lot  and would love to come again in the future.

In regards to the market, do you need to pre - order. What time does it start. Is there any chance you will have anymore of that berry compot, already finished it, yum. Were after yogurt, ice cream, bacon, avo and what size do the hams come in (i realy like the ham we had at lunch)

Regards b
thankyou so much for a truly wonderful stay.
i felt so nourished on every level.
it was a perfect mix….
just had your milk- best milk I have ever tasted in my life
Just did the course last weekend, it was absolutely brilliant! Such a beautiful farm with many happy animals.Organic farming has been a viable way of farming for thousands of years, things went wrong when scientists brainwash you into believing that food should come from a laboratory or a factory. Do the course and you'll learn how to grow your own in a natural sustainable way!   Michele
Thank you so much for a fabulous weekend – Gres and I both thoroughly enjoyed being part of your organic farm and family and taking away so much information with us. We are very keen to start with small projects; baking our own sour dough bread, starting a worm farm, investigating a water tank, being aware of GM foods and buying the non-GM alternative and only feeding the kids organic meats, fruits and vegies. 
Dear Bee, a big thank you to you for having me in your very interesting Gourmet gardening weekend permaculture course. It's such a prestigious experience to see how permaculture works on your farm..and all these wonderful films we got to see and amazing food we got to taste. I am so glad I came. I will try and source some ingredients to make my first sourdough. I look forward to receiving the recipe. Also could you tell me the name again of that herb growing in the patch upslope from your compost? Epi...ti.
Hi Bee
It's Tracey here - I was at the workshop today.  Thanks so much for taking the time out of your obviously very busy life to share your knowledge and experience with us. And for showing us around your amazing property. You really blew me away with what you have done there: building your house yourself is amazing! but everything else as well.  Inspiring!

Hi Bee and Stew .Thank you so much for such a great weekend!  It was so informative and we look forward to implementing things in our garden! Will be in touch soon
Again thank you for a great weekend.  Emmy

And from a couple of youths who want to go all organic but are struggling to afford it:
 Its just that we know that your produce is the best in Australia, and at the most outrageously good value prices, and we not only want to eat your stuff but also support you in what you do as much as we can. We have been thinking of a trip down south soon, and we will definitely come say hi and help out when we can
Club B,
                                                                       Silver Chain,
                                                                         Peninsula Road,
                                                                           Bridgetown 6255
 Bee Winfield,
  3 Thomas road,

Dear Bee,
               Thank-you for giving your talk “Healthy Soil - Healthy Food -
Healthy people - Healthy Planet” to the members of Club B on Friday 26th July 2013.
     What a wealth of information you gave us. It really was a fascinating
presentation and stimulated a lot of interest in the members.  Some of the information you gave was totally new to many of us. It was obvious that you had done a great deal of research and we were grateful that you made the information available to us.
     Thank-you for giving us the little 'GE' pamphlets on the foods so we will be able to do more careful food shopping from now on.
    Thank-you for taking the time to come to Silver Chain to give this
excellent presentation to our members. It was very much appreciated.
Kind Regards,


  On behalf of Silver Chain

     and Club B Organising Committee.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Winona La Duke

I have discovered Winona LaDuke.
See one of her many speeches hereWinona LaDuke to Speak
At UW-Eau Claire Forum 
   March 22, 2004— Winona LaDuke, an activist for social and environmental issues who served as the Green Party vice presidential candidate in the 1996 and 2000 elections, will close the 62nd season of The Forum at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire on Wednesday, April 7.
Her presentation titled “Environmental Justice from a Native Perspective” will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Zorn Arena. LaDuke’s lecture will be followed by a question-and-answer session and a reception.
An Ojibwe who lives on the White Earth reservation in Minnesota, LaDuke is program director of Honor the Earth, a national Native American environmental justice program. She is founding director of the White Earth Land Recovery Project, a reservation-based land acquisition, environmental advocacy and cultural organization, a former board member of Greenpeace USA and co-chair of the Indigenous Women’s Network.
Born in Los Angeles, LaDuke is a graduate of Harvard and Antioch Universities. In 1995 Time magazine named her as one of America’s 50 most promising leaders under 40 years of age. She was awarded the Thomas Merton Award in 1996, the Ann Bancroft Award for Women’s Leadership Fellowship and the Reebok Human Rights Award, with which she began the White Earth Land Recovery Project.
“The U.S. is the wealthiest and most dominant country in the world, and we can’t keep the lights on in New York City nor can we provide continuous power in a ‘liberated’ Baghdad,’ LaDuke wrote in a recent column for Indian Country Today. “Centralized power production based on fossil fuel and nuclear resources has served to centralize political power, to disconnect communities from responsibility and control over energy, and to create a vast wasteful system. We need to recover democracy. And one key element is democratizing power production.
“We are undeniably addicted whether to an economy based on burning of fossil fuels and wasteful production systems, or to oil,” LaDuke wrote. “We have allowed our addictions to overtake our common sense and a good portion of our decency. We live in a country with the largest disparity of wealth between rich and poor of any industrialized country in the world.”
LaDuke is the author of “All Our Relations: Native Struggles for Land and Life” (1999), a non-fiction work on Native environmentalism. “The Winona LaDuke Reader: A Collection of Essential Writings” was published in 2002.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

A taste of Permaculture tour Sunday June 5th 2016

Guided permaculture tour  Sun June 5th 2016

from 10 am  to 1.30 pm.  

Join Stew and Bee on Merri Bee Organic Farm,Sunday morning this long weekend for an introduction to Permaculture .  We will  take a wander through food forests, some 25 years old, visiting many friendly farm animals along the way. 
On this extensive guided tour you will see more than 90 different mature species of plants that provide fodder, fruit, timber, nuts craft materials or bee forage. Admire the happily grazing free range pigs, sheep, cows and ducks and marvel at the developing bamboo collection. See how nutrients are recycled and water flows through   this thriving eco system. 
Being spring on the farm we may see a chick hatching or a calf  being born if we are very lucky!
Stewart and Bee have  provided most of their own meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts, herbs, condiments, bread and dairy produce from this land for 30 years and are keen to
share  the really useful permaculture design principals which  start with an ethic of Earth and care of people. We have created a day especially for those who  have decided to withdraw their support from multinational agribusiness / pharmaceutical corporations by simply refusing to buy their "food".
If  GMOs, pesticides, food additives, nanno particles, hormones, irradiation, and antibiotics, all packaged up in gaily coloured plastic and delivered via fossil fuel are not for you;   if you believe there must be a way  we can eat ,without adding huge toxic loads to our air, water and soil, then  please join us. Meet  others on the same path and pick up many helpful ideas. 

 Taste the forgotten flavours of compost grown fruit, nutrient dense veges and animal products. Children do appreciate real food and we would love your family to join us for a day of memorable experiences which show where food comes from.
The cost is $75 .00 per adult and $15.00 per child, which includes lunch and teas   . 

See the passive solar human and animal housing, intensive gardens, nursery, poultry sheds and runs, compost and compost tea  production, worm farm, wicking bed, swales, mature rare fruit and nut trees, raspberries, wood lots and  lots more. Bring appropriate footwear and clothing for steep hiking in the fresh air of Nannup.  This workshop will assist those looking for  a property as we  will focus on assessing a block's  potential for permaculture and the principals of design whilst simultaneously engaging your children.  Please note, you are responsible for your children's safety at all times on the farm but we will take all care as well. Please email  after  booking  your spot (instructions  here) . We look forward to meeting you . Cheers, Bee