Category 18

Drawing Inspiration: Brenna Quinlan

brenna quinlan

A much-loved permaculture illustrator and educator, Brenna Quinlan’s drawings guide communities away from consumerism and towards living a life brimming with meaning, beauty and community connectedness.

Brenna lives at the idyllic Melliodora property established by the co-originator of permaculture David Holmgren and his partner Su Dennett, where she practises, educates and illustrates permaculture. Her articulate watercolour paintings have been used in numerous books including Holmgren’s newest Retrosuburbia, as well as Milkwood: Real Skills for Down-to-Earth living and Farming Democracy: Radically Transforming the Food System from the Ground Up, and in just three short years has cultivated an Instagram following of more than 25,000.

Upcycle: Hooded Beach Towel

This long, enclosed and wearable towel is the perfect project to give new life to tired towels. Great for coming straight home from the pool or the beach without getting changed and ideal for when you need to discreetly change out of your bathers somewhere public.

Treat you or your family with a practical addition to the beach bag this summer that will both reduce waste and save you money. Using the towels from the back of your cupboard, or some bright-coloured or patterned towels picked up in an op shop, this wearable beach towel means the kids can stay in the water for longer. And with enough room to be able to get changed within it, accidentally exposing yourself is a thing of the past.

Living Drinks: Ginger Bug

Refresing homemade ferments

When it comes to fermented drinks, most people think kombucha or water kefir, but good old-fashioned ginger beer can be just as beneficial for gut health and really easy to make yourself.

It might seem unintuitive, but the link between fermentation and good health is bacteria. And they’re everywhere, from the start of a fermentation process to the insides of your stomach, and responsible not only for digesting things inside our intestines, but things outside them, too. Not content with breaking down our food for digestion, bacteria reduces it into molecules more easily absorbed by our bodies: this is called bioavailability.

Besides that, the microbial community makes vitamins, breaks up toxins and medicines, and strengthens our immune systems. All things which are a great advantage for our health and wellbeing.

Carve by Hand: Swedish Smörkniv

knife

For the love of good cutlery, we all need a hand-carved Swedish butter knife in our lives. And the best thing is you can carve your own smörkniv from trees growing in your garden.

Hand-carved butter knives are strong, sturdy and a work of art. They range from simple, elegant forms through to animal-shaped spreaders with matching dishes. They’re relatively simple things to make with a few low-tech tools and you probably won’t need to go any further than your garden to gather all the materials you’ll need.

Permayouth: In Their Hands

Credo is a 12-year-old refugee in Uganda and just one of many young people around the world who are using permaculture to build a bright and sustainable future.

Helping vulnerable people access permaculture needs to be a priority. With one percent of humanity currently displaced and half of all refugees aged under 18, permaculture is the ‘difference that makes a difference’. The UN World Food Program has warned by the end of 2020, one in 30 people could be pushed to starvation.

Credo Walola is a 12-year-old boy who has lived most of his life in a refugee camp in the far southwest of Uganda. Rwamwanja is home for over 70,000 refugees, mostly Congolese nationals like him. Life there is challenging and this year it has become even harder; schools have closed, food rations have halved and basic supplies are no longer reaching his camp. His friend, 15-year-old Salumu Itongwa, died a few weeks ago of blackwater fever.

Read & Watch

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A novel set in the 2030s in a future where the effects of climate change and global warming are starting to have serious effects. Set in both Melbourne and Northern NSW, this book follows the journey of one family and their communities’ experiences in a climate-changed world.

Melbourne has been ravaged by heat waves and bushfires, Northern NSW has been cut off by a cyclone with swathes of beach and homes washed away, leaving the communities with food supply chains cut and with a dire shortage of basic necessities.

By coming together as a family and community, by bartering, growing food and drawing on their combined skills and resources, they are able to not only survive but also thrive.

Following the year we’ve experienced in 2020, it isn’t too hard to imagine the future Woodrow depicts as a realistic setting. This book, while frightening on one hand, shares the hope that regardless of what the future may hold, with community, skills and resilience we will survive. A gripping read.