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The 40 over 40 project | Araluen 49

This year I am 50. My favourite things revolve around the marvels of nature, wild fermentation and connections made with people and the natural world, meaning I love a good chat!

I am the eldest of 5 children, and grew up in country New South Wales. I moved away from my family to Brisbane to go to University to study Science when I finished school at 17. My first professional job was in Hydrometallurgy, where I researched mineral extraction techniques. This led to me working in the mining industry in Western Australia, Queensland and Ireland.

A skydiving accident, at 27, where I fractured my femur, changed my direction somewhat, leading me into natural therapies. I studied for a Diploma in Natural Therapies (reflexology, massage and Bach Flower Remedies) and started my first business at 30 years old. At this point we were almost self sufficient in our food production and I was making all sorts of preserves and soaps. A weekend where I worked with teenagers and showed them about natural skincare and reflexology sparked an interest in connecting with young people.

At 32, I completed a Graduate Diploma in Education (Middle School), however, I only taught briefly before our eldest daughter was born. I began formal study of Permaculture and we welcomed three more children into our family. Our youngest child was born after I turned 42. Permaculture really resonated with me because it combined science, teaching and natural therapies. It was from here that the idea of building a Permaculture focused brewery evolved because I wanted to create a lifestyle and business that both my husband (an electrician, who had been home brewing for over 20 years) and I could work in together. This meant building an off grid, efficient building, as close to zero waste as we could get and providing a space for people to connect and learn. Things have evolved since then and our building is still in progress. I made fermented non-alcoholic drinks initially as a marketing exercise for the brewery. I wasn’t a big drinker, but a liver condition meant that I could no longer drink alcohol so making special drinks for adults who don’t drink alcohol became a mission. Ginger Beer was my first successful product, and remains most popular today (which is lucky because it took me a couple of years to perfect my method!). I continually look to reduce food waste and to make new and exciting products from excess local produce. I do this through running workshops on ways to preserve food, using fermentation and ancient preservation techniques as well as making small batch dried fruit, preserves and various drinks for sale through market stalls and a few retail outlets. I am excited to see how the melting pot of my travels, study, collaborations and experience ferment to maturity.

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