Kanjini Co-Op Newsletter - Volume 3, Issue 1 - September 2011
Welcome to Kanjini Co-Op's September 2011 Newsletter and a warm hello to all newcomers Thank you all for your continued interest and support!
Apologies for the delay with this issue of our Newsletter, I had some major surgery in late January and was recuperating and recovering for an extended period. I will share some of those experiences below in Caring For Each Other.
Soon after I learned walking again, I accompanied Svargo to Germany for family matters as his mothers health was deteriorating. Svargo and his mother were blessed to spend some valuable time together before she peacefully passed away. With her passing we are reminded of the blessings every day of our life brings to us and the thankfulness we have for our parents sharing their lives with us. As parents ourselves we also continue to feel very blessed by our close relationships with our children and we are very aware of the importance of having all generations involved in Kanjini Co-Op.
On our return journey we took 10 days to visit Auroville, a large community in Tamil Nadu, India. This was a truly inspiring visit and you can read more below in this Newsletter.
We have now returned to Kanjini Co-Op and to the excitement about working towards making a formal offer for Kanjini Co-Op's potential first property - see Kanjini Co-Op Land below!
Early in the year there was much excitement about purchasing the same property. We were so very close when for health and other personal issues we lost four potential members.
Well now the excitement is building again. We warmly welcome Vienne coming back on board again and we also warmly welcome Azita who has committed to join us too.
We are working on preparing a business plan for this particular property and are talking with the bank managers.
We are getting really excited about finally starting this vision we worked on for so long. It is so obvious to us that the world economy as we know it cannot continue much longer. It is depending on continuous growth, but has already outgrown the earth's resources. For anyone wanting to gain a deeper understanding of the current world economy and its inherent problems I recommend watching 'Zeitgeist 3 - Moving Forward'. Humanity is facing peak oil, peak resources, peak water, peak finance and peak food production all at once. What better time to become less dependent on supermarkets and more dependent on good friends and our own garden....
Not that we should do so out of fear, as Kanjini was conceived not so much as an ark, but more as a solution which we as a group can live in order to minimise our personal contribution to the planets destruction. Having food in the garden, should supermarket shelves ever be empty, is just an added bonus.
One of the best things about Kanjini is that we can share daily chores so we effectively need to cook and clean only on some days and can enjoy being served upon on most days. With enough people we can enjoy resort style living for five days a week! Many hands make for an easier and more sustainable life and working together with others makes for a lot more fun :-)
In the last Issue we talked about Food Security which is an ever growing problem for thousands of people world wide, especially as climate change is already starting to affect harvests. Every one needs to eat and as healthily as possible as a top priority. At Kanjini we will grow as much of our own food as possible. We are also committed to establishing a large variety of Old World Vegetables and Fruits. More about this below in Nursery.
Since it has been so long since our last newsletter, this edition is rather big and full of stories, reports, land-news, happenings, questions answered and other interesting news. Just in case you are short in time or do not want to read the whole newsletter, please at least check out the paragraphs about Kanjini Co-Op Land and our new website section for Members and Supporters, thanks.
And we hope to see some of you at our Hearts and Minds Meeting on Saturday 24th September (see below).
Happy reading ...
Kanjini Co-Op secretary
As mentioned before, Svargo and myself recently visited the international community of Auroville south of Chennai in India.
Auroville is one of the biggest international communities, it started in 1968 and has grown to house over 2000 residents and tens of thousands of visitors each year. Auroville has an interesting and ambitious charter and its declared purpose is to realise human unity – in diversity. Today Auroville is recognised as the first and only UN endorsed ongoing experiment in human unity and transformation of consciousness, also concerned with - and practically researching into - sustainable living and the future cultural, environmental, social and spiritual needs of mankind.
Svargo had visited Auroville in its beginning stages 30 years ago when the land was a veritable desert. He assisted in establishing forests, windmills and biogas plants. So it was a real memory lane tour for him!
What was once desert with views to the sea is now dense dry-land forests. Surprising for me was the amount of native Australian trees that have established and regenerated the vast landscape. Seeing the gardens and orchards of Auroville was truly inspiring. We visited many different communities within Auroville. One that was particularly inspiring was Sadhana Forest, a volunteer, intern and student based community of Auroville where sustainability is an integral part of every day life.
It was inspiring to see what can be done in dry country when you have water, will and determination.
We were also impressed by their smart use of technology, for example their Solar Kitchen which uses a huge parabolic mirror on its roof to provide energy to cook for over 2000 people a day. While in Auroville we made several connections which could be used in the future by Kanjini to establish an alternative technology business in Australia.
Last year, I (Shiralee one of our Founding Members) was suffering and unable to walk without the aid of crutches due to repercussions of a long ago injury. For many months I was housebound and unable to sit comfortably for any length of time. I spent the year attempting to heal the problem with natural methods but with minimal results I faced my fears of surgical intervention and a myriad other fears about loss of mobility, death and disability and agreed and welcomed medical intervention and extensive hip surgery. The outcome was positive with full recovery and mobility expected, however the surgery resulted in me also having a medically broken femur and being unable to walk and care for myself for several months. As an added complication Cyclone 'Yasi' threatened Cairns a few days after my operation, and Cairns hospital as well as my flat had to be evacuated as both were in the storm-surge area. During that time I had many community workers attend my needs such as carers, nurses and physiotherapists, doctors and other health care professionals.
But is was the Members and Friends of Kanjini who rallied with meals and movies, smiles and shared tears, stories and showers. All were gratefully given and received.
At Kanjini Co-Op not only do we believe that sharing a place to live is important but also sharing those heart moments when empathy and compassion are just as important as having an abode to dwell in and our own healthy food to eat each day. I received much support and encouragement when I was facing my fears.
During those often difficult times of physical incapacity all had the opportunity to share wisdom and compassion and quiet reflection. We all learned to experience patience and acceptance and to learn new skills and coping mechanisms. My suffering often allowed others to share theirs and to lighten the load and help release old patterns that no longer served.
Kanjini Co-Op is a place that we intend to provide lifelong nurturing, learning and growth in intellectual, physical, social and spiritual realms, qualities of awareness, respect, cooperation and helpfulness.
In times of need Kanjini Co-op members, Friends and Supporters can all care for each other, no matter what!
"Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world. For, indeed, they are the only ones who ever have." (Margaret Mead)
As you might know we have inspected about twenty properties over the last three years. During this process we have learned what matters the most to us in a property.
We believe that we have now identified the ideal starter property for Kanjini Co-Op, a large fruit orchard and farm at Koah with over 150 acres, between Kuranda and Mareeba on the Atherton tablelands.
For those of you who do not know this area yet, you can now find out more about the FNQ Region on our website.
This Koah farm has the following advantages:
What we intend to do within the first year:
While we have considered buying an already organic farm, there are few established organic farms in the region that are currently on the market and those that are for sale are expensive and not suited for other reasons such as locality or water resources or land size and restrictions on expanding. So to advance the Kanjini vision we have decided to purchase an existing income producing farm and convert it to organic status. This challenge will be a showcase for the community.
By transforming this farm to organic we will also improve its value, something we cannot do with an already organic farm (which would also cost more initially).
With our combined experiences as former managers of large commercial citrus, mango and rare tropical fruit farms we believe that we have the necessary skills to profitably manage the farm and successfully convert it to organic. The creation of Permaculture Food gardens and creation of an aesthetically pleasing environment is of great importance to us. Also we have been offered advisory assistance from local experienced organic Lychee, Mango and commercial organic vegetable farmers. This property is ideal for accommodation for Kanjini as we have received initial information from council that we probably can do all of the above improvements without any "change of material use".
We have the determination and experience to create a sustainable paradise, but we can really do with your help right now to make this vision happening:
The directors of Kanjini Co-Op are currently preparing a business plan for this particular property to see whether we can justify getting a bank loan to purchase this property and get started with the six members which are committed.
However we would very much prefer to have a few more hands on deck and/or to have sufficient share capital to not have to get a loan from a bank.
So we are hoping that you can see the benefits for Kanjini and for yourself to join our Cooperative at this crucial time and be instrumental in making this project happen.
We are convinced that this is the best available property for the Kanjini vision to start becoming a reality, and considering the state of the world, we are very eager to start soon.
So we would like to ask you to please consider joining Kanjini.
So if you are ready to join Kanjini Co-Op and contribute financially and or with your labour to support the vision and share in the fun, this is a good time to please fill out your membership application.
In the private Members & Friends of Kanjini Website we have listed information for this property and a property specific Business Plan is also available for those interested (please email us if you want to see the Business Plan with an indication of your interest.) You can also do a virtual inspection of the property. This section is not publicly accessible and we encourage you to use this opportunity to become a more active supporter of Kanjini Co-Op by filling out this questionnaire to apply for access to this members and supporters section (if you have not done so already).
“The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving. “ (Oliver Wendell Holmes)
We need all the help we can get to make Kanjini Co-Op as big and as beautiful as possible :-) So please continue to spread the Kanjini Co-Op Vision by telling your friends and neighbours, the pharmacist, the gym instructor, and the Permaculture designer. Please also feel free to display flyers on local notice boards ........
We do appreciate your efforts and help in getting the word out there to those people :-) If you know of any groups you feel may be interested in Kanjini Co-Op or any publications or locations that would be suitable for advertising and or posters, please do let us know.
“There are two ways to spread the light: To be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” (Anais Nin)
We are often asked questions and we are happy to share them here in the Newsletters. These questions and more, with our answers are also on-line.
Why are the Rules so long?
The Cooperative Rules are actually insisted upon by the Office of Fair trading which is the governing body for all cooperatives in Queensland. The Model Rules (which were initially presented to us) have been modified and adjusted by us to be more equitable and fair for all members, but are still about the same length. Unfortunately these are a hefty 40 pages of legal terminology. If anyone wants to volunteer to create a summary version setting out the most important bits in plain English, please contact us, we'd be very grateful.
I want to have my own studio/dwelling. Can I do that on Kanjini Co-Op land?
It is possible, however Kanjini Co-Op cannot guarantee individual housing for all members.
A share in Kanjini is so cheap because we will technically live in a share-house, rather than all have individual dwellings. The latter would require us to go through lengthy and very expensive approval processes and the required change of use application would likely be rejected in a rural area, unless we have thousands of acres and can make a strong case.
Since Kanjini Co-Op is committed to work within the law, we will be bound by council regulations and that means no more than two dwellings on one property. While the second dwelling cannot be larger than 100sqm, the main dwellings can be very large and have many rooms and even 'pavilion' style parts, so not everything has to be under one roof and some rooms can be separate to some extent, providing they do not have kitchens and laundry facilities (then they would be classed as a dwelling). While we have received verbal indications that we should be able to build about 6-8 'huts' as farm-stay accommodation, we still have no clear answer from council as to what is acceptable and what is not in accordance with Local Council Plans and Guidelines, so it will be more a case to case decision and what might be accepted by council for some early members might not be possible to do again later.
The level of accommodation will also be determined subject to the purchase of additional investment shares to pay for extra costs and the acceptability of members designs by the Co-Op meetings.
Kanjini recognises an individuals need for privacy and space and will endeavour to provide a variety of accommodation styles. However as Sustainability is a major component of the Kanjini Co-Op Vision any separate personal spaces will need to be not only aesthetically pleasing but be simple and practical. Kanjini Co-Op's emphasis is on reducing our footprint on our precious Earth. Therefore laundry/drying facilities, kitchens and general living areas will be shared.
I do not want to be a farmer. Can I be a member and not work on the farm?
Certainly. If Kanjini Co-Op is successful in buying the Koah Farm (see more above at Kanjini Co-Op Land) there will be paid positions available for either 2 full time or 4 part time employees to run the current fruit orchards. So not everyone can be employed within the current farm activities anyway and not all members have to work in each or even any of the cooperative businesses.
However preference will be given to Kanjini members who wish to be employed and especially those who will use part of their wages for paying off their shares.
Some of the many activities that are available to those not employed by the farm operations will be creating and establishing Large Food Gardens and orchards as well as Permaculture Food Forests. There will also be other activities such as building, renovations, maintenance, marketing, education etc, as well as cleaning, cooking and other regular chores, but no member has to work more than the ten hours per week and even this applies only to members residing on Co-Op land.
How can I help Kanjini Co-Op without becoming a member?
There are many ways and dozens of people have helped and are helping Kanjini to manifest its vision.
You can spread the word about Kanjini by telling people or displaying the flyers. You can come to meetings. You can volunteer for jobs (register for the Members & Supporters Website and then look for the 'Jobs' section). You can donate money to help buy the property.
And once we have the land you can come to Workshops or a Working Bee and have a great time sharing a lot of laughter, heart and gardening energy!
These are our informal gatherings which are usually held on the last Sunday of each month. However because Svargo has a birthday party next Friday, this month we will have our Hearts and Minds Meeting on Saturday the 24th September from 12 noon until 5pm here at 303 Koah Road Koah/Kuranda. You are very welcome to come to the birthday party and stay overnight, but you will need to RSVP us on 40937755.
The Hearts and Minds Meetings are designed to get to know each other better, introduce new interested people and advance the vision. These meetings are usually held at Koah and include Meet and Greet / introductions/ Q & A's, discussions, planning all amidst lots of laughter and whatever else we decide to do together. There is always a Heart component with valuable sharing of feelings and if possible we all venture outside and in the gardens.
Last month we inspected our preferred 'start up property' once more and have been very excited after discussions with local council planners...........
For more info read Kanjini Co-Op Land...
Our Hearts and Minds Meetings are valuable experiences for cooperative living and much fun is had by all. If you are unable to physically attend a meeting but would like to contribute we can arrange for you to participate via SKYPE or by speaker phone. If you would like to use SKYPE or phone to attend, please let us know. We will need your SKYPE Name so we can have a trial connection prior to the meetings, thank you.
Besides these Hearts and Minds meetings we also hold our monthly formal Kanjini Co-Op Members meetings. Interested persons are invited to attend our monthly members meetings (however only members may vote). You are most welcome to join the process, ideas and your input is always welcome. Please Contact Us for venue directions.
Please note that newcomers are encouraged to first come to a Hearts and Minds meeting. Those are less formal and allow more time for questions and get-to know each other.
If you wish to receive email notices of all Director Meetings, please reply to this email with "Directors Meetings" in the Subject line, thank you.
Everyone on our email list will get informed of each Hearts and Minds Meeting. So if you know anyone who might be interested, please ask them to subscribe now.
As regular readers would know we have a Members & Supporters section to our Kanjini website. This section is not publicly accessible and is designed to conduct a lot of our internal interactions online. There are different levels of access, so our directors and members can view and comment on relevant documents and meeting minutes. However many parts of this new section are accessible to non-member supporters and we encourage you to use this opportunity to become a more active supporter of Kanjini Co-Op. You are welcome to apply for access to this private section by completing this short online Questionnaire.
In the Members & Supporters of Kanjini Website we have photos and information about the proposed property as well as listings of the other properties which we have inspected, so you can do a virtual inspection of them as well. Thanks to all the Members & Supporters of Kanjini for checking in and making comments about the various properties.
And thanks to Kevin, our website wizard, we now have a new section called 'Jobs', so we can more easily share some of the research and other work required to get Kanjini on the road. We will over the next few days and weeks lodge jobs in that section which need to be done in order to get Kanjini happening. It should also be possible for you to suggest jobs and it is possible for you to take on jobs or commit to contribute to them by posting a comment to that job.
So even if you do not have the money to contribute or can't come and physically help with the work right now, you can sign up for a Job, assistance with planning and research is always greatly appreciated.
If you have access to our new Members & Supporters Website, already, please check out the new comments and info and please feel free to participate in discussions and help with jobs.
If you would like to get access to the Members and Supporters website section, please apply by completing this short online Supporters Questionnaire, thanks.
BREAKING NEWS: Ginger could be new weapon against fruit fly
Associate Professor Anthony Clarke, from QUT's Faculty of Science and Technology, is leading the country's largest team of university researchers examining non-chemical based ways to fight fruit flies, including promising "lure and kill" techniques using ginger essence as an alternative way to control Queensland fruit fly. One potential method involves using an extract of ginger called zingerone to lure male fruit flies into traps. Article Source
Nursery and Gardens: The Kanjini Co-Op's food and timber plant nursery and gardens continue to expand. Winter is the time for the many rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plants to mature and leaves die off. We are graced with an abundant crop of ginger, turmeric and galangal. Lemongrass, an evergreen grass continues to provide delicious teas and flavourings and also mulch. At Kanjini one of our aims is achieving Food Security so we continue to experiment and grow a wide variety of plants for food, medicines, health products and insecticides.
Turmeric: We have had a truly wonderful crop of TurmericTumeric this year with large fat very dark colnd aromatic rhizomes, all grown organically and from a strain first planted 10 years ago! We have been blessed with many delicious curry dinners. Turmeric is a chief ingredient in South and Southeast Asia cuisine. It has also become the key ingredient for many Indian, Persian and Thai dishes such as in curry and many more. Although most usage of turmeric is in the form of root powder, in some regions (especially in Maharashtra), leaves of turmeric are used to wrap and cook food. This usually takes place in areas where turmeric is grown locally, since the leaves used are freshly picked. This imparts a distinct flavor. In recipes outside South Asia, turmeric is sometimes used as an agent to impart a rich, custard-like yellow color. It is used in canned beverages and baked products, dairy products, ice cream, yogurt, yellow cakes, orange juice, biscuits, popcorn color, sweets, cake icings, cereals, sauces, gelatins, etc. It is a significant ingredient in most commercial curry powders. Turmeric is mostly used in savory dishes, as well as some sweet dishes, such as the cake sfouf. Turmeric can also be used to dye cloth. In Ayurvedic practices, turmeric has been used as an anti-inflammatory agent and remedy for gastrointestinal discomfort associated with irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive disorders. Raw turmeric strengthens cartilage and bone structure. It is traditionally taken in warm milk at night before sleep. Some may use turmeric in skin creams as an antiseptic agent for cuts, burns and bruises.
Ginger:We have also had a wonderful crop of ginger this year with large juicy rhizomes, proving it can and does grow very well in this area with organic production. This particular strain has now been grown for 10 years successfully and very productively! We will be re-planting, getting ready for a larger crop next year and lots of delicious ginger in our dinners and drinks.
Ginger is the rhizome of the plant Zingiber officinale, consumed as a delicacy, medicine, or spice. Other notable members of this plant family are turmeric, cardamom, and galangal. It is a key ingredient in many Asian dishes imparting a spicy flavour. Tea brewed from ginger is common folk remedy for colds. Ginger ale and ginger beer are also drunk as stomach settlers in countries where the beverages are made. Ginger water was also used to avoid heat cramps in the United States. In China "ginger eggs" (scrambled eggs with finely diced ginger root) is a common home remedy for coughing. The traditional medical form of ginger historically was called Jamaica ginger; it was classified as a stimulant and carminative and used frequently for dyspepsia, gastroparesis, slow motility symptoms, constipation, and colic. Ginger has been found effective in multiple studies for treating nausea caused by seasickness, morning sickness and chemotherapy
Galangal: is used in various Asian cuisines (for example in Thai and Lao tom yum and tom kha gai soups, Vietnamese Huế cuisine (tre) and throughout Indonesian cuisine, for example, in soto). Though it is related to and resembles ginger, there is little similarity in taste. In its raw form, galangal has a citrusy, piney, earthy aroma, with hints of cedar and soap (saponins) in the flavour; its flavour is a complement to its relative ginger, but galangal has little of the peppery heat that raw ginger has. It is available as a whole rhizome, cut or powdered. The whole fresh rhizome is very hard, and slicing it requires a sharp knife. A mixture of galangal and lime juice is used as a tonic in parts of Southeast Asia.
Lemongrass: is a favourite addition to any Asian style meal and we enjoy its crisp freshness. It makes an attractive border plant and its vigorous growth make it an ideal plant for mulch production.Lemongrass is native to the Philippines. It is widely used as a herb in Asian cuisine. It has a subtle citrus flavour and can be dried and powdered, or used fresh. Lemongrass is commonly used in teas, soups, and curries. It is also suitable for poultry, fish, beef, and seafood. It is often used as a tea in African countries such as Togo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Latin American countries such as Mexico. Lemongrass oil is used as an Essential Oil ingredient for soaps, perfumes and other beauty and health products. Lemongrass oil is also used as a pesticide preservative and has anti-fungal properties. We will be experimenting using Lemongrass juice as a garden pest and fungal management aid this wet season!
Kafir Lime:The leaves of this tree give us the most exquisite aromatic addition to many of our Asian inspired meals adding a crisp freshness. It is a thorny large bush/small tree with aromatic and distinctively shaped "double" leaves. The kaffir lime is a rough, warty green fruit. The green lime fruit is distinguished by its bumpy exterior and its small size (approx. 4 cm wide). The leaves can be used fresh or dried, and can be stored frozen. Its hourglass-shaped leaves (comprising the leaf blade plus a flattened, leaf-like leaf-stalk or petiole) are widely used in Thai and Lao cuisine (for dishes such as tom yum). The oil from the rind has strong insecticidal properties. The juice is generally regarded as too acidic to use in food preparation, but finds use as a cleanser for clothing and hair. Definitely will be experimenting with this one!
Comfrey:is an important herb in organic gardening. Comfrey has long been recognised by both organic gardeners and herbalists for its great usefulness and versatility. We use it as a fertiliser, mulch and compost component. Comfrey also has many purported medicinal uses. One of the country names for comfrey was ‘knitbone’, a reminder of its traditional use in healing bone fractures. Modern science confirms that comfrey can influence the course of bone ailments. The herb contains allantoin, a cell proliferant that speeds up the natural replacement of body cells. Comfrey was used in an attempt to treat a wide variety of ailments ranging from bronchial problems, broken bones, sprains, arthritis, gastric and varicose ulcers, severe burns, acne and other skin conditions. It was reputed to have bone and teeth building properties in children, and have value in treating "many female disorders". Constituents of comfrey also include mucilage, steroidal saponins, tannins, pyrrolizidine alkaloids, inulin, and proteins. Internal usage of comfrey should be avoided because it contains hepatotoxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs). Use of comfrey can, because of these PAs, lead to veno-occlusive disease (VOD). VOD can in turn lead to liver failure. So be aware internal use can be dangerous and please take caution.
Plants never sleep ... thanks from queenslandgardening.com
Did you know that the stems of most plants tend to grow most at night? While it is still unclear why plants do this, scientists have come closer to understanding the mechanism. Three genes produce proteins that interact to form an "evening complex" which suppress certain growth genes during the day and early evening. Eventually, it's possible that these genes could be manipulated to optimise biomass accumulation for biofuel production. Source: Biologists discover an 'evening' protein complex that regulates plant growth (July 2011)
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen”. (Frank Loyd Wright)
We wish that you seriously consider joining us, so that our combined vision of enough people pooling their resources to purchase a stunning piece of land will soon become a reality.................
.....from Shiralee and The Kanjini Co-Op team