For the past 6 years Jodi Wright and her partner Michael have been creating The Cloudy Cauldron Permaculture Farm, where food is produced ethically. “We are a mixing pot of ideas, resources, skills and learning, and set in the Dorrigo mountains – commonly in the clouds. – Hence The Cloudy Cauldron,” says Jodi.
Jodi is also one of the instigators in bringing ‘Abundance- A Celebration of Generosity’ to Dorrigo over the weekend of March 31st until April 2nd. Jodi, partner Michael, Iris Curteis and Hamish McLeod, all with very different backgrounds but a common belief in ‘community’, realised the need for “a weekend about giving and receiving our abundant gifts, skills, ideas and questions; it’s about choosing to be generous and connecting to who we truly are to create vibrant, thriving communities and networks that nurture us all.” The result of this collaboration is a weekend of varied and fascinating free workshops.
Jodi will be facilitating the workshop ‘From cow udder to udderly delicious cheese’. Jodi plans to introduce participants to cow milking and cheese making and, using raw milk as an example, exploring the concept of ‘food sovereignty’. “My aim in this workshop is to help participants connect with food and better understand the politics involved in food production and distribution. Questions I hope to explore include: How can we work towards food freedom? How are your food choices affecting farmers and the way food is produced?” Jodi is passionate about ‘food freedom’, “people’s right to have access to good nutritious food without government departments making that decision for us.” “Raw milk is a highly nutritious food that humans have been consuming for a long time, but government legislation has now removed that as a choice for people.” Jodi believes the raw milk debate very clearly paints the picture of ‘food freedom’, “people can and should do their own research into where and how their milk is produced and decide for themselves if it is safe to consume, which also includes being responsible for the consequences of their decisions.” Jodi admits that industrial, large-scale agriculture may not be a safe way to produce and sell raw milk, “but small family farms and direct marketing to local consumers is a very different paradigm. Unfortunately it is all covered by the same legislation. It does not allow for people to make their own decisions.”
This personal decision making, “people and communities starting to take responsibility for themselves, their food and own health rather than more government legislation,” is at the root of Jodi and Michael’s decision to develop ‘The Cloudy Cauldron’. Permaculture is a design science aimed at creating a Permanent Culture, moving beyond sustainable and into regenerative. “To me it is not about what you are doing but rather WHY you do it that way. Putting emphasis on design, and thought process,” explains Jodi. Jodi and Michael, with the help of their young son, grow all their own milk, meat, vegetables and fruit. They are still waiting for their nut trees to start to produce and haven’t found time to dabble with grains yet. “We sell some of our excess abundance and I do a whole lot of preserving…… and feed a lot of wild critters along the way!” Jodi grew up on a mixed cropping farm near Goondiwindi. “I learnt to love what you’re doing from my father and a tendency to be a work-a-holic.” She completed a Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology (which translates to the technology of life) but later discovered permaculture was the technology of life that she had really been looking for. She has worked as a research assistant/extension agronomist on a farming systems project based in St George, as well as agricultural extension in an aid project in Thailand and also spent a season as a Jillaroo in the Kimberly. On first moving to the Bellingen Shire she worked as an oyster farmer on my husband’s family’s leases until the prolonged river closure forced the closure of the business and we moved to the plateau in September 2010 and began the creation of our Permaculture farm.
So, if discussing the concept of ‘food freedom’ while helping to create cultured raw butter or watching demonstrations in simple cheese making and tasting the deliciousness sounds enticing, the ‘Abundance Festival’ is a must. The full weekend program is available HERE.