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Jan 212013
Susan McKinnon

Susan McKinnon of Carindale

A Carindale resident is achieving great things both in her garden and in app development with positive implications for the environment, health, food security and children’s education.

Susan McKinnon, a teacher at Seven Hills State School, and finalist in the Acer Team Unlimited competition, wants everyone to become a gardener for a better future. See how you can vote for Susan, the only Queensland finalist, via the link at the bottom of this article.

Susan even moved to Seven Hills State School so she could work with Food Connect’s Adopt-a-Farmer program there to teach the next generation of gardeners. The school featured on ABC Gardening Australia in September 2012.

She’s been using these school holidays to develop a smartphone App for children. The game for 6-12 year-olds will be available to play on mobile devices to encourage the growing, cooking and enjoyment of your own backyard food.

Last year Susan ripped up her turf and started putting in place a permaculture design and five garden beds to transform her backyard.


Melon grown by Susan

“There is great satisfaction in growing things on purpose in the backyard, but when you find them hidden under the sweet potato vines as a ‘volunteer’ plant, it’s sensational,” Susan says.

Susan’s dream is to inspire others into action to sequester carbon.

“Showing in an App how we can shop wisely, learn to make compost, feed worm farms and help mobilise the energy and desire of many farmers around Australia and the world who want to farm biologically to build humus back into our soils,” Susan says.

“Humus brought back to soils means they hold much more moisture so they won’t be blown or washed into the sea killing the oceans. Humus governs crop health and means less chemicals are required to grow and protect the plants from pests and disease,” she explains.

A bonus from going in this direction, she says, is that we could all be eating nutrient-dense, medicinal food with forgotten flavours and extended shelf-life.

Susan says she wants the App to teach kids about biological growing, permaculture and organic growing to help stop climate change and ensure “delicious food security”.

“With the ‘irukandji’ jellyfish at Fraser Island, heat waves and new measures on the Bureau of Meteorology maps, I don’t want Climate Change to give Brisbane the permanent weather and temperatures of Rockhampton within 15 years”.

Susan, who group up gardening, has also completed a Permaculture Design Course at Northey Streey City Farm as well as subjects in Horticulture at TAFE and Nutri-tech Solutions.

Supporting Susan

So what can we, Susan’s local community, do to support her leadership and educational efforts?

Susan is one of five finalists in the Acer Team Unlimited competition which will award $25,000 to the winner to fulfill their ‘dream’. A win for Susan would also likely mean the prize money being spent in Brisbane as she is the only Queensland finalist.

If she wins, Susan will be able to pay a professional animator/App developer (for games for tablets and phones) to get the project online sooner as well as support children’s gardening programs.

“Winning means getting the App out there to help people start their own gardens and help them stop climate change for a sustainable future sooner,” Susan says.

At the time of publishing this article, Susan’s project is in third place.

You can follow her progress at

If you LIKE this Facebook page Susan will get a point towards the competition.
If you leave her a COMMENT and LIKE a post on her Facebook page, she get 2 points.

If you SHARE a link or RETWEET on Twitter, the project gets 10 points for each action (especially if you SHARE & LIKE from this website )

There is also an incentive for voters in being able to get a $100 voucher that increases in value the more you vote.

You can also follow Susan on Twitter @susan_acer_tu (for the competition) and @violetmumble (her usual Twitter account)

The winner of Acer Team Unlimited will be announced on the 11th of February 2013.

Watch this video message from Susan below. You can also record your support in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Gen is the Founder of Carindale Connect (started in 2007). She has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Queensland University of Technology and an internship from ABC Online. She's involved in a number of web projects, was the Website Manager for Chamber of Commerce and Industry QLD and the Editor of Wotnews (Australian news aggregator and search engine start-up). She also spent some time as a volunteer Community Correspondent for 612 ABC Brisbane. Born in Hobart, Tasmania, Gen now lives in Carindale. She loves her bicycle (but doesn't do lycra), the environment and art.
Genevieve Robey

  2 Responses to “Carindale resident a finalist for her educational App”

  1. A great project Susan & Acer are to be applauded for this.

  2. Love the video Susan. Sounds like a great idea.

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