Here's my story.

Writing has taken me on a wild ride over the past decade and a half.

It all began in 2005, as a cadet journalist interviewing grape growers in muddy Barossa Valley vineyards (naturally, I remain rather partial to shiraz).

From there, I wrote my way across Queensland for a daily metro newspaper. After a small move to the opposite side of the world, I went freelance and took up the pen in Spain, and across Europe.

As I branched into communications and returned home to South Australia (I now head up marketing for Milkwood, write a monthly gardening column for ABC Everyday, and consult for numerous ace businesses), I discovered a particular passion for social enterprises, sustainable lifestyles and people choosing the road less travelled. 

That’s the glue that sticks my whole story together, I reckon.

1% for the planet

I believe in giving back to environmental non-profits.

So I donate at least 1% of my income and 1% of my working hours to charities working to protect the future of our planet.

Right now, that means: donating monthly to Firesticks Alliance, Groundswell, Conservation Council SA and Permaculture Australia’s Permafund. And volunteering as Communications Advisor for several small local food enterprises.

Over the years, I’ve honed a bunch of useful skills.

I’m particularly good at:

  • Creating results-driven marketing strategies that anyone can follow, taking the guesswork out of your communications and social media.

  • Designing slick digital templates, including newsletters, eDM journeys and mailing list opt-ins, especially on Mailchimp and Active Campaign.

  • Overhauling outdated, half-finished or otherwise craptastic websites into something that actually works. (I’m best with WordPress and Squarespace.)

  • Using Google Analytics to give full visibility on what’s driving sales and donations – and offering strategies to fix what’s not working.

You can count on me to:

  • Be professional. I’ve worked in communications for 16 years, so I fully understand the process.

  • File clean copy. I turn in crisp stories free of grammar and spelling errors. I probably have my Journalism and Literature degrees to thank for that.

  • Be punctual. I don’t miss deadlines.

  • Be versatile. I can write to almost any style and tone. Except for sports stuff. I don’t know anything about sport and don’t care to learn, thanks.

Before freelancing, I was a political reporter.

Koren Helbig interviewing former Queensland deputy premier Andrew Fraser

Interviewing former Queensland deputy premier Andrew Fraser aboard the government jet.

In my last salaried gig before going freelance, I wrote politics for Brisbane’s daily newspaper, The Courier-Mail.

I reported from Queensland Parliament and all corners of that vast 1.7 million square kilometre state. I experienced the frenetic pace of an election campaign.

I learned to type like the wind on my iPhone to file breaking news fast but correct for online, to delve deeper and push issues forward for the newspaper and to cultivate contacts until I unearthed exclusive stories.

I covered everything from hospital crises and government system meltdowns to unprecedented natural disasters and landmark Aboriginal land title claims.

It was fast-paced fun.

While at The Courier-Mail I was twice named a finalist in the Queensland Clarion awards for journalism excellence and won the Yooralla Media Award for disability coverage two years in a row.

Then I moved to Spain, almost on a whim.

Koren and Toby during Hogueras.

With my friend Toby, dressed in traditional outfits for Alicante’s famed ‘Hogueras de San Juan’ festival.

In 2012, after spending a mere five days in Spain, I decided on a move. I knew barely a scrap of Spanish beyond hola, yet my mind was set. I would soon call that boisterous, disorganised, vivacious country home.

When I arrived in the summer of 2013, I didn’t know a soul and still had precious little Spanish under my belt. But I could write.

During four years living in the little Mediterranean seaside city of Alicante, I honed my eye for the weird and wonderful. For example, I wrote about a Catalan man who deliberately turned himself into a walking cyborg, and Catwoman being crowned Madrid mayor. Yep, really.

I became a regular contributor to a range of publications including frankie magazine, Smith Journal, Peppermint Magazine, The Guardian and SALife.

I also picked up a bunch of highly awesome non-profit and business clients, and coached aspiring writers on exactly how to get started as a successful freelancer.

And I eventually learnt Spanish, of course.

Now? I’m back home and deeply into permaculture.

Koren Helbig and Carmelo Scavone with Esty the chicken

In the backyard of our Adelaide home, with my partner Carmelo and Esty the chicken.

After almost five years in Spain, I finally moved back home, settling in a quiet suburb within South Australia’s capital city, Adelaide.

In 2017, I completed my Permaculture Design Certificate with The Food Forest – and gently (perhaps unwittingly) set my life on a new path.

I spent the next three years working to save vulnerable animals with RSPCA South Australia, leading the charity’s communications and fundraising arm.

But in my spare time, my mind was stretching and growing into a whole new space, as I began to learn the beautiful art of growing food organically, while embracing a more sustainable lifestyle at every turn.

In mid-2020, the planets aligned and I scored my dream job with Milkwood, a permaculture social enterprise teaching skills for living more ethically and sustainably. I now head up marketing nationally for these fabulous folk three days a week, write a monthly gardening column for ABC Everday, and offer my services as a marketing consultant one day a week.

(Yes, I choose to work part-time and yes, it’s great.)

My life now revolves around sustainability, waste-free living and local food – and working with people and businesses making positive change for our mighty planet.