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Bananas in Tasmania

Tropical Tasmania

Most people told us before we moved to Tasmania that it would be too cold!

Contrary to popular belief, it's warm enough to grow bananas!

The banana plants started off in pots in the recreation room complex and were recently moved into the hot house.

It took over a year to get to the stage where we can now harvest our first crop of bananas!

Bananas in Tasmania

Bananas in Tasmania

Bananas in Tasmania

Affordable Housing in Perpetuity?

Tasman Ecovillage is committed to providing affordable housing, now and for future generations. To this end, we have included the possibility for a Community Land Trust (CLT) in our Vision for the village.

The vision came a little closer to reality when we were recently invited to partner with a research team led by Dr Louise Crabtree at the University of Western Sydney (UWS). We will be one of four Case Studies for the “Community Land Trust Research Project – Phase 2”

A community land trust is a not-for-profit entity that holds title to property in perpetuity, for the dual purposes of creating and stewarding perpetually affordable housing and community benefit. It gives access to stable and affordable housing to people who are normally priced out of the housing market by way of either a long term lease or a shared equity arrangement. Residents own their home, can resell it and leave it as an inheritance for their children. They maintain equity in their property, although this is capped on resale to prevent speculation and maintain affordability.

There are currently over 200 CLTs in America and over 100 in the UK but, as yet, none in Australia. This is a very exciting opportunity not only for Tasman Ecovillage but for the wider Tasmanian and Australian community, as the information that is gathered from the Case Studies will inform future projects.

The UWS team have already done extensive research into the establishment of CLTs in Australia, the result of which was published in 2013 as “The Australian Community Land Trust Manual”.  Phase 2 is the next stage of this research.

The Wonder Plant in Your Dam

You have probably noticed it covering the surface of a dam as you drive by. It’s often a pinkish colour, but can be green when shaded from direct sunlight. It can grow so thickly and cover the water so completely, that you might be tempted to walk upon it!
We are talking about an aquatic fern, Azolla filiculoides. It floats on the surface, with its roots hanging down into the water about 4-5 cm.
It is native to all countries around the Pacific rim, including Tasmania, with several different species of it flourishing, depending primarily on the climate and temperatures. Azolla has become prominent in rice-growing areas because it can help as a natural fertiliser.
At TEVA we are well aware of this plant’s benefits. It is able to “fix” nitrogen from the air, rather like legumes (peas and beans, for example), but Azolla is 3 times more efficient than the legumes in doing this. Azolla also takes up nitrogen from the water of the dam, at the same time as removing phosphates which are dissolved in the water. So, as well as producing an excellent slow-release fertiliser, the Azolla can help to prevent pollution and eutrification - damaging the ecosystem with excess nutrients.
Deb, Dave and Alan (who wrote this article) recently harvested Azolla from one of our dams at TEVA and placed it on garden beds, helping to rejuvenate our sandy soil.
For more information on Azolla, visit the website: www.azollafoundation.org



Pear Tree Reborn

Scott Hansen, a local apple and pear grower, kindly donated his time and grafted 7 varieties of pears on to an old pear tree we have by the creek.

This pear tree was too tall and its fruit very small after years of neglect. Last year, on advice from Scott, we cut it with a chainsaw and recently Scott grafted new shoots onto the wood. You can see the result in the second picture. All the grafts have taken and the tree should bear fruit very soon, giving it a new, long lease on life.

Pear varieties that were grafted:

  • Beurre bosce
  • Pakenham Triumph
  • Winter cole
  • Doyenne Comice
  • Josephine
  • Spring deu AKA Glou Morceau
  • Williams

Pear Grafting

Pear Grafting

Village Voices #1

Village Voices

Community Kitchen Up and Running

Healthy and delicious meals are now available lunch and dinner seven days a week in our community kitchen!
With 27 people (including 12 helpers) now living on-site, and often many guests, all of whom need to eat, it just made sense. Meals are optional, take away or eat-in, and everyone participates in the roster. Residents pay a nominal sum to cover the costs and friends and visitors are welcome to join us.
We have been trialling this since the beginning of the year and it is working brilliantly. Like a kitchen table in a house, the community kitchen is now the heart of our community.

Ilan and Laurence

Tasmania’s First Sociocracy Workshop

Tasman Ecovillage Association is proud to be hosting Tasmania’s first Sociocracy Workshop. Titled “Organising Ourselves: Foundations of Dynamic Governance”, it is a two-day workshop on Saturday and Sunday 14th – 15th December, 2013.
Sociocracy, also known as “Dynamic Governance” is a decision-making and governance method, based on principles of sociocracy, that allows an organisation to manage itself efficiently while incorporating the wisdom of every member. Drawing on cybernetics and systems theory, dynamic governance enables groups to be dynamic and rejuvenating, and to foster egalitarian relationships. Businesses, educational bodies, community groups, and non-profit organisations use it. Dynamic governance invites participation, inspires leadership, and allows an organisation to flourish in a changing environment.
At the workshop, you can learn to communicate effectively across committees and levels of authority, increase individual engagement, commitment, creativity, and initiative, and make better decisions while having more enjoyable, effective meetings.
The workshop leader, Gina Price, has been learning and working with dynamic governance since 2004. She has worked with a range of organisations including small and medium size businesses and intentional communities. Certified as a dynamic governance trainer in 2008, Gina’s background includes working as a research scientist in Antarctica and Alaska, homeschooling, and permaculture design. She is a consultant with The Sociocracy Consulting Group.
For more information, please visit the event page. For more information on Sociocracy, go to http://sociocracyconsulting.com

Mulching a Mountain

What do you do with two tonne of chook shit? Make a mountain out of it! Our friendly local earth-mover, Koonya Earthmoving donated this to us – so grateful! Not only that, he flattened it and covered it with topsoil that we have been removing to make our ring road. How much compost does an ecovillage need? Lots :-)

Mulching a-mountain

Chef/Cook Wanted

We are looking for a cook/chef to come and join our Motel and Ecovillage on the Tasman Peninsula. Someone with a passion for food, customer service and management, who is willing to take on the running of our unique HUB bar and café.
This is an opportunity for an individual, a couple or a family to explore a love of food and to manage this essential “Hub” of the Tasman Peninsula community.
We are offering an incentive package with option of board and lodging to be negotiated. There are many opportunities for growth and development within this role.
The Tasman Ecovillage is in a very exciting phase of development and we are therefore seeking an individual/couple or family that would commit to this project for a minimum of 12 months. This will give you a chance to explore the possibilities and continue to build this successful business.
We are currently growing some organic produce on site and you would be able to incorporate this home grown produce into your menu.
Living on site you will have access to all Motel amenities including the community kitchen, spa, sauna, tennis courts and much more.
If you are interested in a lifestyle change and for more information please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Check us out here: https://www.parsonsbayretreat.com.au/cafe
We look forward to hearing from you soon!

The Hub Café

It’s “Official” … Tasmania’s First Ecovillage

On June 28th 2013 the Tasman Ecovillage Community Development Scheme was registered with the Land Titles Office in Hobart. Australia’s newest and Tasmania’s first ecovillage is officially “born”!!
Six and a half years of persistence, patience and hard work from Ilan – thank you! Eighteen months of hard work and commitment from TEVA founding members who saw the vision, believed in the project and stayed with it through joys and disappointments – thank you! Thank you to our new members who showed faith in the project and gave us support when we most needed it. To our 250 helpers and wwoofers over the years, you have been the back bone of the village and Ilan would not have lasted the distance without you. Finally, thank you to all our friends on the Tasman Peninsula and the wider community who support us in so many ways.
The journey to a kinder, more connected and sustainable future continues ….