Then & Now: One And 20

HannahMaloney
Hannah Maloney has kicked lots of permaculture goals since appearing in Pip’s first issue in 2014.

We catch up with three interviewees featured in the very first issue of Pip and find out where their permaculture journey has taken them and what they’ve learnt along the way.

HANNAH MOLONEY

How do you describe yourself and what you do?

I’m a permaculture designer, educator and community worker focused on growing a better world for all.

Where were you on your journey seven years ago when we featured you in Pip Issue 1?

I was in the early stages of establishing Good Life Permaculture in southern lutruwita (Tasmania). My partner Anton and I were just starting to set up our garden and retrofitting our old house in urban nipaluna (Hobart), which is where we still live and are developing.

Where are you now?

Good Life Permaculture has gone from strength to strength, we’re still teaching and rolling out as many community projects as possible. We make fun educational, organic tea towels and have a strong landscape-design thread in our business. The permaculture principle of diversity is something I’ve applied to my approach to business. It’s meant that despite obstacles or global pandemics, I still have income streams regardless of what’s happening. It also means I don’t get bored. I’m relieved to now have a few part-time staff to help me out.

Our property is very different to when we first arrived. It’s so alive, productive, colourful and beautiful. We still have more dreams and schemes to implement here, but it’s already heaven. We now have a daughter, Frida Maria, who is a fierce and delightful firecracker. Oh, and my hair’s turned various shades of pink – a reflection of me remembering how to not take life so seriously.

What are your greatest achievements?

In recent years I have some shiny examples like being a semi-regular guest presenter on Gardening Australia and writing a book which is due out in spring. These things are the stuff of my personal dreams and I am beyond grateful and deeply stoked. But the things that makes my heart swell is applying my individual actions and voice to the collective effort of supporting meaningful climate action and justice. I do this with any spare cash, by voting for progressive policies, by speaking up through my work and by supporting First Nations communities. All completely ordinary and critical stuff anyone can do.

What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned along the way?

Rather than competing with others in business (and life), lift each other up – the more people doing work in this area, the better. Support one another in any way possible.

Radical hope; the world has some big challenges, the climate emergency being our most pressing one. Instead of becoming lost in a dark spiral of gloom, choose radical hope – act with optimism in the face of uncertainty.

What’s the single best piece of advice you could give someone wanting to follow a similar path?

You know that feeling in your belly/heart/bones? Don’t disregard it. Practise listening to it and, if possible, do what it says. Also, have a crack. Stop waiting for someone else to do ‘the thing’ and just try doing it yourself.

What is your secret to achieving so much and balancing work, life, family and living a permaculture life?

Historically I’ve had bugger-all balance. Because I’m so passionate and interested in what I do, I normalised long work days and weeks decades ago. However, there are bushwalks to be walked, a magical daughter to be played with, a gorgeous husband to enjoy, friends to do friending with and a ukulele to practise. I’m re-learning how to live with more balance to put more joy into my heart which will help me put more joy into the world.

What do you like about Pip?

Pip’s been remarkable in helping to raise the bar in permaculture. It’s engaged, educated, clarified and inspired people on permaculture and living the good life wherever they are. I always learn little practical tips and really love reading about what’s happening around the world. The colouring-in section is also a welcome delight!

CaitlinAnnie
Caitlin (left) read about Annie (centre) and Genevieve in Pip’s first issue and has since moved in.

ANNIE AND GENEVIEVE

How do you describe yourself and what you do?

We are colourful, fun-loving, foodie, crafty, vegetable and leisure farmers!

Where were you on your journey seven years ago when we featured you in Pip Issue 1?

We ran a pastured-chicken farm, a local co-operative abattoir and lived in a handmade strawbale tinyhouse.

Where are you now?

We now live in a slightly bigger handmade strawbale home, on the same piece of land on beautiful Yuin country, but our pace of life has changed somewhat since Annie’s secondary cancer diagnosis. We are no longer farming chickens, but we’re still living simply and well, with a focus on food, local-community resilience and connection. We have also welcomed Caitlin into our tinyhouse – she spotted us in the very first issue of Pip – eventually she visited us, helped build our house and moved into the tinyhouse.

Caitlin is a vegetable farmer, and is working on developing co-farming and housing connections in the Bega Valley. She works with Genevieve at our local food co-op and it has been wonderful to explore communal living and alternative family structures with her.

What are your greatest achievements?

Maintaining a loving, open relationship through the challenges of building a home, farming and living with cancer. Making strong connections with our community and further afield, and living our ethics daily, wholeheartedly in an open and expressive way.

What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned along the way?

Asking for help is what’s going to save the world. We had dreams of self-sufficiency when we started on this journey, but quickly learned that community resilience is actually much more revolutionary, fulfilling and achievable! Be open to asking for and receiving help, understand that skill sharing and bounty swapping are not only fruitful – both literally and figuratively – but also a radical antidote to capitalist machines.

What’s the single best piece of advice you could give someone wanting to follow a similar path?

Be open. Be humble, but dream big. Believe in your skills and capacity to create the life you want. Listen and learn. Ask questions and don’t be afraid to change your plans.

What is your secret to achieving so much and balancing work, life, family and living a permaculture life?

Be prepared to go without. We lived so simply for so long (four people in 26 square-metres with no running water or inside cooking facilities for five years, while tackling farming and cancer) and even though it looked to a lot of people like ‘doing it tough’, it was one of the best experiences we’ve had as a family. It taught us the joy of frugality and the true value of time, hard work and living well with what you have.

What do you like about Pip?

I’m so proud of what Robyn’s achieved, I remember that very early meeting – and look at her now! I’m so glad the magazine exists, I think profiles are good – seeing what people are doing, how they’re doing what they do. Pip allows people to learn from one another’s stories.

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