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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Formidable Vegetable Sounds

Hi All,
Howz about you come on down to Nannup this long weekend for a funky good time? Been viewing the huge  line up of artists and Im so excited that not only my mate Ollie and his fabulous West African precussion band  TooBaBoo  will be playing but Charlie McGee and his formidable vegetable sound system will be performing on Saturday and Sunday. Permaculture is a  passion of both these bands.  Charlie  is busy  taking it to the world lately.   We will be cooking up some delicious curries from local grass fed beef  in the main concert venue down by the river. Would love to see you  down here in the forest this Friday and all weekend. Cheers, Bee

Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Taste of Permaculture tour

A taste of permaculture tour  Sun October 17th   2014

from 10 am  to 3.30 pm.  

Join Stew and Bee on Merri Bee Organic Farm,Sunday October 17th 2014 for an introduction to Permaculture . We will learn the principals of permaculture which make for a resilient comfortable life which cares for Earth and people. 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 in this thriving eco system. We may see a chick hatching or a lamb 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 for over 25 years and are keen to share permaculture design principals which have really worked with you. We decided years ago to withdraw our support from multinational agribusiness / pharmaceutical corporations by simply refusing to eat their GMOs, pesticides, food additives, nanno particles, hormones, irradiation, antibiotics , heavy metals ect. Industrial food corporations are serving these up to most of us every day adding huge toxic loads to our air, water and soil . But it doesn't have to be that way. Taste the forgotten flavours of compost grown fruit, nutrient dense veges and animal products. We find children really appreciate real food. 

See the passive solar human and animal housing, intensive gardens, nursery, /general plant propagation areas, poultry sheds and runs, compost 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. Cost $75 .00 per adult and $15.00 per child, which includes lunch and teas   . Please note you are responsible for your childrens saftey on the farm but we will take all care as well. This workshop will assist those looking for  a property. 
We will focus on assessing a block's  potential for permaculture and  the principals of design.  Please email  after  booking  your spot instructions  here . We look forward to meeting you .

Cheers, Bee

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Marsh versus Baxter - GM contamination on trial

Stewart looked after the farm so I could be at the Perth Supreme court  to watch the first day of proceedings in the Marsh versus Baxter case on February 10th. I was interviewed by the BBC in London the following day, so the eyes of the world are definitely on Western Australia right now. This is a landmark case - the first time in the world a farmer has sued someone for loss of earnings due to GM contamination. It is a David and Goliath battle which challenges the farming regime brought about by corporate giant Monsanto.
We heard that Baxter (the defendent)  planted traditional canola in 4 paddocks in the middle of his farm (these were harvested by header) and GM canola in 2 paddocks adjoining Marsh farm. This crop was swathed, in what seems like a deliberate attempt to contaminate. As these allegations of negligence emerged Mr Marsh's barrister highlighted that Mr Baxter had  failed in his duty of care towards his neighbour. Hopefully this sends a message to farmers around the world . Hopefully freedom of choice for farmers and consumers will prevail.  If Monsanto have their way, there will be a greater tolerance for GM material in non-GM and organic crops. But consumers have spoken loud and clear that they want a choice to avoid GM food. Australian organic standards have a zero tolerance for GM. So does the ACCC (Australian competition and consumer commission) who insist that any food labelled as GM free is 100% FREE of GMOs. More than 98% of GM crops hide unlabelled in processed foods and livestock food. 
So how do you avoid GM food? Don't buy processed food or animal products unless they are certified organic or you personally  know the grower/maker as knowledgeable and dedicated to GM free food . Look for Non GM or GM free  labels. 
  Monsanto's takeover of seeds and the food supply is going on very much under the radar of most people as the major news outlets do not report it.
The result of this case will impact on every one of us who eats. It will affect the diet and therefore the health of our pets and livestock .The entire continent of Canada was contaminated with GM canola within 2 years of it being introduced, but  IMAGINE being a farmer who has  no choice of what to grow.   Canadians had to plant patented seeds belonging to Monsanto, there were no other varieties available. Here in WA last year , farmers were offered the "buy 2 and get the 3rd bag free" deal for canola seed ( which was GM but that was only mentioned in jargon in the fine print). There was great support for Marsh over the weekend and again at the court.People came out to say “ I want to eat natural food” like never before. They do not trust the safety claims of regulators who have previous employees of the biotech industry as their chiefs. Polls in Australia indicate that the vast majority of people want GM FREE food,   however proponents of this novel crop tell us that we can't expect a GM free diet, that it is impossible because "Nature doesn’t work that way" . Strange coming from genetic engineers who have no respect for (and no wish to know)  how nature works. In the incisive words of Janet Grogan " If Steve loses his case, food that consumers are demanding will be forcibly replaced" ..Health  ramifications are already huge. , we know 15 times more herbicide is used on these Round Up ready crops. We know from the Seralini studies that this an extremely potent biocide. Unbelievably, the recognised ‘safe limit’ for Round Up has actually been raised to accommodate the increased Round Up residues on GM foods. The dangers of Round Up are largely minimized and/or under-reported but in fact this herbicide is linked to  24 diseases.  Glyphosate disrupts our hormones and induces cancer , infertility, and birth defects . 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Chicken soup day coming

  2014  Merri Bee Hen Harvest and Feast, Nannup

Really hands on, really valuable!!

The hen gives us eggs, which not unlike oxygen from trees, comprise the life breath of any homestead kitchen.  But that is not all she gives.
Join us at Merri Bee Organic Farm as we receive her ultimate gift.

 This class will equip you to:  make an educated guess as to when an old layer in your backyard is past her prime as an egg producer, to catch and kill her humanely,and then to cook the bird expertly.  After the class, you will be glad that the old hen is no spring chicken.
Following a farm tour of our poultry houses which show permaculture design principals,  we will demonstrate  a humane kill, de-feathering and a hand evisceration which harvests the extremely nutritious organs such as liver, heart , feet and  giblets.
We hope each student will  have a go at all  parts of the process , hence the limit of 6 students
The chicken carcass will be prepared  for the pot.  As we butcher our hens, two will be simmering in the style of coq au vin for our lunch. We will show you how to create a wonderful chicken dish  based on bone broth , so rich in minerals essential for our  bone density and dental health. The exceptional raw dairy and vegetable produce of Merri Bee Organic Farm will fill out our meal. We believe your time and money to attend this class   will be repaid many fold  to you  over the years in delicious , cheap and nutritious meals . 
Really hands on, really valuable!!
Thus equipped with the knowledge to harvest and cook a hen ( rooster or hen of any age really), you go home with the hen you butchered and various recipes for slow cooked chicken. Each venerable hen  should provide  your family with at least 2 excellent meals at virtually no cost.
We do remember being very scared of this whole process and assure you it gets much easier as you begin to concentrate on the skills involved. Mastering  these  benefits the  hen in your hands and keeps your backyard poultry operation financially prosperous. As every farmer has to learn, there are very few  pets on a farm. . If you keep fowls even just for eggs, the truth is that  sometimes for humane reasons we need to know how to put a creature  "out of its misery" swiftly. 

This day  will run  from 9.30  to 4 pm on a day to be decided by the group,in school  term 3,  2014.
Class attendance is limited to 6.
Tickets for the demonstration, hands-on instruction, reminder notes, meal and take home stock chicken are $175 per person. Please email me, Bee, to register your interest .
Please see our blog page "Payment Policies" here

Student sign up and information

Student Signup Information and Policies
Greetings, and thank you for your interest in Merri Bee Organic Farm's permaculture classes. Below you will find all the“housekeeping” details of signing up for these events.
We offer a few methods of payment for our classes. A netbank deposit or sending us a cheque . Please make all cheques out to “Merri Bee Organic farm” and
send them to our address: P.O. Box 337 , Nannup, 6275.
Net bank details
Name of account : B Winfield
BSB 06 6508
Account 10071163
Please put your first name and surname initial plus “cors” in the “to account description” field.

We prefer full payment up front, but if you need to break up payment
into installments, we accept deposits of 50% at the time of class signup.
This will secure a spot in the class(es) you sign up for.
If you choose the deposit payment option, your balance of payment is
due on the day of class. All deposits are non-refundable. If you sign up
for a class within 2 weeks of the start-time, please get the full payment
to us as soon as possible and we’ll hold a spot for you.
Arrangements and Communication:
We send out an email 3-4 days prior to all those who
have signed up and paid (so please make sure you send us your email
address at time of sign-up: email us at , and here we give registered
students final class details (what to wear and bring, our phone
number, directions to the farm, etc.) Please do not be alarmed if you don’t hear from us until this time.
If you are travelling to one of our classes, you may wish to reserve lodging at one of the many accommodation options in Nannup. We recommend Tom and Cindy Percy at Nannup Tiger cottages as good value and close by but see a full list here.
You may also enquire about camping on our farm, $30 per person includes breakfast.

Refunds and Class Cancellation:
We understand that extenuating circumstances do arise and may
prevent you from attending a class you’ve already paid for. If you can
notify us at least 10 days prior to the day of the class we can provide a
refund of your ticket price, less an administration fee of 15% of the total.
We may also credit you the full amount toward a future class with us. If
you notify us of your need to cancel within 10 days of your course
commencement, your payment is not refundable. These classes are highly sought after and we often turn down potential students in order to save a spot for you. We are happy to report that we’ve never had to cancel a class that students have signed up for. In the unlikely event that we are forced to cancel a course you will promptly receive notice and a full refund. If you like, we can also record your payment as a credit to any future course.

Many thanks for your interest and we hope to see you soon! Naturally, Stewart and Bee