Who We Are

Who Are We?
The ” Ecological Research Group” was founded by Max and Trudi Lindegger in 2008 as an international group interested in spreading news on Ecovillages and related subjects.

Our Committee: Bal Kumar Aryal (Nepal),  Boniface Gomes(Bangladesh) , Penelope Reyes Velasco (Philippines), MichiyoFuruhashi(Japan) Hugh Collett (Indonesia) Nhov Narn (Cambodia)  and Dr Vinya Ariyaratne (Sri Lanka).

Our Aims:
A Network for the sharing of design and technical expertise to create Ecovillage living and working environments in Urban, Suburban and Rural areas where people can live together sustainably with dignity in harmony and with nature.”

More Info…

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Bees & Honey Production

Here’s a Slideshow of the Bees & Honey Production

See the Article here


Crystal Waters Raw Honey


Crystal Waters Raw Honey   Download a PDF of this Report here

About us: Crystal Waters Raw Honey is produced by Trudi and Max Lindegger (with the occasional help of family, friends and WWOOFers). We have kept bees since about 1976. We started off with one hive and have only expanded in recent years to keep up with demand. We keep up to 20 hives and also maintain a fairly large vegetable garden, some chickens, an orchard of Pecan Nuts and Kaffir Lime and a small herd of Lowline Angus cattle.

Our products:


We have honey for sale most of the time. We generally sell in glass jars.

  • 1kg costs $ 10.00
  • 500g costs $ 6.00
  • 350g plastic jars by request only
  • We often have bulk honey (in your container) available for $ 7.00 per kg

In each case we pay $ 1.00 for our jars returned in a clean condition (no need to remove the labels)


Beeswax & Beeswax candles:

We render the cappings via a solar process and send them for cleaning and pressing into sheets. We make 100% pure beeswax candles from these sheets.

  • Small candles – $ 5.00 per pair
  • Large candles – $ 9.00 per pair
  • Please enquire about costs for larger quantities
  • Wax blocks: pre-cleaned 100% beeswax by request


Beekeeping workshops for beginners:

Please let us know if you are interested in such one day workshops and we will let you know when we hold the next one.



We live at Crystal Waters which is about 1 & 1/2 hrs (by car) form Brisbane in the state of Queensland, Australia. Our hives are kept right next to our home. This is a truly subtropical climate with summer rain and a couple of fairly humid months. Winters are generally dry and mild. You can find out much more about Crystal Waters here: http://crystalwaters.org.au/


Our Bees and Honey

We never move our bees. We don’t use any chemicals in the keeping of our bees or during the extraction process. Our honey is not heated and not blended. Each batch is separately labelled and reflects the flora of the time of the year when it is harvested. We screen the honey through a mesh which will take out the “bees knees” but not the pollen. We bottle into glass jars and we offer a refund for returned bottles. (We will provide honey in plastic containers by special request only) Our honey is sold at local markets and some selected local stores.


Why not blend the honey?

The flora our bees gather the nectar from is quite diverse: Eucalyptus, Waterhousia, orchard trees and ground flora. The mix will vary from season to season and each time it will be a new discovery.  We find each flavour exiting and would not want to destroy this uniqueness by mixing batches. We hope you also appreciate the subtle differences.


Our site: We keep some of our hives in our chicken yard (we believe it helps with the Small Hive Beetle (SHB) and we don’t have to mow the grass.

Some of our hive boxes need a bit of fresh paint. We purchased a good number of second-hand boxes and are steadily restoring these.


Our bee house:

This where the action is! We store our bee gear here, fix and make up the wooden ware (Boxes, frames, lids, bottoms…), paint, and also extract and bottle the honey. It has been purpose built by Graeme Harpley. It is a hardwood framed structure with a Colourbond roof and hardwood shingle and corrugated iron walls (both second hand).


The concrete floor was polished a sealed by our neighbour Christopher Bradley and it is easy to keep clean.

The high windows allow sufficient light to see what we are doing and act as a bee escape as well.


From the hive to you: Harvesting honey is not complex. Here you see the steps from the hive to you!


If the bees have filled a frame and capped the honey we know that this precious food is ready to harvest.


Here we brush the bees of the frame. By doing the job gently we try not to harm any bees and avoid taking the little creatures back into the bee house.


We need to remove the wax capping to allow the honey to flow freely. We use a warm knife to do this.


We use a motorised extractor which throws the honey to the side of the container via centrifugal force


We let the honey flow through three screens to remove any dead bees and wax


Here you see the bottling line hard at work


Our label will tell you the date of harvest, the name of the batch and the weight of the honey


Ready for sale!


BeeKeeping basics;

This is not meant to be an introduction to beekeeping but simply a collection of basic info about bees and honey you may find interesting.

Bee pests

Australia is very lucky not to have the Varroa. Many experts believe that it simply a matter of time before we too will be hit by this pest.


In 2002 the Small Hive Beetle (SHB) arrived in Australia. The beetle affects our hives. We use a number of traps to keep the beetle numbers as low as possible. The traps are filled with Diatomatious earth – a natural product. In most years we do loose some hives. For more information about the SHB have a look here: http://www.dpi.qld.gov.au/4790_18157.htm


Bees and Pollination

We like our honey but the most important function of bees is pollination. Without adequate pollination Almonds, Apples, Pears, Strawberries and many other plants would be much more difficult to grow. Due to the SHB a lot of feral hives have died. Our agricultural enterprises are more and more dependent on bees to grow a successful crop.

All about honey

Most raw honey will eventually crystallize. It is a natural process. The process is speeded up if you keep honey in a cool (about 15 C) place. Should you wish to reverse the process simply place the jar in water about 40C temp.

  • Cakes and bread baked with honey generally keep longer and will have a more moist texture.
  • It is best to keep honey in a dry place – away from ants!
  • Honey will keep indefinitely. It is the only food item without a use by date.


Confectionery News 12/05

New research from the US suggests that naturally occurring honey may ease coughs and respiratory illnesses in children more effectively than over the counter medicines. While honey has been used for thousands of years to treat wounds and ailments, scientists have only recently begun to explain the precise effects of the natural sweetener’s antiseptic and antibacterial qualities on human health.

During the trial, scientists from the Penn State College of Medicine researchers asked parents to give either honey, honey flavoured dextromethorphan (DM), or no treatment to 105 children, between the ages of 2 and 18 children, all suffering from nocturnal coughs. The parents were asked to report on cough frequency and severity, how bothersome the cough was, and how well both adult and child slept, both 24 hours before and during the night of the dosage.

Based on parental “symptom points”, children treated with honey improved by an average of 10.71 points compared with 8.39 points for DM-treated children and 6.41 points for those who were not treated.

Several scientific reports linking honey to health have been published in the last few years, including research suggesting that taking honey in combination with calcium supplements could help boost bone strength.

Furthermore, Spanish scientists said in February that bees that feed on honeydew produce honey with double the amount of antioxidants.

Research such as this has helped boost honey consumption around the world, with sales increasing 14 per cent between 2004 and 2006, according to market analysts Mintel.

In international terms China is currently by far the largest honey-producing nation in the world, with around a 40 per cent slice of the market, while the next biggest producers are the US, Argentina and Ukraine.

According to the American Honey Producers Association, China and Argentina have been adversely affecting America’s domestic honey industry with cheap imports, although there is a counter argument that both China and Argentina have been helping to counterbalance falling production in the US.

Editor’s note: Certified organic honey is often reported to be tastier and have greater health benefits, in meeting strict guidelines in terms of sources of bees, foraging areas, internal feeding, health care, extraction, storage and others.

The Australian Organic Standard 2006 (BFA) includes requirements such as apiary locations must ”not be located within a 5 km radius of pollution sources which may cause contamination of honey by returning foraging bees”. Also, pasteurisation is prohibited and certified honey heated to over 45 degrees Celsius cannot be “labeled “raw” or “pure” honey due to heat denaturing of enzymes.”

Max Lindegger

Download a PDF of this Report here



Managing Small Hive Beetle

Max Lindegger on “Managing Small Hive Beetle”

The small hive beetle (SHB) was detected in Australia in October 2002. It is not known how it entered the country, but it may have been present for over a year before being identified. It has been found in bee hives over a large area in New South Wales and movement of infested hives has spread it to Queensland. (1)

While initially it was considered possible to eradicate the pest the focus has changed to management. We still hope that some magic cure will eventually be found.

Information from Beekeepers around the Sunshine Coast Indicates that coastal Beekeepers are possibly worst affected. With a number of Beekeepers telling me an increasing number of ‘ slime-outs” (loss of a hive) increasing.

A recent survey has shown that small Beekeepers had suffered quite extreme losses on average losing nearly 50% of hives. This is a serious situation and has made it more difficult for all of us to keep bees.

I have read the literature and spoken to professional Beekeepers and many hobbyists. There is no simple answer and not one solution. As one apiarist told me ” Ten years ago you could leave a hive for months and everything would be Ok, now you have to keep on your toes all the time”.

Numerous traps are being advertised and in the US some chemicals are also available ” Checkmite” as well as ” GardStar”  are advertised in the ” Dadant” catalogue). In Australia ( as far as I’m aware) no chemicals have been approved for in hive treatment of the pest

A beekeeper sent me some concoction ( most likely containing some chemical) which was suggested as being very successful if used as an attractant in the AJ Beetle trap ( an Australian invention). I decided to do a comparison of a number of treatments to help me make a decision how I may best manage the beetles.

I have total of 12 hives. These are arranged in 3 rows each with 4 hives. The Northern row is in the open ( pretty well full sun) and the middle and southern rows are in a semi shaded environment and surrounded by chickens (which I hoped would interrupt the life cycle of the beetles)

In each row I put a mix of the magic compound and Diatomaceous earth into a AJ trap ( 2) in hives 1 and 4.

Hive 2 in each row received only the compound in a AJ trap.  Hive 3 in each row was set-up with only Diatomaceous earth in a AJ trap

The experiment was set-up on the 17th  Jan 2010 .

The first count of the number of beetles killed in each trap was made on the 24. Jan. The second count was made on the 3rd  Feb. I was away overseas from the 11th Feb to the 10th March and we experienced a lot of wet weather which made it impossible to check the traps until the 19th March. Knowing that I would be absent for an extended period I placed two AJ traps into each hive on the 3rd Feb and the count on the 19th March is for the two traps.

It is worth to note that at each inspections some beetles where observed but at no time did I feel like there where an unusually large number of beetles present and the hives looked healthy and active.



The indication is that the traps with a mix of the magic compound and the Diatomaceous earth performed best ( highest numbers trapped in 9 out of 10 cases)

The lowest number of beetles killed was in traps using the Magic compound only in 5 out of 9 cases and in traps with Diatomaceous earth and the mix twice each .

The Magic Compound on it’s own performed poorly for the last sampling and I assume that the ” active ingredient” lost it’s power after a few weeks. Indeed the liquid had dried up in all traps.


I doubt that the Magic Compound will be available again. It seems mostly effective if the traps can be checked very regularly. The diatomaceous earth is available (3), cheap, safe and seems to work very well.

I will need to empty and maintain my AJ traps probably at least monthly ( I keep two sets which make switching traps a quick job) – more often in hives which produce a large amount of propolis and glue -up the traps)

Having hives in the poultry yard seems to have a positive effect. Full exposure to the sun did not seem to reduce beetle numbers

Please note: This a field experiment done with minimal equipment. The outcome should be seen as an indication only.


EcoVillage Research Group

NEWS Release Alert:  The Australian based ‘EcoVillage Research Group’; led by Max Lindegger have launched a new Information Service for all those interested in EcoVillage living, Permaculture and sustainability in current times.

Being one of the early proponents of Permaculture and EcoVillage living, Max has over 25 years experience in education and consultancy in Permaculture and EcoVillage design.

EcoVillage Research Group was founded to provide up-to-date and timely information for people seeking better solutions in a time when many are meeting significant challenges to their way of life. Max and his wife Trudi also have the advantage of the experience of 20 years living within Crystal Waters; an established EcoVillage designed along Permaculture principles. They try to understand what works and what doesn’t, passing on experiences and anecdotes to help people achieve sustainability in living, reduce impact on the environment, lower Carbon footprint and create a more balanced lifestyle.

The EcoVillage Research Group are pulling together practical Authors and Contributors from around the world to provide readers with a regular Newsletter on a whole gamut of interesting and practical information.

Subscribe FREE to EcoVillage Musings

You have a unique opportunity to Subscribe to this Newsletter Online for Free by simply providing your Name and email in the form on this page to your right. Then you will be directed to a page where you can access the Current Newsletter.

Stay tuned for the latest EcoVillage, Permaculture and Sustainable Living ideas and tips by Subscribing Now. Please feel free to tell your friends where they can also get this Free Publication direct to their Inbox.

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Nepal School fundraising

From: <http://www.sarvodayausa.org>

Dear EcoLogical Solutions Office,

In late August, I accompanied a group of high school students in Kathmandu to a shramadana (gift of labor) program that Sarvodaya Nepal had organized. The students travelled to a small rural community with the paints and brushes and painted a village school. In the process, not only did they give, they also received, learnt and grew. Brahma Jung Pandey, a student on the team summed the experience, “there has been a candle lit inside us, that will keep burning.”

I compiled a video of the day.

click here to watch the video: Color of Compassion <http://cts.vresp.com/c/?SarvodayaUSA/d7b9944dda/cda35a997c/6baac6e7ba/v=jWe77y9v1WE>

*Here’s your chance to make $50,000 difference*

Year after year, only a handful of students passed secondary school from the public school in Chapagaun, a community near Kathmandu, Nepal. That was in mid 1990s. Tired of the low quality of education, a group of young people in the decided to seek a solution. They knew private schools are really good alternative but realized that not all in the village could afford to pay the private school’s tuition.
Donate now. Help us win $50,000 <https://www.causes.com/fb/donations/new?ts=1257211846&cause_id=368553&recruiter_id=2556265>

*Innovative Solution*
A middle path emerged. A community run co-operative school. Jyotidaya Community Co-operative, in Chapagaun, is the only publicly managed co-operative school in Nepal.

*Its promise: affordable quality education.* Run largely on volunteer efforts for many years, currently 300 children study at the school. 1 in 8 children study for free. The tuition fee is 40% lower than comparable private school. And, 100% of students who have taken passed secondary school education, mostly in the first division. About 22 young people in the community find employment opportunity in their own village. This locally inspired Jyotidaya offers an alternative solution to ailing public schools in Nepal.

*Your $10 could help us win $50,000*
So here’s how this works. An organization that attract most unique donors using online tools for non-profit causes will be awarded $50,000. That’s the “America’s Giving Challenge.” <http://www.causes.org/school>

With your support, we can help Sarvodaya USA win the challenge and $50,000 and build a school in Nepal.
Learn more at: http://www.causes.org/school

Donate Now! Build a School <http://cts.vresp.com/c/?SarvodayaUSA/d7b9944dda/cda35a997c/b3fda48d49/ts=1257211846&cause_id=368553&recruiter_id=2556265>

*Image <http://cts.vresp.com/c/?SarvodayaUSA/d7b9944dda/cda35a997c/b3fda48d49/ts=1257211846&cause_id=368553&recruiter_id=2556265>*

Thank you for your support.
Shisir Khanal
P.S.: America’s Giving Challenge ends on Nov 6, 2009. Donate now. Help us build a school. <https://www.causes.com/fb/donations/new?ts=1257211846&cause_id=368553&recruiter_id=2556265>


Asia Report Nov. ’09

GENOA Inc is moving forward.

Max Lindegger:

I have just returned from GENOA’s Annual General Meeting which was held in the Philippines, a few hours outside Manila, at Center for Ecozoic Living and learning (C.E.L.L.)   We met at the same place last year.

There will be a number of articles and photos in the next edition of “Ecovillage Musings” but I would like to use this opportunity to give a little summary.

Manila was very different this time – the Typhoons which have devastated large areas of the Philippines and resulted in the loss of many lives only happened days before. The bigger streets of Manila had been cleaned up but some of the low laying areas are still under water (early November).  Manila Bay is a mess and obviously is not a high priority.

But the meeting was an event with many positives.

Penelope’s own Ecovillage in the Philippines is just starting construction. The buildings will look very much like the buildings at CELL (pictured below) and will be constructed mostly from Bamboo.

Michiyo (pictured below) gave a great presentation about her village in Japan – Kohohana Family. It is very impressive what they are doing and we all could learn from their commitment and their food production is simply amazing.

We also heard about the aftermath of the floods in Bangladesh (by Boniface Gomes) and members would have received a report by him.

Wongsanit Ashram will be holding celebrations towards the end of this year and Sunisa (pictured here)

pointed out that it will have a strong focus in Youth.

For the first time we had a representative from China, Ana (below) who was born in Mexico, but it was beneficial to have an up-date.

Nharn (pictured below) and Savoein from Cambodia gave us the latest information about the projects in the North East of the Country. You had a chance to read a lot about there activities in a recent “Ecovillage Musings”.

Nandana and BK Aryal whom we have known for many years and it is always satisfying to hear of the steady progress they are making in their respective Countries (Sri Lanka and Nepal).

The Ecovillage movement in Asia is definitely growing at a steady pace. In our part of the world more emphasis needs to be devoted to what we may call ” retrofits” – villages which are looking for a better lifestyle without making a turn away from traditions.

Many parts of Asia have been tested by weather extremes, the economic downturn the never ending pressure of growing populations.

It is a privilege to share a few days with such committed people.

Max Lindegger

Nov 2009


Our aim and the many facets of sustainability

With the pressures of  the global economic downturn, global warming and the need to reduce our carbon footprint, it is possible for individuals at a grass roots level to adopt simple strategies that will make a difference.

Ecovillage Musings is a monthly newsletter filled with informative and practical stories to help you achieve that difference. Whether you reside in suburbia with limited space or the rural countryside, we hope that you find these interesting and practical stories featuring tips and tricks to lessen our impacts on the environment helpful to achieve a more satisfying and rewarding lifestyle.