The Amazing Milkwood



Ad and I went out to Mudgee a week or so ago to the Milkwood Field Day. Amazing. It seems impossible you wouldn't know who they are if you've got half an ear to the ground, but in case you don't, think amazing permaculture farm complete with inspired education program and a whole team of talented people gathered together. 

The field day was fabulous. We've been following this farm from the time Kirsten and Nick moved out there, years ago now, and they started posting vlogs about compost and foraging for trees in a nearby abandoned orchard. Kirsten is from around here orginally and is a bit of a design and social media genius, and tells an engaging story. We were stoked to go and see the farm.

This, above, is Nick, her partner, going on about poo. He makes it quite fascinating. Behind him is the composting toilet they built. One of the amazing things about Milkwood is seeing the permaculture principle of zero waste in action. Everything is cycled and made useful. It was inspiring.


Their chookhouse is on a slope so the chook waste eventually moves downhill for collection and composting. The sides of the roosting room are haybales, regularly replaced and thrown down as mulch. 



We're in the middle of debating Warre hives over traditional here at Buena Vista. Traditional is winning but far out Milkwood make a great argument for Warre

So, despite your anti-consumerism framework, do you ever go into, say, IKEA, and just want to replace, update and acquire everything? I had a moment like that at Milkwood.

Suddenly my life was incomplete without an organic market garden;




or an earthship (or earthbag dome);



or a rocket stove.



Their clever and inventive seedball machine was awesome…



… and they have a heavenly full time chef. Who made heavenly food for lunch almost entirely grown and raised on the property. No wonder their Wwoofer's never leave.


I was already infatuated with the geodesic dome, my friend Amy has one. I'm working on a plan for a Linda Woodrow mandala garden, which the dome is an integral part of. (This is Linda's really wonderful book which is equal parts sensible and giddyingly inspiring. She also has a delicious blog over here.)



The coolest Kirsten. (And me.)



Is there something in your world making you sparkle with inspiration this week?


P.S. Today was day 16 of the Challenge and we had spinach, cream cheese and leek pastie for lunch and a "leftovers" pulled pork and vegie pie for dinner. Delicious. Cruising through on the strength of some well-timed bartering. More of an update tomorrow!



10 Comments on “The Amazing Milkwood

April 10, 2012 at 9:09 pm

I tagged along to an Eco show held by Permaculturalist friends a few years ago…it was the most wonderful event I have ever been to and so enlightening. We have made baby steps since in doing what we can ourselves, one day we will fulfill our dream of the bigger picture.

April 10, 2012 at 9:19 pm

What amazing inspiration, seeing everything in action and being able to ask questions too. We studied permaculture in high school geography. It was a topic our teacher was passionate about and I have always been thankful for that. 🙂

PS. Day 16?! Goodness. I feel at the end of the week as if there is almost nothing in the house come shopping day. I stock up on some things – soy milk, toilet paper, flour, butter, eggs – but I’m not sure we could last nearly as long as you have!

April 10, 2012 at 11:52 pm

What an amazing and inspirational place! We truly can learn so much from this if we just pay attention. Thanks for sharing!

Ngo Family Farm
April 11, 2012 at 5:40 am

Wow, that all sounds incredible and dreamy! Very inspiring, thanks for sharing 🙂

April 11, 2012 at 8:28 am

Wow that sounds like a great trip!
We’re still working our plans for our 25 acre block near Grafton NSW that we bought a year ago. We’re going slowly, to do it right. I put in one of Linda Woodrows mandala gardens about a year ago. It works fantastic and is versatile enough to give it your own twist. Her book is an easy read and makes (like most permaculture designs) so much sense, I kept having those “duh” moments. It ruined me for traditional dig-up rows gardening… Jackie French is also fun to read, I love her idea for a grove orchard. ( I’m trying to use that for my starting up orchard. And then there are swales (, will be perfect for my budding banana plants. So much to do, so much to learn! Isn’t life great!?!?

Good luck with your challenge, you can do it!
I’m through my first week of “stuff the supermarkets” ( You’ve inspired me to go without it for a month.
Looking forward to your updates. Cheers, Marijke

April 11, 2012 at 11:43 am

Oh, I hear you. I have these feelings often (and when reading about YOUR achievements). I came across a garden quote today from 1968 that urges us not to covet another’s garden as it leads to broken marriage! But isn’t it great to have ideas to fire us up…

April 11, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Hey, guess what! We now have 2 new garden beds and the soil is going in as I type! We (well, I supervised) have also emptied out the old sandpit this morning and new soil is going in there as well today. yee haa! When we get back from hols, we’ll be able to plant! You really inspired O last weekend and then we also visited a friend who lives on normal suburban block doing good things too. O’s also brought home some info on fowl sheds… we’re getting closer!

Darren (Green Change)
April 13, 2012 at 9:11 am

Oh man, I’d love to get out to Milkwood sometime! At least I got to finally meet Nick and Kirsten last year at the Joel Salatin workshop. I’ve also been following their blog since they first got going.

I reckon it won’t be long before you guys have the whole market garden thing going on! Count me in for the Jamberoo leg of your CSA :-).

April 14, 2012 at 9:24 pm

Fabulous. I would love to go to their next field day!

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April 16, 2012 at 8:36 pm

Ohh I really impress by this place. Its too peaceful and beautiful place. You have done great work. Thanks for sharing this post here.


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