The business which has evolved into The Green Life Soil Co. has always been permaculture based. Current owners, Paul and Linda Mitchener bought the business (then known as the Gaia Centre) in 2001. Previously, it had been known as the Permaculture and Environment Centre.
On taking over the business in 2001, it evolved into the Swan Garden Centre. While the range of plants and products carried did increase, the soil supply side of the business also evolved and expanded.
We started off making customised soil mixes for particular needs and specific plants at the customer's request. Over time, this evolved and was refined to the range of soils we now produce, and we decided in early 2008 it was appropriate to change our name to reflect the emerging nature of our business - and thus The Green Life Soil Co. was born!
To our knowledge, we are the only soil supply yard of our kind in Perth, specialising in quality soil mixes made on site. We do not simply 'buy in' mixes and we know exactly what goes into the product we sell. We do not use biowaste or sewage sludge (used extensively in most commercial mixes).
We have worked hard to continually improve our product, and are proud to have achieved Organic Certification on several of our mixes in 2008. We are the first producer of Certified Organic SOIL mixes in Perth. (All fully Certified Organic products carry a certification logo and number. This is your assurance of quality. Don't be misled by false claims by some of our competitors.)
Ongoing research has been a large part of what we do. Since 2008 we have worked with a number of consultant laboratories, soil microbiologists and scientists to continually monitor and improve our soil products to ensure they are nutrient dense, water efficient, and represent excellent value for money - providing the perfect growing media for your garden.
Over the years our efforts have been rewarded. We have been selected as finalists and winners of a wide range of awards for Western Australian businesses (see the webpage footer for award details).
When we bought the business, we did so as a professional 'tree change' - we saw a way to work more closely with nature and to share our passion for growing our own food and living more sustainably. Paul and Linda both hold Permaculture Design Certificates, and have studied horticulture at TAFE. They are passionate organic gardeners (when they get the time!) and dream of self sufficient food production!
We believe growing your own produce has many benefits; physically, nutritionally, environmentally - and even spiritually!
It is our intention to empower likeminded people to successfully begin their own gardens, by offering support, information and quality products to help them along their way. Over the years, we have helped both experienced and novice gardeners in Perth achieve success in providing fresh and healthy vegetables, herbs and fruit for their loved ones. Seeing them grow in confidence and enthusiasm and having them come back to share their experience is always rewarding.
We also enjoy being able to give advice and help gardeners reduce their use of chemicals and have success with organic gardening techniques. We hope you will come and visit us in Midvale and join us in Growing Smarter & Growing Healthier! We know you will embrace the 'Green Life' too!
The team (clockwise from top left) Jacob F, Hamish, Chaz, Jacob E, Paul, Dawson, Linda, Steve, Luke and Jarrod.
The owners of The Green Life Soil Co, these guys started out in 2001 when they were after a tree change to their former lives, both working previously in design. They have one child, a large dog, a cat and chickens. They live in Chidlow where they have a ‘work in progress’ vegie garden, and quite a few fruit trees. There is always much to do - in so little spare time! Their other hobby is Lindy Hop - a form of swing dancing. They’re not very good at it but it’s something that is great exercise, good fun, and a way to get out of the mindset of work 24/7.
Chaz is part of our full time crew, and has had previous experience working on a dairy farm and running a garden maintenance business. She is often the one in the office taking phone calls and ordering stock. Thankfully, she's pretty well organised about it. (She's a bit of a stationery hoarder in the office but it's handy if you really, REALLY need a pen.) A country girl, she has no idea what suburb is where but she is learning. Friendly and patient, she's a great part of the team.
Dawson is Jarrod's little brother; thankfully for the most part they keep their brotherly bickering for outside of work hours (otherwise I just tell their mum). Dawson is very much a 'people person' - watch him or he can talk your leg off. His passion is lacrosse, and has his sights on the State team. Having grown up with his mum propagating vegies & herbs, he has reasonable plant knowledge for someone his age, and is always willing to help customers.
Hamish worked for us as a weekend casual a few years back, then left to pursue other things - including training in IT. However, he realised how much he loved us at GLSC (ha!) and working outdoors, and is now back with us full time as a production assistant. Hamish works with Luke keeping the bagging operation running smoothly, and stocking up our minerals, etc. He has a real knack for machinery, keeping things serviced and clean and greased.
Jacob has been part of our weekend team for a few years; during the week he is an apprentice airconditioning something or other. He's the poor sod who gets to crawl around in your roof space in summer - so I guess coming to work with us on Saturday and dealing with manure is a bit like a holiday. Jacob's dad runs Ready Garden Services & Retic - so Jacob has spent a bit of time helping dad with retic issues. His parents are both keen gardeners. Friendly and outgoing, Jacob is always happy to help.
Jacob F is one of our full time crew and is usually found in the office helping our customers, our outside helping our plants. His greenthumb keeps our greenstock looking good, and our Vegepods booming. He loves taking cuttings, experimenting with strike rates and germination, and playing with soil concoctions in pots to make sure they're not as good as Green Life's (and they're not!). Jacob holds a Permaculture Design Certificate, has an interest in growing bush foods & growing beards (and sports a fine specimen).
Jarrod is one of our weekend casual team. He is something of a bookworm. Recently awarded Dux of his school, he aims to study veterinary science at Uni. Jarrod's mum is Leesa (from The Greenhouse Organic) so he has grown up around herbs & seedlings, and helping out at markets, etc. (While he may not have a heap of plant knowledge; mum is only ever a phone call away.) Jarrod is a quietly confident young man, and customers like him.
Jon H is our mild mannered online delivery driver. He is friendly and easy going - at least when working for us. His real passion is fishing, and I don’t believe the fish would find him friendly OR easy going - (just saying). He spends quite a bit of time in Mandurah on weekends pursuing this hobby, and replacing fishing gear. He also has some good shark stories.
Luke is our resident Kiwi (isn't there always one?) and moved to Australia with his family a couple of years ago. Back in NZ, Luke studied horticulture. Despite his young age, Luke is quite a keen gardener. His role at GLSC is in production; he's the main guy in charge of running the bagging machine and keeping us stocked with our lovely bags of soil. He also mixes our soils & loads the truck for bulk deliveries. He has a quiet nature, and doesn't care much for AFL.
Steve started with us as a weekend casual while at high school; then progressed to full time. However, in 2016 he has begun to pursue his passion of fitness training; returning to study and working at GLSC part time. He is now a fully qualified personal trainer, and holds the State boxing title in his weight division. He eats ridiculously healthy lunches and in the years he has been with us, it has been a pleasure to see him mature and grow into a capable young man. Make him carry the heavy bags - he loves it.
Strickly speaking, Tommy isn't an employee - he is a self employed contractor and owns the trucks that deliver your bulk loads of soil. But he's an integral part of our operation. Reliable and efficient, we don't know where we would be without him. He's had a career in the transport industry in a range of roles; but now he's pretty much our 'delivery guy'. We <3 Tommy!