For one week only we are offering special rates with our hybrid learning systems. Permaculture Sydney are soon having a winter Permaculture Design Course offering a unique hands-on permaculture learning experience. This one-off sale gives you choice as well as a great discount.
Refresherrates for people who want to refresh their permaculture design course training. You need to show your old certificate at time of registration. Get a whopping 33% off when you enroll as a refresher student. Get a new perspective and become a leader with some of the hands-on activities and enjoy contributing your experience and former knowledge to this dynamic group.
NEW Pay-As-You-Go Option
Perhaps you can only get a few days off work? Perhaps you can’t afford to do the full course? Here is a brilliant way to get your PDC started. You can join us for a day, a few days or the first week. We offer you the opportunity to finish your course later in a hands-on course or online with PermacultureVisions. We will give you advanced standing and credit towards the next course. This enables you to continue the course at your own pace within 2 years.
This special rate allows you to participate for just $180 per day. This amazing rate includes morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea. You can decide how many days you can spend on the course and we give you standing and credit on the next course.
Here’s Mr Bean’s take on the cold – to get the ideas started.
The best energy principle for Cozy Living: When air moves, it cools down.
How Energy Works For Us:
Air transfers its energy to whatever to hits. When air hits the window, it transfers its warmth to the glass and the glass then transfers energy to outside when the outside is cooler. Energy (via Entropy) likes to go from hot to cold, from order to disorder, from a heat source to the wider universe. If want to stop sending energy to the universe, slow the airflow down by having smaller living spaces (you can use curtains to section off smaller areas in a large open-plan home).
The sun provides a lot of natural light and warmth. With double glazing, this warmth can be trapped. It is the still air between the two sets of glass panes that provides the insulating layer in double glazing. The insulation is not from the panes. So, if you want to let natural light through but don’t want the heat to escape than any two layers of material ie. recycled bubble-wrap, perspex, fabric will work. A simple white curtain will trap the air between the windowpane and the room and continue to provide light. If you are serious about stopping heat loss at night, you can use a heavy blind or comforter and make sure the edges around the window are well covered. Have a cover over the top to stop warm air rising. A pelmet can be made out of wood, covered cardboard or an extra length of material draped over the curtain tops. Avoid Styrofoam as it kills many animals and never decays. Styrofoam rises from the dead to kill again.
Check the sun’s path for your location. The sun-less windows and walls of your home can be a cold sink where all the heat is zapped. Not much morning sun comes in on the west so there is little or no point in keeping these windows open for natural light unless they are your only morning light source. These are the windows that warrant the most insulation at night.
People generate a surprising amount of heat. Imagine if we were able to contain this heat and not let it continue to slip out into the universe. Can you modify some of your routine so you get to bed early where it is snug and warm? How can you optimise your access to natural light and warmth?
Gravity can also work for you. The beauty of heavy curtains is that they are self-closing using gravity. You don’t have to constantly ask for people to close the door. And curtains can be easily opened to release excess heat into other rooms of the house. Curtains made out of recycled woolen blankets can be fire-retardant and can be cleaned.
Insulation stops heat transfer. There are several ways to insulate the home and wood is one of the best insulators and also offers thermal stability. Wood has high R rating and great thermal stability. If the walls are not to be tampered with [possibly because they have toxic paint or asbestos in them] then you can use internal wood paneling. The thicker the wooden panels, the better the thermal mass. If you don’t own the home, you can build or salvage a lot of tall timber bookcases and fill them with books. (Be careful to attach the bookcases so they won’t fall forward).
Get the right amount of thermal mass. Thermal mass is not a substitute for insulation, it is the home’s air-energy battery. Too much mass can mean the room can take forever to heat up or cool down. Do the calculations to find the right amount of thermal mass for you climate and room sizes. Experiment with your thermal mass by adding thermal mass objects one piece at a time.
Air moves from high density to less density. Any passing breezes will suck out air in the house. It is not uncommon to see people stand and chat with their front door open. An open door can act like vacuum, sucking out any heat within. If you are lucky to have a door that is in a sunny spot – you can boost your natural energy source by installing a little greenhouse on the door – the greenhouse door will cut drafts (by creating an air-lock) AND the greenhouse will help heat your house. Your greenhouse airlock can be as light as a tent and made out of recycled plastic (like packaging for furniture) or glass, can be relocated to your next home. Alternatively, you could make the airlock out of white curtain material and a waterproof roof. The main aim of an attached greenhouse is stop airflow and let natural light through.
Simple Steps to Cut Your Heat and Money Losses
Rug up in the living room. Wear warm clothes but make sure the visitors are cozy too. You can offer your visitors some wraps and slippers. Permaculture is about building a sustainable culture. Building a culture that is cozy and fun for everyone is more likely to be sustainable. If you are having lots of visitors, it is great to share a cozy fire and if we use big theatrical style curtains to slow the air flow, the visitors can also enjoy the warm atmosphere.
Look up and look down. Many people forget that heat is also lost through the ceiling and floor. Low ceilings are easier to heat than high ceilings. If you have a high ceiling, make sure it is insulated and install a fan that can be reversed in winter to push warm air back down. Check all sky lights are well sealed and consider getting double glazing on them.
An extra floor pad with high thermal mass is useful where the sun can shine upon it. If you can’t insulate the floor, you can use lots of rugs underfoot to stop drafts.
Install a solar heating system that can go in through a window. Support manufacturers who use recycled components e.g. CanSolAir solarfurnaces. A ‘floating floor’ can be used as a low-cost low-thermal-mass large-area heater. It can contain pipes that are heated. The heating can be done outdoors by the sun. You can even use recycled pipe, a compost pile, or tank that is heated by a slow outdoor burner. A floating floor would be tricky to take with you, but something like a bench seat above it could be handy and fun. The pipes could be a simple coil of black pipe that sits outside the window and comes in through the window via a modified wooden panel with holes for the pipe inlet and outlet.
Turn your Savings into Investments
We don’t need to suffer the cold and we don’t have to suffer big bills. There are lots of options for getting cozy. The first focus would be to reducing the losses.
Once your energy losses are cut, you can evaluate how much heating you need. Invest your savings in energy from nature like capturing the warmth from the sunny windows onto thermal mass or getting solar heating piped in through a modified window pane. These tools and skills are transportable and can travel with you to your next home.
Cutting your big bills gets you the resources to build a sustainable future.
Learn how to grow food. Find the difference between organic gardening and permaculture living. Design to use natural energy in your living and workplaces. Build community. Get a good grounding in permaculture with a combination of theory and on-site learning. Get the lifestyle your really want by doing a course to build your planning and design skills.
Are you bursting to do something positive to help stem climate change? This course is for those who are ready for an empowered, permaculture lifestyle and want to get the skills to make that happen.
“What permaculturists are doing is (some of) the most important activity that any group is doing on the planet. We don’t know what the details of a truly sustainable future are going to be like, but we need options. We need people experimenting in all kinds of ways and permaculturists are one of the critical groups that are doing that”. ~Dr. David Suzuki, Geneticist, Renowned Environmentalist and Broadcaster
This twelve-day intensive retreat covers everything from exploring the relationship between our health and soil health to finding social strategies – it’s a course filled with permaculture concepts, knowledge, techniques and practice. The overall goal is always to build a better future for all.
How To Create A Better Future
Turn Your Dreams Into Functional Designs.
The first step in enriching our lives is to take stock of what we have left. The planet will survive, but mankind’s habitat is challenged. So, What do we really want and what do we need? What people need is pretty simple (yet surprisingly delicate). How can we determine if it’s gone or going?
What Do YOU Really Wish For?
We all need clean air, clean water, clean soil, genetic material. Most of us also desire freedom, a sense of purpose, connection with nature and connection with others.
A permaculture course gives us skills to measure, interact, design and protect what we have and enrich that which needs.
Permaculture topics as taught by Bill Mollison. We ensure the Designers Manual is fully covered as the main curriculum
an abundance of extra resources and topics to support the main curriculum and provide variable perspectives of the main topics
specialist expertise and knowledge (drawing on the strengths of trainers) with a range of experienced quality trainers to cover topics of the Permaculture Design Certificate in which they have
theory and practice of permaculture with a range of delivery styles and methods throughout the course including small group work, one to one work, lecture style sessions and whole group discussions
A real life, whole design process from interviewing the client, formulating the brief, gathering data for the site, developing a design and finally presenting the design
specialist and specific design exercises as well as total design exercises
a swag of essential designers skills and knowledge
Our courses are a bit longer than others – so we can ensure we make it the best possible experience for you. PSI honors the two-week intensive Permaculture Design Certificate course format traditionally designed by Bill Mollison. We believe our format produces the best possible outcomes and learning experience for participants as it was designed to do.
Permaculture Sydney Institute aims to provide the participants with both the skills and the confidence to start “doing it” themselves. We guarantee participants will be able to go home and do what they have learned in the course. Permaculture Sydney Institute is committed to quality education, quality outcomes and quality of life for each participant. Follow up contact and support for graduates is also provided after the course.
Once completed the Permaculture Design Certificate participants will
Have a through understanding of Permaculture and its theory, ethics, principles and techniques and why it is critical in obtaining a truly sustainable society
Know how to design and create a permaculture system in both town or country settings
Have acquired the skills and confidence to proceed on their own garden design and construction (with some help of their Permaculture group and friends)
Be familiar with the design process from client interview to presentation of design
Have professional options for Permaculture including ones own Pc business
Have acquired some practical design skills required for construction e.g.: map & landscape reading, marking contours and making swales and other criteria.
Your Investment Permaculture Sydney Institute is able to offer course participants a flexible fee scale depending what type of accommodation you choose and your personal situation. Remember, the venue is a beautiful country retreat so whatever accommodation type you choose you will be doing the most important course of your life in a fantastic setting. You couldn’t ask for more.
Zoning isn’t something you do on a yoga mat but it can be used to design anything from a farm, a work station, garden, home, kitchen, caravan, tent, luggage, handbag or even a wallet.
Zoning is a Permaculture design technique that positions the elements (like herbs, trees, chicken house) in our design in areas according to their need or our use. The greater the needs or use of the element, then the closer we place it.
The beauty of Zoning is its flexibility. This design tool is scale-able.
The design tool called Zoning can be applied on large farms, city apartments, urban homes, kitchen design, and even in the design or re-design of a little bag. (You can redesign a bag by inserting pockets, wallets or compartments. In the same way we can re-design a property by using fencing for the zones).
A Little Bag of Zones
Many bags have the knack of swallowing items and scrambling them. That’s because they are not designed for function but usually for looks. We can apply the design technique of zoning to the re-organisation of a bag (a handbag, a sports-bag or regularly used luggage). Everyday important items such as keys, phone, and medicine would be kept in upper pockets or pouches (the Zone 1 are) and less regularly used items would be allowed to sink into lower Zones. Finally, the forgotten items will drift into the far recesses of the bag.
It’s not us – it’s them!
Not all items that we need will like being kept in easy reach, in Zone 0. It might seem wonderful to have a tree that produced fruit salad or a herb garden that gave us all our favourite herbs. The reality is, not all fruit likes full sunlight, and not all herbs like to grow in pots. Sometimes the best zone for an element is determined by the needs of that particular element.
Zoning The Herbs
When we use herbs regularly, like our tea herbs, we can keep some of them in easy reach by planting them in pots on the kitchen window sill in (Zone 0). This suits the peppermint but not really a green tea bush which prefers space to grow into a small tree and likes to live on the edge of the forest (Zone 3). Other herbs might only be available when in season (like Coriander), and prefer a protected nook in Zone 2. Exotic herbs like Ginger and the bay tree might need to grow in the forest so we plant them in Zone 4. The herbs in Zone 5 could include rare indigenous herbs.
Zoning On a Bigger Scale
In a larger scale Permaculture design we break the design up into Zones according to the amount of attention and space each area requires: Zone 0. The Home. Indoor production (sprouts/ferments) and processing of food, waste,
water collection, repairs and education. Zone 1. The area outdoors that needing regular observation, tending and harvesting
eg. plants we can browse and use each day.- intensive garden beds with keyhole access. Zone 2. This area has less intensive managed areas but with animals needing daily attention eg. poultry, rabbits, worm farm, snail farm. Orchard trees. Zone 3. Occasionally visited areas with self-fed animals (stock) and seasonal wide-ranging crops eg. corn, wheat, rice, pumpkin, bamboo. Zone 4. Wild food gathering (eg. nuts, native fruits) Wood for Fuel, self seeding trees. Zone 5. A Natural area – a rarely visited area. This zone is best linked with neighbouring wildlife corridors. This can be sometimes managed to reduce risk of catastrophes ie. fire, pollution, drought or hurricanes. Zone 6: The greater bio-region or social context.
Zoning is a powerful permaculture design tool. It is used in conjunction with other design tools such as sector planning, analysis of elements and connecting the relationships of elements. Learn more about Permaculture. Enjoy doing a Permaculture Design Course with us!
Working for good is actually easier than working for money. Working for good makes us feel valued, empowered and connected. The work doesn’t have to be on a monumental scale. In fact, tiny changes can actually save a lot of money and do a heap of good.
A fundamental principle of permaculture is to start small and be successful. Small steps give us time to observe, interact, adjust and enjoy the change. A great example of the power of tiny changes can be demonstrated in the mindset of cutting food waste.
Cutting waste and turning it into a resource can take just a tiny change. This tiny amount of work will build a huge resource. In fact, cutting waste can take less power than not cutting it. If we buy less, we cart less food and less packaging, we start to eat less,we carry less fat, we go to the doctor less and we have more energy.
We will actually eat less because the food we choose to buy can be slightly more expensive per kilo. We stop buying on the basis of value from bulk purchasing and start buying with the mind to minimise waste. Because we waste less we can afford better quality food. The food can be more nutritious, not just economical.
As a bonus, if all the waste is noted and recycled on site it becomes our resource and not a burden. The waste is suddenly visible. If we pledge to use a tiny amount of time converting the waste. We are not letting it be a burden in someone else’s neighbourhood. Our waste becomes our resource. In some cases, the tomatoes we throw out into our compost bay, will suddenly sprout and provide us little tiny tomatoes for brunch. The cycle branches out.
When we make careful choices about what foods we will put in our mouths, we are sending signals to farmers that we value good produce and value their efforts to find ways to bring us good food without harming us or the environment.
“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”― Dalai Lama XIV
Building A Better Future
Most people have no home. Most people work all their lives and have very few savings. They need savings as they age or they can’t get medical help, not even a wheelchair or food. Around the globe there are countless homes sitting empty and abandoned. Why is the land abandoned? Why have the people gone? Why do we sour the land with chemicals or by fracking or by climate change. Every person sees the changes.
“When we have land we can build a home” Thongmai
Thongmai saw the city life entrapping her. They worked and made money but could never afford a home. Thongmai moved back to the village and has made 100 earth homes for many people. She fights to educate people about the harmful effects of chemicals and is building security and education opportunities for many.
“When we have seed, we can grow food” Thongmai
This is where permaculture steps up to demonstrate how design can be applied to growing food, building a healthy landscape and regenerating the land.
Next time you sit down to cuppa, imagine how good it would feel, and how cheap it would be, if that cuppa came from your own potted plant or your own neighbourhood.
Learn more about Permaculture with us. We nurture our students and aim to build a better future for all.
Walking and being outdoor changes the brain. Students can become more creative, more observant and less stressed. There are many benefits for the students and the educators to step outside.
Sadly, teachers have a lot of administrative pressures. They have to ensure that they address the many areas of the curriculum. We can support teachers by offering them studies that explain which part of the curriculum the outdoor activities meet. Being outdoors boosts our physical and mental health.
Health, Movement & Exploration
Connecting children with nature reduces their stress. It also increases the chance of nature being less stressed by human impact. Connections with nature enable a child to understand how nature works and builds empathy for others and their respect for the natural environment on which their lives depend.
Nature-based activities can enrich the learning program. We can even go one step further and design an amazing garden class-room.
The process of re-discovering and developing nature-based games can be a lesson in history and creativity. What did children play with before plastic toys became abundant? This is a wonderful opportunity to build imagination. Encourage the children be part of this re-discovery.
Activities include weather observations, seed-raising, ‘mini-beasts’ or ‘micro-creature’ measurements and mapping of their web-of-life, drawing and classification (worms, insects). Science experiments about pH, cooking and cultural discussions about food, hygiene and disease, microscopic adventures about fungi and bacteria, research into origins of medicinal plants and much more.
In the garden children can use tall sticks (ie. banana stems, sugarcane, sunflowers, artichokes, sage) as structural material to build tipis, towers or sculptures. The garden classroom can be a great resource for learning about aboriginal houses or traditional home structures, building and shelters. Whether you build a full-size replica or models, the children learn how to use genuine natural resources like poles and natural rope.
Weaving with edible plant material (especially from strong vines like kiwi-fruit and passion-fruit) is a meditative and mathematical activity. Food plants provide healthy, low allergy weaving and building materials.
Storytelling and Story writing
The range of light levels within a garden allows children to find their ideal light level to suit their reading, writing and working. Storytelling in an open space can be difficult in the city if there is a lot of environment noise, or it can become a theatrical challenge. The garden classroom can designed to amplify the production. Outdoors, the story-teller has an excuse to dramatise the text in order to be heard.
The garden classroom is a fresh and ever-evolving space full of material for story writing. Children can explore new ways to tell a story or better grasp old poetry, the importance of traditional story-telling, the tribal ‘sense of place’, the dreamtimeand ancient maps.
But the man from Snowy River let the pony have his head,
And he swung his stockwhip round and gave a cheer,
And he raced him down the mountain like a torrent down its bed,
While the others stood and watched in very fear. [Banjo Paterson]
How Can We Design a Garden-Classroom
Apply Fundamental Permaculture Design Principles
Permaculture principles are a valuable tool to apply to learning and can guide our design of a productive learning space. There are various permaculture principles but here we can examine two of the fundamental permaculture principles:
1. Every element provides many functions
2. Every function is met by many elements.
For example: a simple letter-box/mail-box is an element. It collects the mail, displays a house number, is a guidepost in heavy weather. It can also support a vine or can be, albeit unwittingly, an insect or arachnid home. One of these functions (the less desirable one) of ‘housing insects’ can be supported by various other elements i.e. hollow trees, bee boxes or the neighbours letter-boxes :>
1. Every Element provides many Functions
2. Every Function is met by many Elements
Permaculture Principles in the Learning Space:
Every Element in the learning space
provides many Functions
One of the elements in an outdoor space is a shade-tree. This shade tree can provide many other functions: wind and rain protection, leaf litter for mulch, poles, habitat for wildlife, a structure to hang a swing or decorative artworks, a play space.
Every Function in the learning space met by many Elements.
The function – shade, can be supported by many other elements. We can use deciduous trees, domes, tipis frames with woven vines , suspended shade material (recycled sheets can be used), sun hats and/or umbrellas. Children may enjoy painting and erecting old sheets or drop-cloths as an art project to add colour to the space. Poles can be gathered from fallen or pruned branches of nearby trees. Using recycled materials and resources from nature builds empowerment and problem solving.
Ideally, the process of design consults the school staff, the community and the children. The design needs to be able to adapt to the changing community needs. Consulting the stakeholders helps us define the elements desired. Work with the shape of the land and do a full permaculture design with the confidence of knowing that compost resources will be abundant if the children deposit their food scraps and the garden. Maintenance workers can provide some weaving material as well as mulching material such as grass clippings.
The school garden may be one the few green spaces in a city. Many of the residents near the school welcome the opportunity to participate in growing food, creating a beautiful gardens with the children and increasing habitat for birds and native bees.
Encourage the community to find ways to safely integrate adult participation. Perhaps the adults are active in a separate area at a separate time to the children. Hopefully there will be times when the whole community can come together to plant trees or tend the garden or celebrate the harvest.
“Now, you’re talking!”
There are some food plants that get adults truly motivated. These include such as coffee bean and green-tea bushes, native foods (bush tucker and survival foods), culinary flowers and spices. If you are lucky to have immigrants living in your area, invite them to share their stories about food and spices and how it is traditionally grown and used.
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. … There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
— Rachel Carson, Silent Spring
It’s the time to be grateful to all women who make an effort to mentor young ones.
Morag Gamble is CEO of SEED International, an ethical and social enterprise. She writes “I love this way of living and I love bringing my children up in this environment. I am also passionate about how this way of life can make a positive contribution to society and be environmentally regenerative.”
Necessity is our mother of invention
Being able to grow your own food, or generate our own energy sources is like being able to print money. Self reliance bucks inequality and builds empowerment.
Permaculture women of all walks of life enjoy planting and nurturing trees. Mums are keen to pick fresh food. Many women will, dig swales, fix leaky downpipes, repair steps, replace the oven light, screw a hinge back into place, retrofit stuff, sew, nurse sick animals, saw and bring in the wood. Although it is frustrating that women have not yet earned their right for equal pay, they have developed the art of flexibility.
Women have the perfect nature to live ‘the ethical dream’. They dream of self-reliance, empowerment, being capable and feeling a little challenged. It is not a perfect dream. Life is not perfect. And they know it.
Mum’s the word
Professor Stuart Hill notes: Men will set up new systems but often it is the women who will maintain these systems. Permaculture teacher Chris Evans of Nepal witnessed the ability of the women in the patriarchal Himalayan society to modify designs. The women would quietly rebuild, modify and improve on a wall that was originally built by the men.
less likely to engage in conflict in wars – their conflict resolution skills involve a lot of talking (yet they are not equally represented in peace-talks)
managing many of the traditional ‘family-run’ farms
Give Mum Your Support
Women can get discouraged.
They might be the one to ‘hit their shoulder with the shovel’. This is not just because they may be new to it. It is not just because they are physically weaker. Injuries occur often because they lack mentors and training. They will desperately try to learn the ‘traditionally’ male skills by looking over a shoulder or reading books or by just trying to follow a practical post on the internet.
Join the communal effort to give women equal financial and emotional support to do courses. Let women ask questions, build their skill base and become empowered. We at Permaculture Visions offer a 40% discount so you and your partner or mum can study happily together.
The world population grows every second. As the density increases each of us gets physically closer to one another. Very few of us remain are truly remote. And yet, most of us are more reliant than ever on transport for work, goods, services, education, vacations and relationships.
Why do we travel more and travel further? Is eco-transport the solution or will expectations simply match capacity to travel. Can we change this culture of transport to cut the mileage and build true sustainability?
On Being Distant
The more wealth a person accumulates, the more distant they become. They need more storage and display space. This bigger wealthy living space creates their physical separation from society. But this is not the only force driving the wealthy apart. The huge growth in sales for solo entertainment and exercise gadgets adds to the pressure for space. Self-driving cars will simply encourage us to travel further and longer. Wealthy consumers have a reducing need to share. Perhaps they will enjoy the lower risk of catching germs in public spaces and a reduced potential to be the target of any uncomfortable village gossip. But there is a serious downside to this excess.
A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. .. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison ..We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive.Albert Einstein, 1954
Bicycles are the most efficient form of transport and it is great how major cities like Copenhagen and London have built bicycle superhighways. Of course, public transport is easier for most commuters and freight companies. Rail is especially good for long distances. A lot of governments have been forging new public transit technologies. Shipping is the most efficient means of transporting goods and cruise ships are enjoying an era of renewal for long distance travel. Cars rank very low in transport efficiency.
Fully Biodegradable. Steel is biodegradable and some new plastics can be made out of very tough natural materials.
Able to fixed easily. When items are able to be fixed simply, they have a far greater chance of durability. If you break down in a rare vehicle, be prepared to wait longer for someone to know how to fix it and have the parts.
The ideal permaculture home does not sit in isolation. When we are sharing and giving to family, to neighbours, to the community, to our society, we build a more peaceful world.
Culture Shift To Reduce Transport Needs
There are three ways to modify our behaviour to reduce our need to travel.
1. Be Proud – celebrate local foods and services 2. Be Creative 3. Share
1. Celebrate Local Production
Local produce fits the climate so it usually has less chemical inputs, is more nutritious because it is fresher (has not been transported far) and supports local workers.
2. Creative and Inventive
Being creative means we find ways to solve the problem that have local resources. It can be as simple as finding an alternative utensil for a task rather than buying another tool imported from a foreign country.
Permaculture leader, David Holmgren says: sharing a ride will double your efficiency, instantly. When we share more, we need less storage space and get better neighbours. If that’s not possible ask yourself: why live in the kind of area that people don’t appreciate sharing?
Sharing can be:
Formal like hiring a car or a suit, or paying for local food
Informal like barter or offering a neighbour a lift, lending them a car or giving them an old bike. The building of trust can start with just a friendly cup of sugar when they have run low.
Sharing and giving reduces our need to travel. It builds trust within relationships, neighbourhood goodwill and peaceful communities. People who enjoy each other’s company are more likely to make fun at home together rather than feel the need to travel to see friends.
Bruce French likes to remind us all. “More women than men grow food“. His experience is vast. He and his family have worked internationally to research and document a huge library of rare food plants and their uses.
Farmers have a broader knowledge of the land, water, native animals and the history of pests and disease. Farmers know soil biota, fungi, plants, animals and have a keen eye on the weather. The real farmer is grounded and deeply connected to the land.
Worldwide, most farmers work on small holdings close to home. They are closely connected to their extended family. When we visualise farmers – do we see their saris, beads, skirts and loose flowing pants?
Robyn Francis and Geoff Lawton are two permaculture leaders around the same age with same start time, similar training, both dedicated, full of know-how, work and self confidence.
Yet these two world leaders enjoy very different lifestyles. Geoff travels extensively. He has set up a global team with lots of people working for him and has spent well the hard earned permaculture money on educational videos. Robin is still very much in charge of her home-site, travels to teach in poor countries and blogs about her pet pig, Polly. They both look very comfortable with their permaculture choices. The difference is huge. Publicly, we encounter Geoff a lot more.
Professor Stuart Hill notes: Men will set up systems. Traditionally, women will maintain them. Permaculture teacher Chris Evans of Nepan witnessed the ability of the women in the patriarchal Himalayan society to rebuild, modify and improve on a wall that was originally built by the men.
Permaculture women in wealthy sub-cultures enjoy planting and nurturing trees, pick fruit, dig swales, fix leaky downpipes, repair steps, replace the oven light, screw a hinge back into place, retrofit stuff, sew, nurse sick animals, saw and bring in the wood. Although it is frustrating that women have not yet earned their right for equal pay, they have earned some flexibility.
Women value variety and flexibility. They are creative and innovative.
Women will nurture systems and develop incremental improvements.
When given an education they can enjoy a huge range of successes.
Women have the perfect nature to live ‘the ethical dream’. They dream of self-reliance, empowerment, being capable and feeling a little challenged. It is not a perfect dream. Life is not perfect. And they know it.
Give A Woman Your Support
Women get injured more when they ‘hit their shoulder with the shovel’. This is not just because they are new to it. It is often because they lack mentors and training. They will stubbornly learn the ‘traditionally’ male skills by looking over a shoulder or reading books or by just trying to follow a practical post on the internet.
Join the communal effort to give women equal financial and emotional support to do courses, ask questions, build their skill base and become empowered. We at Permaculture Visions offer a 40% discount so you and your partner can study happily together.
There is a truck load of free information about permaculture today. There are videos and specialist pages, consultants to do the designing for you and associations with newsletters, field days and conferences.
Is a Course Really Helpful?
“Isn’t there an ap for this? Surely it would be faster and easier to hire a designer. The designer could design our lifestyle for us”. Er, yes! You can get a designer but it would be handy to be able to understand how it works to how to operate the design. A permaculture design is as flexible as a bicycle it will hum along in basic mode or you can ramp it up to a higher production mode whenever you want to. [Bill Mollison]
It would be wonderful to be able to steer the permaculture design as your needs change. It would be paradise to understand how the design functions, know how to connect with it and build the abundance. Yet the ultimate permaculture experience is the empowerment.
The permaculture design course gives you more than a design.
It gives the skills and tools for empowerment.
In the earlier years of Permaculture interviews London asked: Short of starting a farm, what can we do to make our cities more sustainable?
Mollison answered: Catch the water off your roof. Grow your own food. Make your own energy. It’s insanely easy to do all that. It takes you less time to grow your food than to walk down to the supermarket to buy it. Ask any good organic gardener who mulches how much time he spends on his garden and he’ll say, “Oh, a few minutes every week.” By the time you have taken your car and driven to the supermarket, taken your foraging-trolley and collected your wild greens, and driven back home again, you’ve spent a good hour or two — plus you’ve spent a lot of money. Permaculture can be as simple as sitting down and drawing the plan then a little effort in implementing it and then some time in harvesting the rewards.
If you have always wanted to do a full permaculture design course, this is a great way to do it. Jump in. Immerse yourself in a full permaculture retreat with local and international participants of a range of ages and backgrounds.
Winter – Perfect time to retreat and plan
Winter in Australia is chilly and mild – not freezing and dank. This is the perfect time to slow down, think deep and plan for a busy growing season. Perhaps you have already been learning heaps about Permaculture but not yet finished your PDC, this is a good chance to push through. Retreat and Renew. Learn about practical elements of growing food, social aspects of building resilience in your community and become more self-empowered.
Upcoming Permaculture Design Course Retreat
Learn permaculture with experienced and mature elders in St. Albans near Sydney July 4th – 16th 2016.
Permaculture Sydney Institute engages only highly experienced and professional trainers for the Permaculture Design Certificate Course. All are practicing Permaculturalists deriving an income from Permaculture. Each has over 15 years experience in the movement, and vast experience in work and training. They also come highly skilled and qualified in a range of related professions and specialist areas.
Book yourself in and join us. April Sampson-Kelly of Permaculture Visions International teaches face-to-face in a PDC only once a year. In this Permaculture Design Course there will be the chance to learn from great mentors.
If you want your stay to be super comfortable then be quick to book yourself a room. If you want to connect with nature and bring a tent there is the option to camp beside the pool and join in for hearty meals.
Lots more information at http://www.permaculturesydneyinstitute.org/event/permaculture-design-certificate-course-pdc/