Candy and her son Dave brought their experiences from around the world to start up our first organic village café, the lovely NEV coffee cart. It has quickly become the heart of the village where people gather to chat for a meal on the verandah or sitting in the sun.
Candy has run numerous cafés in the past, including one in Manly that involved the whole community. It was a venue for artists, healers, and local festivals. It spawned a film festival and a food co-op, and changed a lot of people’s lives.
After visiting a lot of communities around Australia with her son, Dave, Candy felt a difference when she found Narara Ecovillage. Even though nothing was built here at the time, she felt the sense of community in our meetings.
“I went to members meetings and I really liked it that things actually did get done. I’m a sole trader, and I’m the oldest of ten so I kind of control everything, so being in community like this is new for me. People care more about the whole than the individual. That’s what makes it work.”
At the ecovillage Candy has set up kitchen dinners, where a small group makes dinner for the community. She said it’s a great way of giving back to the people who give so much, so they just come and eat and feel taken care of.
Candy also helped to start the food coop and build the camp kitchen. She loves to initiate projects and break new ground.
With the help of family and friends and a professional building crew, Candy has built a genuine Earthship, one of the first houses in the village. Made of tyres and cobb (earth and clay mix) it uses the earth for temperature regulation, and includes its own greenhouse and grey water treatment in its huge solarium. In winter it has a tropical climate and she is able to grow bananas indoors.
Candy’s vision for the future is to create a café in one of the heritage buildings on site. The café will bring together many of the crafts and activities in the village.
“We’ll use the chairs that Rob makes and pottery by Lynn, we’ll display artwork by our artists. There will be cheese making and fermenting classes in the evening, there’s a food coop next door. Everyone in the village can participate and it’s a circular economy, so money stays in the village. People can sell food they grow, marmalade they make, so all these small industries can happen at the café.”
Candy’s son, Dave, grew up in California and travelling the world with his mum. He has worked in and managed many restaurants and cafes himself.
“I did a lot of things with my mother – traveling, walking across Spain, learning about different things. Like she’d go mushroom hunting, I’d go with her as a kid. I’d do bee farming with her.”
Dave loves being in the ecovillage where he learned to build an earthship from the ground up, make bottle walls and many other hands on skills. He looks forward to learning to drive the bobcat and wants to help other people build their houses. He visited a few other ecovillages with his mum but found they were more like high end tourism where you had to pay for everything. He finds at Narara that it’s a real community with so many projects starting up. He loves the regular campfires, singing, yoga and other activities you can join in with.
“Everyone’s got their own niche, their own difference in this little society here. And I love the plant life and the birds and the animals and the snakes. I learned to do a whole bunch of things and it really excited me to help people with building their houses.”
Dave goes back to America to support his 17 year old daughter who is finishing school. His dream in the future is to have a tiny house at Narara Ecovillage so his daughter could come and be part of it.