Zaytuna Farm is situated on a sixty-six acre (27 hectares) property that fronts Terania Creek opposite the village of The Channon, Northern NSW. The property contains 800m of creek frontage, numerous swimming holes and abundant wildlife. The landscape is diverse, covering high frost-free hilltops, ridges and valleys with both cleared paddocks and forested areas.

Zaytuna Farm is a working permaculture education and demonstration farm under continuous development and with ever changing and evolving on ground research in practice; work is consistently in progress to develop new more efficient and productive systems. Situated in sub-tropical Northern New South Wales we offer students the opportunity to learn while experiencing a real life permaculture farming and gardening live in working experience situation. In addition to classroom time, students will train and work on daily farm duties interacting and caring for farm systems which can include animals, crops, trees, nursery, aquatics, irrigation, renewable energy, waste and recycling. Other tasks include looking at design in the landscape, making compost, natural fertilisers, testing soil, basic surveying and completing design exercises.

After day one, the PDC and short course students will have the option of volunteering to work with staff in the early morning before class or after class in the afternoon to assist with the wide variety of daily and essential farm work.

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There is an integrated water harvesting system of multiple dams, ponds, and swales, with gravity irrigation throughout the property. Farm electricity is all stand alone off grid solar with generator back up, all toilets are state of the art composting toilets, all grey waste systems are gravel reed bed natural bio-logical cleaning system all approved by the local government.

The buildings on site include mud rendered lime plastered straw bale, bamboo bale construction home, stylish up cycled shipping containers with passive solar aspect wind vented metal roofs, commercial kitchen, student launderette, internet cafe with student kitchen all enclosing open space classroom and dinning area. There are also various sized metal industrial farm sheds from quite large to very small housing the solar power station, main tool room, main farm work shop, machinery storage, farm office, camping shelters, feed stores, dairy preparation area, main crop tools and supplies, nursery tools seeds and nursery stand alone pressure pump solar power station, all approved by the local government.

Zinc-allum metal roofing on all buildings harvests rain water to water tanks and is pumped to a tank at the top of the property and supplies excellent pressure high quality showering, washing and drinking water to all the built infrastructure on site, all approved by the local government.

The continuous daily food production on the farm includes a large diversity of mixed vegetables and herbs including aquatic crops, fruits in season, chickens for eggs and meat plus ducks, quail, turkey, rabbits and fish, milk and dairy products from a small dairy house cow herd plus a small beef herd. All animals that are processed for food are very carefully, precisely and humanely slaughtered, butchered and prepared for consumption on the farm.

The farm has a large diversity of bamboo production for food and timber plus farm forestry and re-forestation including river bank stability projects.

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Weather Conditions

Weather specific clothing and camping gear is needed according to the time of year. This is high rainfall area with a summer rainy season starting in November/December through to April/may with temperatures around 30 C/86 F with quite high humidity common. In the cooler months May to October we can have occasional light frosts on the ground in early mornings. The days are usually a nice warm 20 C/68 F.

If you intend to work on the ground it is recommended to bring rubber gumboots, water proof coat, torch, drink bottle, good shade hat, sunglasses, thick long work pants (drill cotton or denim are more scratch and snake bite proof), working gloves (if you have soft hands), and long sleeved cotton work shirts (to avoid sun burn).

Work boots must be worn ALL THE TIME WHEN WORKING on the ground on the farm and as all foot ware must be removed before entering any building on site we recommend you bring elastic sided slip on work boots as lace up boots are going to be very frustrating.

Accommodation

Accommodation is in student self-provided tents in our campground. If you don’t have your own camping equipment (tent, sleeping bag, etc.) they can be purchased in neighboring Lismore. Campsite amenities are camper van parking, both on flat ground and off the ground roofed camping shelters with state of the art modern clean compost toilets and solar heated gas backed up hot showers, a coin operated launderette, internet cafe and student kitchen with a refrigerator, free national calls telephone.

We have installed ten tent platforms. These provide a dry base and a roof for the erection of a tent. The shelters have a 4 x 2.5metre footprint which includes the frame, so if your tent fits inside these dimensions you might like to camp on a shelter. However, if you miss out on a sheltered site, or your tent is too large to fit into the shelter, there is no need to worry, as there is plenty of flat ground camping spaces available.

All the water taps, which are connected to the campsite infrastructure, are safe to drink from, which will provide safe drinking water. However, please be aware that all other taps around the property are connected to dam water supplies, which are not suitable for drinking.

We ask that you ensure that your toiletries, soaps, etc., are eco-friendly. That means free of any chemicals and labelled as such. Please ensure you bring your own towel.

There is no outside lighting system in the camp ground, so please bring a torch/flashlight.

Geoff-Fotor

Food

Meals are fresh and healthy. We have meat and vegetarian meals at all sittings. We try to get most of our ingredients from our very own gardens but depending on the seasons we have had some foods that are sourced from local organic produce when possible.

On weekends, students can take the opportunity to explore the local area including local waterfalls and national parks. The Channon Craft Market, the oldest in the region, is held every second Sunday of the month in the village, an easy 15 minute walk from the farm. The market has a diverse and interesting range of food options to choose from. For more information, visit the Channon Market website.

Please note that on weekends students are not permitted at Geoff and Nadia’s house site, for the purposes of rest and privacy, unless they are performing a specific task (like feeding the animals).

Internet and Mobiles

The wireless internet will be on from 6pm to 9pm. This is provided for emails, research, web browsing, and skype (or similar), but it is not to be used for downloading, i.e. movies, music, pictures, and large files (small Word and PDFs are ok) or streaming (i.e. movies, music, videos). No internet assess will be provided for use in the class room or the eating area. Internet access will be provided in the classroom only during an exercise that requires it. It is recommended that you bring your laptop as it will be of great use (file swapping between students is very common). Farm access to an office computer will not be provided unless it is an emergency.

Laptops need to be unplugged after sunset.

Free local phone calls may be made from the common room. A phone card can also be used to make calls from this phone.

Please be aware that mobile phone reception is weak or non-existent for most service providers at the farm, but students usually find reception with many mobile phone service providers just a short distance walk up the road.

Zaytuna Farm’s electricity comes from a stand-alone solar system. This means that as the sun shines we have plenty of power and outside of daylight hours we try to limit our power usage as much as possible. So while it is possible to recharge your electrical items, please keep in mind that if it is overcast, or night-time, there will be no power available to recharge.

Organising Independent Access to Phone and Internet

The only reliable mobile phone reception on the farm is from Telstra Next G network. You can research purchasing a SIM card or mobile phone on the Telstra Next G network via this link.

Equally, the only reliable mobile wireless internet access is also from Telstra, and specifically you will need a "$99 USB Modem plus 1GB data", which you can research via this link.

DVDS and Books for Sale

During the course we will have several books and DVDs from our store on sale. If you think you may like to purchase any of these items during the course, please have cash, cheques, credit or bankcards available for your purchase.

Visas

Download information on Visas here (62kb PDF).

Travel Insurance

The Permaculture Research Institute recommends that all our international students have comprehensive travel insurance for cancellation, medical expenses, personal accident, personal baggage, money and liability before travelling to the PRI. Travel insurance is relatively cheap and can be purchased through a number of channels. Please speak with your travel agent for further details.

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Directions to Zaytuna Farm

Zaytuna Farm is located 1 kilometre from the Village of The Channon, 20 km outside of Lismore, in northern New South Wales. The closest airport is located in Lismore and is serviced by ReX (Regional Express) Airlines. Other regional airports with reasonable access to the PRI include Coolangatta and Ballina. Brisbane Airport is the closest major international airport with limited international services available through Coolangatta airport.

By Car From Brisbane

The Channon is located roughly a three hour drive from Brisbane. Follow the Pacific Hwy south past Tweed Heads and the NSW/Queensland border, continuing past the Byron Bay exit for approximately two kilometres to the Bangalow exit. Take this exit and continue on to the roundabout at the top of the hill in Bangalow (just over the bridge) and turn right towards Lismore. Then drive for approximately 14.6 kilometres to Clunes. Just after entering the village of Clunes, at the top of the hill, turn right towards Dunoon and The Channon. Continue to follow the signs towards Dunoon and The Channon.

Turn right into The Channon Road at the sign for ‘The Channon’ and continue driving until you reach the village. Carry on past The Channon Tavern and take the first left onto Koonorigan Road. Continue over the bridge and at the fork in the road keep to the left. You will then move onto Pinchin Road which is a gravel road. The farm entry is the first driveway on the left at 1158 Pinchin Road. There is a sign labelled “Permaculture Research Institute” at the entrance to the driveway.

From Byron Bay

Drive west from Byron to the Pacific Highway entrance and head south. Then follow the directions as above.

From Sydney and the South

Take Pacific Highway north, continuing on past Ballina and Lennox head. Take the exit labelled Bangalow and follow the directions as above from Bangalow.

Public Transportation

Bus to Lismore

Premier Motor Services and Countrylink run daily bus services leaving from Brisbane airport and Brisbane Transit Centre to Lismore.

Byron Easy Bus run daily bus services leaving from Brisbane Domestic and International airports, Roma Street Station, Gold Coast airport and Ballina airport to Lismore. Please phone (02) 66 857 447 or email info (at) byronbus.com to arrange a shuttle bus.

Train to Lismore

Countrylink operates rail and connecting coach services to country regions of New South Wales and some interstate locations. Services vary, dependent on from where you are coming, so please check their website to validate routes and times.

Airport Shuttle Bus to The Channon

Xcede Airport Transfers will run services from all airports within the region.
Ballina Airport – The Channon; Executive Sedan (seats 4) $150 each way
Gold Coast Airport – The Channon; Executive Sedan (seats 4) $320 each way
Please phone (02) 66 544 476 or email info@exede.com.au to arrange a shuttle bus.

Lismore to the Channon

Bus Service

Quinn Bus Service has runs from Lismore to The Channon. It is a School Bus that also transports the public.

M & C Quinn Buses
777 Pinchins Road, Goolmangar, NSW 2480
PH: Mobile – Michael 0427 282138 or Cathy 0428 282137
Email: quinnsbuses@hotmail.com

School Days Service — Monday – Friday

Morning

Afternoon

Tuntable Creek – Rose Road

7:25am

Our Lady Help of Christians

3:15pm

The Channon (Near Tavern)

7:50am

Lismore Public School

3:20pm

Keerrong Road – (Hall)

8:05am

Lismore High School

3:24pm

Blakebrook Public School

8:20am

Lismore Transit Centre

3:30pm

South Lismore Primary School

8:30am

Trinity Collage Interchange

3:38pm

Richmond River High School

8:35am

Richmond River High School

3:48pm

Trinity Public School

8:40am

South Lismore Primary School

3:53pm

Lismore Public School

8:45am

Blakebrook Public School

4:02pm

Lismore High School

8:50am

Keerrong Road – (Hall)

4:30pm

Our Lady Help of Christians

9:00am

The Channon (Near Tavern)

4:45pm

Lismore Transit Centre

9:10am

Tuntable Creek – Rose Road

5:10pm


School Holidays Service, excluding public holidays (School holiday dates):

Morning

Afternoon

The Channon Store/LPO

7:15am

LISMORE – Transit Center

3:30pm

Keerrong Road – (Hall)

7:30am

Nimbin Road – Blackbrook

3:40pm

Nimbin Road – Blackbrook

7:45am

Keerrong Road – (Hall)

3:50pm

LISMORE – Transit Center

7:55am

The Channon Store/LPO

4:05pm


Saturday Service

There is one Saturday service departing from the Lismore Transit Center (Corner of Molesworth Street) to The Channon. It is a mail run, done in a car. Departing Lismore at 5.55 am. This service will take limited passengers if the driver is notified the night before (Michael 0427 282 138 or Cathy 0428 282 137).

Lismore Taxi Service

Operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact Lismore Taxi: (02) 6621 2618, email info@lismoretaxi.com.au or website www.lismoretaxis.com.au. The approximate cost of a taxi from Lismore to The Channon is $75 AUD.

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Institute Policies

The PRI is a registered non-profit organisation, which rents Zaytuna Farm for the purpose of running and teaching permaculture courses. For this reason we ask that all students observe some rules put in place by Zaytuna Farm.

Incoming students should be aware that although Zaytuna Farm is still within its development stage, we consider ourselves a serious educational facility and as such we have a few policies in place. These include:

  • Care of the Earth
  • Care of People
  • We expect that all staff, volunteers, guests and students conduct themselves in a cooperative manner and show respect to others
  • Zaytuna Farm is a DRUG and ALCOHOL free zone
  • We expect everyone to dress modestly. As with most other educational institutions, clothing with foul language or obscene images, tank tops or muscle shirts and mini-skirts are not acceptable
  • Due to Occupational Health and Safety you must wear appropriate protective or safety clothing when required. At no stage are guests, volunteers or students allowed to operate any of the equipment on site unless directed by PRI staff.
  • No pets

On arrival all guests and students are asked to read and sign a Memorandum of Understanding (30kb PDF), which outlines these policies and answers any questions that may come up.

If you need clarification on any of these policies please do not hesitate to ask.