Category: Permaculture

New Single ‘Dad’s Dunny’ out on Valentine’s Day

Here’s something different! Our new song ‘Dad’s Dunny’ dedicated to composting toilets and humanure (‘dunny‘ means toilet to those not familiar with Aussie-slang). It’s out on Bandcamp this Feb 14. In the meantime, check out the heaps-fun music video we made with Karl Wilson while we were in Tassie this summer (made possible by all of our wonderful patrons on Patreon)!


Dad’s Dunny is a brave, yet lighthearted jaunt into the world of backyard composting toilets. In a time where water scarcity is such a huge issue we believe that flushing clean drinking water down the toilet is one of the dumbest things you can do.  Composting our own ‘humanure’ not only offers a solution to the water crisis, but also provides valuable nutrients to our gardens if done safely. Download it for just $1 this Valentines Day – for the love of POO!

Tribute to Bill Mollison (1928-2016) – Father of Permaculture

Bill Mollison, co-founder and ‘father’ of permaculture died peacefully in Tasmania on the 24th of September. A few weeks before he died, his daughter Frances got in touch and said that he’d been listening to Formidable Vegetable Sound System and enjoyed it thoroughly. Since he was a fan of my music in his last weeks, I thought his passing deserved a special tribute. Most of the lyrics are Bill’s own quotes – being, in my opinion one of the most quotable humans to have lived. The title of the song came from a scene in the TV series, Global Gardener, where Bill was talking about the roots of a certain species of tree being able to catch and eat nematodes in the soil, at which point he turned the the camera and said with a grin, “They’ll eat you in the end”.

Share and enjoy.

Love, Charlie.

Smellin’ Like Fish & Chips Winter Tour

From April til July, Charlie is embarking on a mostly-solo mission through every state and territory in Australia on his slightly left-field “Smellin’ Like Fish & Chips” tour.


In a bid to reduce waste as well as his carbon footprint, Charlie has decided to take a year off flying and instead has taken to the road in a specially converted van to smash out the 20,000+ kilometre journey powered on waste vegetable oil (WVO). Preferring to fuel up from the deep friers at fast food joints, pubs and restaurants, rather than diesel bowsers, Charlie set out from Perth to Cairns via Alice Springs and down the east coast in an epic S-bend formation around the country.

Earlier this year, Charlie’s determined resolution not to fly gained him media attention on Channel Ten News, when he hitchhiked a 2000km leg of a tour from Adelaide to Perth in under 24 hours. Crazy Thymes!

Here are the tour dates if you feel like coming along to a show:


The UN plays Formidable Veg for World Soil Day

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Last night we were super excited to find out that on World Soil Day, the United Nations held the world debut of our new track “You Are What You Eat” at the closing ceremony of the 2015 International Year of Soils at the UN FAO headquarters in Rome. The news came with a lovely letter of support for our music and an invitation to collaborate with them on future projects! They’ve since shared our new animated music video on their Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts! Amazing!!


Check out the clip below from the UN FAO conference:

Kids Permaculture Funk-Electroswing Album!

Well, as if life couldn’t get any more exciting, we’ve just embarked on a mission to produce the RADDEST KIDS’ PERMACULTURE ALBUM EVER MADE! Have a gander and lettuce know what you think:


Ever since the beginning of Formidable Vegetable Sound System, we’ve believed that music is by far the funnest way to learn stuff and that’s why we’ve been touring the world for the past three years singing songs about permaculture in the hope of inspiring people to start growing food everywhere and to take better care of the planet!

After having heaps of fun with grown-ups at festivals, we’ve decided that the people who need to hear about this stuff next are KIDS and so we’ve decided to record a brand new bunch of electroswing/funk ukulele tunes geared around getting ideas about growing good food, good vibes and good fun across to children (and still adults too, of course!)

We’ve started up a crowdfunding campaign to help get the ball rolling, so you can preorder a copy of the album before it’s even been made , which would be an incredible help to us!

To find out more about the project, head to our Pozible project page, or check out the little video we made below:

New “Limits” animation for World Environment Day

We’re stoked to present the latest video clip to our song “Limits”, lovingly animated by the talented Oz Thomas for a special launch on World Environment Day (June 5th). Please it share far and wide and don’t forget to “Apply self-regulation and accept Feedback!”

“Limits” – World Environment Day 2015 from Grow Do It on Vimeo.

Far North Queensland Tour May-June

Formidable Vegetable Sound System will be touring beautiful tropical Far North Queensland for the next month and a half. Whether you’re a local, or thinking of heading up to escape the winter, come and check them out at any of these awesome festivals:

May 28 – Radiant Life Festival, Port Douglas
May 29 – Happy Daze Festival, Whitsunday Coast (with Tijuana Cartel, Hugo & Treats and The Mollusk)
May 31 – Eco Fiesta, Cairns
Jun 6 – Eco Expo, Innisfail
Jun 6 – Palm Creek Folk Festival, Townsville (with Mal Webb, Tinpan Orange and Bullhorn)
Jun 13 – Kuranda Roots Festival (with LubDub, Bullhorn and Hugo & Treats)
Jun 27 – Bushweek Festival 2015, Rossville (with Kingfisha, 8 Foot Felix and Essie Thomas)

More details on the Facebook event page.

FNQ Tour Poster

Permaculture Voices 2015 – San Diego

From mycelium and soil to radical community dynamics, PV2 in sunny southern Californ-I.A. was a jam packed extendo-weekend of mindblowing presentations from some of the most innovative and hope-inspiring thinkers and DO-ers in permaculture. We were a part of the celebrations with Charlie busting out solo shows on the opening and closing nights but also were honoured to be given the opportunity to deliver a talk during the conference on the power of music to spread the ideas of permaculture.

Here’s Charlie being interviewed straight afterwards by Cassie from

Other incredibly inspiring speakers included Paul Stamets, Byron Joel, Pandora Thomas, Starhawk, Maddy Harland, Alan Savory and John Liu.

To check out more of what happened, head to


New Track: SOS: Save Our Seeds (feat. Vandana Shiva)

We’re ecstatic to announce that, for the first time in two years, we FINALLY have completed a new track! It’s aim is to celebrate the global Seed Freedom movement and the real food heroes who are growing gardens, saving seed and standing up to biotech giants such as Monsanto, who are doing their best to control the global food supply through genetically modifying and patenting seed.



Featuring a remixed interview we did with global food activist, Vandana Shiva in 2013 at the National Heirloom Expo in Santa Rosa, California and a chant from the 2013 March Against Monsanto in San Francisco, (“Hey, hey! Ho ho! We don’t wan’t your GMO!”), we’re offering up these tasty electro-swing dance-ukulele beets as a free download (or pay what you feel) here so that it might spread around the world as a protest against biopiracy and farmer enslavement.

Thanks to the incredible co-producers who gave this track their artful touch including Shifteq, Fred Wobbler (Lubdub), Jim Moynihan (Spoonbill) and (the aptly named) Bodhi Seed.

Please check it out, share it with your friends, send it out on the airwaves or spin it at your next dance party!

Click here to download SOS: Save Our Seed by Formidable Vegetable Sound System


Watch the original interview on Seed Freedom with Vandana Shiva here:

Vandana Shiva & Charlie Mgee, 2013

Vandana Shiva & Charlie Mgee, 2013

Navdanya – An Indian farm inspiring the World

welcomenavdanyaAfter just a week at Navdanya – Vandana Shiva’s biodiversity conservation farm in Dehradun, northern India, my mind is blown. This place is such haven of peace and tranquility amidst the chaos of India, but it is also buzzing with the enthusiasm of so many active, inspired people from all over the world.


Vandana Shiva and participants in amongst the Ragi (or Finger Millet)

Vandana Shiva and course participants out amongst the Ragi (Finger Millet)

I arrived at the tail-end of their annual A-Z of Agro-Ecology course, where a contingent of about 30 people from over 15 countries had come to learn universally adaptable ways to design resilient food systems. Encompassing everything from permaculture, horticulture and vermiculture to fermentation, preservation and Indian chutney-making, people really were given a deep sense of where their food comes from and how to produce it ethically from farm to table.


Picking Indian Gooseberry (Phyllanthus emblica)

Picking Indian Gooseberry (Phyllanthus emblica) – a medicinal tree

To see this small farm (less than 20 acres) not only growing all kinds of organic, traditional, non-GMO varieties of grain, fruit, vegetables and medicines from all over India, but also planting seeds of empowerment and hope into the minds of such a diverse range of people was a truly inspiring thing.


Indian chutney workshop

Indian chutney workshop

When the course was over, everyone was left with a strong sense that the movement towards organic, ecological, resilient food production is crucial for our survival and wellbeing in the years to come. More importantly, it was agreed that this is only going to happen at many diverse, small-scale, community levels rather than through unsustainable, industrial monoculture farming and that this will ultimately give us a deeper connection and respect for our food and the world around us.


The best way to the heart is through the stomach, but what is put into the stomach should also come from the heart.