Meet the Coast's master of self-sufficiency

LIVING THE COUNTRY DREAM: Elisabeth Fekonia fell in love with country life early on and hasn't looked back.
LIVING THE COUNTRY DREAM: Elisabeth Fekonia fell in love with country life early on and hasn't looked back. Contributed

TWENTY years and a dream is all it took for Elisabeth Fekonia to become self-sufficient.

As a 21-year-old living in the suburbs of Brisbane, she was eager to find her own niche in the world, and shortly after getting married, decided to move out of the city to establish her own food security.

Once there, the Amsterdam-born Ms Fekonia found herself interested in fermented foods, and began a journey of self-guided discovery.

"I just kept learning and feeding these sorts of things into our diets,” she said.

"I learned from books in the library, read more and more to put everything into practice and then refined it more.”

One thing led to another, and soon Ms Fekonia was proficient in making cheese, sourdough, sauerkraut, and wine from surplus fruit.

"There's no end to what you can ferment!” she said.

She grew her own vegetables, raised chickens and now even has two cows with a baby calf on the way.

In an effort to revive these forgotten skills in the public's general knowledge, the self-reliant guru has now been conducting fermenting workshops across the Coast, teaching other residents her tips and tricks of the trade.

"It's really very straightforward and surprisingly easy,” she said.

"I teach everyone the basics, and you don't need to have your own cows or goats or anything.

"It's up to people how far they want to take it, but you can really do a lot for yourself.”

With everyone's minds on Christmas treats and goodies around this time of year, Ms Fekonia said it's a timely reminder that not all Christmas cooking has to be unhealthy.

She'll be breaking out slightly different festive recipes this year, including ones for fermented fruity rum balls, homemade boursin cheese and fermented fizzy orange juice.

Kawana Forest Meeting Place will host a workshop on December 14, 7 - 8.30pm. To book, phone 0428 776 043.

Topics:  christmas cooking farming food food security sustainability

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