Bellbunya is Alive and Well
“Just before Covid struck, Bellbunya was at a crossroads…only one person staying on site; neither activities nor guests; suffering from financial straits; in the midst of drought with no irrigation; gardens on the verge of extinction. Bellbunya as a concept – a farm experimenting with and teaching organic regenerative agriculture and forestry, an educational centre, a place for retreats and programs of spiritual growth and connection, a group of people striving to work together with compassion and increasing insight… appeared to be over. Bellbunya was about to be listed with a real estate agency for private sale.
The dream seemed finished.
A group of us discovered it at the last minute and scrambled to save Bellbunya. We leapt in blind – no lawyers, no due diligence, no building reports, no financials. We believed in the dream of Bellbunya as the vision of the Association for Sustainable Communities. And thus we acted.
The Association for Sustainable Communities aims high, with goals to learn and teach a sustainable lifestyle, to replenish the planet whilst feeding ourselves and others healthy nutritious food, to dive into our Souls and constantly improve our connection with Spirit and each other. Bellbunya is the place where much of this is practiced.
We have had a remarkable past three years. The gardens were saved and have grown considerably. An extensive Syntropic food forest is on the verge of maturing into a veritable Eden of organic fruit and vegetable pulsing with vitality. We have extended the “traditional” organic gardens too, with irrigation infrastructure constantly being improved. A solar pump was installed at our huge on-site dam, which previously was inaccessible for irrigation. This fresh water is now pumped up by the sun to a new header tank.
The regenerated forest includes many native fruits and nuts, and this has been furthered with clearing of Lantana and invasive weeds and planting of seedlings. Considering that decades ago Bellbunya was a barren dairy farm, and now is an almost mature extensive forest, full of myriad birds and other wildlife, it is indeed an amazing accomplishment. One has only to listen to the alluring bird symphony to be transported into mystical realms and feel a deep gratitude. The natural Nirvana of gardens, forest, fruit and vegetables – serenely placed atop a hill surrounded by valleys and distant hills – is so very very beautiful.
Bellbunya is simply a magical place.
The most rewarding component is the people. Even through Covid we have had all manner of interesting guests; but especially since we’ve opened up again, many more have visited. People with worldwide experience, having visited organic farms and communities in many nations, bring their insight and perspective to share and learn. It is so enriching, for all of us.
We’ve hosted so many amazing events, with a huge panoply of smiling faces joining us in wonder and gratitude. Spiritual art retreats. Kirtans. Meditation circles. Yoga weekends. Permaculture design courses. Women’s and men’s circles. Wildcrafting. Musical events. Just a small list. The vibe of these events is transporting. People come with an open heart, enquiring mind, searching Spirit, and are so touched by the natural beauty, peaceful surroundings and interesting, friendly folk, that we each reciprocate loving vibrations and the place is abuzz with soaring Spirit and harmonious melody. To my mind, this is Bellbunya at its best.
And of course the most crucial. Our regular members, without whom nothing happens. Such a rich array of personalities, so much knowledge and love and commitment. What is so remarkable to me is that such a group of strong minded and experienced people, having had many years of life experience – careers, families, health challenges, personal dramas – can come together, without knowing each other at all and still exist together in peace and harmony. With a unified commitment. With love and understanding.
Sure there are challenges. Occasional disputes and tensions. Yet it is very much a part of our motivation to use these frictions as a point of examination. It’s when the skin is rubbed raw that our internal workings are exposed. It’s here where our triggers, our fears, our hidden dreams, our desires and downfalls can really come to the fore. So when these tensions are examined honestly, when we are supported to expose our vulnerabilities and pains, that is when the real growth and gratitude occurs. And doing it in a supportive environment just makes the work so much more healing and the connections stronger and more real.
What an honour and delight to be along for the ride. Thank you Bellbunya.”
Rick Abrams (2023)
ASC Board Member & Representative on the Register of Environmental Organisations
Skills: Removalist, Lawyer, Journalist, Activist in Social Justice Issues