Twelfth Australian Permaculture Convergence (APC12) in March 2015.

NWEC8 April 2014 – for immediate release
Media Release
The North West Environment Centre and the RESEED Centre in Penguin, Tasmania, have been
chosen to jointly host the Twelfth Australian Permaculture Convergence (APC12) in March 2015.
The North West Environment Centre (NWEC) holds the legacy of the Organic & Sustainable Living
Festival begun by the legendary Organic Farming & Gardening Society, which boasts names such as
Peter Cundall, David Stephens and Bill Mollison among its founding members.
March 2015 marks the 40th anniversary of the first Organic Festival held in Tomahawk in NE
Tasmania, and NWEC was planning 40th Anniversary Festival in Penguin to celebrate this important
occasion. Coincidentally it is also the 30th Anniversary of the first Permaculture Convergence this year,
so the plan is now to merge the two occasions into a major event.

Vegie Patchwork

“Vegie Patchwork” is the new “Vegie Patch”

Oranges

Many a well-intentioned gardener has set up a vegie patch out the back, out of view. And unless they like to visit this patch everyday to escape the household and find peace or to talk to the insects, they forget their “vegie” patch. Sometime later they look amongst weeds to find huge zucchinis, an old pumpkin and tough old beans.

Most vegetables in a “vegie” patch do not actually need full sun unless you are situated in a cool climate. Some plants may like full sun but most will cope in dappled light regardless of your climate. In fact, many areas now are overexposed to sun and the plants struggle to survive in the hottest part of the day. 

Experiment with your various light conditions for different plant species. Forget about the conventional vegie patch and start thinking about perennial plants mixed with annual plants. The areas with vegetables will become beautiful flowering gardens blending with your orchard trees.

The Chikukwa Project

The Chikukwa Project is the biggest permaculture project in the world.

“THE CHIKUKWA PROJECT is a feel good story out of Africa. For the last 20 years an incredible permaculture project has been growing in Zimbabwe.

Where once the people of the Chikukwa villages suffered hunger, malnutrition and high rates of disease, this community has turned its fortunes around using permaculture farming techniques. Complementing these strategies for food security, they have built their community strength through locally controlled and initiated programs for permaculture training, conflict resolution, women’s empowerment, primary education and HIV management.

Now they have a surplus of food and the people in these villages are healthy and proud of their achievements. Their degraded landscape has been turned into a lush paradise.

A brother and sister team travelled to Zimbabwe and made this film which shows why this project has been so successful.”

http://thechikukwaproject.com/ Buy the film to support the project or have a film showing to raise funds.

read more at http://permaculturenews.org/2013/08/15/the-chikukwa-permaculture-project-zimbabwe-the-full-story/

Joy Of Understanding

Joy_Of_Understanding_Permaculture_VisionsEgg candling is a traditional technique to helps us determine which eggs are soon to hatch. We can put a small torch behind the egg to see through the shell.  Permaculture teaches both traditional techniques and modern innovations and understanding such as Biomimicry.

International Permaculture Day 2014 – Reclaiming Food Freedom!

International Permaculture Day 4th May

International Permaculture Day 4th May

 

 

International Permaculture Day 2014 – Reclaiming Food Freedom!

Everywhere new laws are being passed, supposedly for our benefit, which limit our right to healthy, nutritious food; from raw milk bans, to hidden GMOs, to the criminalising of seed saving; the reality is that our once universal right is being stripped away for corporate profit. And not only is our health and food sovereignty at stake as the food supply concentrates into fewer hands, but so is our food security, the environment and the livelihoods of countless farmers. We must reclaim our Food Freedom whilst we still can. Join our worldwide call on Sunday 4th May 2014 and come learn about permaculture in action!
For events and actions near you, visit www.permacultureday.org and our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/InternationalPermacultureDay.

Other Permaculture Day Links Website  Facebook  Twitter YouTube
Support your local Permaculture Activites and join in the fun.

 

Easy Earth Repair – Any Worm Can Do It

earth_repair_kit

Earth Repair starts at the ground level. When we nurture the micro-organisms, they work to build the soil. When we protect the soil from washing away, this helps to nurture forest seeds, the forest generates gases for us to breathe, food for us to eat, particles to help combat the effects thinning ozone, and other physical mechanisms to help absorb climate instability. Without the forests, humans will simply follow the fate of the dinosaurs. Lets help nature respond to the damage caused by fossil fuel. Any worm can do this. Simply say no to non-degradable products, compost our waste and reduce our footprint by using natural energies and producing food right where we live.

How Can I Compare Technologies?

compost_poopA lot of people wonder how to compare new technologies that come on the scene promising a greener world, healthier life or better waste management.
Below is an Evaluation Table that we developed with our students Morgan Stephens, Tessha Mearing, and Penny Cross (Tessha and Penny are now graduates). You can apply this comparison tool to any product you are considering purchasing.

Evaluation Tool to Compare Similar Technologies

Field of interest

Features

Weight
How important you feel this feature is.

Points scored
can be positive or negative but not zero.

Subtotal for that feature = Weight multiplied by points scored.

Investment

Is this a Procreative (+ve points) or a Degenerative (-ve points) Investment? Or parts there-of? (see chapter on Community Recycling to define investment types)

Will the money spent on the purchase encourage the supplier or manufacturer to investment in better technologies?
(Yes = +ve points)

Is the place of manufacture local? Reduce score for significant transportation, size and weight of freight.

Is the supplier local and have they been in the industry long?

Modular investment

Is there a way to modify and existing technology by adding a new module?

Limitations of User

List any restrictions eg. Some users/sites have restricted solar, wind, land ownership, local government by-laws, legal constraints, cultural expectations.

Purchase Cost

Purchase or parts cost in cash $

Purchase labour you must spend on installing and learning to operate this
(work out your labour cost in $)

Ethical cost – What is the cost to the environment and the workers and families who live in the mining and factories localities?

Environmental cost of full production and of components including embedded energy.

Is the embedded energy able to be reused later?

Running Costs

Moving parts = wear and tear. How many moving parts are there and how important are they?

Durability

Modular parts – are the parts able to be replaced, are they common and easily available? Or does a large component require replacement?

Lifespan

Estimate life span of the technology with maintenance

Is this technology fit for your future needs?

Ease of maintenance, does it require a specialist trade to be maintained?

Running labour cost

How much time is required to run this technology? e.g. Per day or per km or per kilowatt

Operational Ease

Can a child or elderly person operate this technology safely?

Educational Benefit

Would the user gain educational experience from use of this technology?

Impacts

Pollutants (smoke, compaction, other)

Noise

Visual (eye-sore or work of art?)

Space required that other things could have eg. Storage or land space has a cost.

Transportability

Is the system or device relocatable?

By Products. These can be
useful (+ve) or harmful (-ve)

chemical by-products

Physical by-products

Accumulation of by-product.

volume of product is also a factor in determination of usefulness.

Ease of management of by product required? Is specialist knowledge required? Do users need to be trained and educated?

How much time is required to manage the by-products?

Can the by-product be sold or reduce costs elsewhere?

Risks

Can the technology cause a catastrophe?

Is there risk of damage to other things?

Can the technology or device cause an injury to someone else? e.g. Some cars are safer for pedestrians than others.

Energy Efficiency

2nd law of Thermodynamics – how much energy is lost during running?

What happens to potential energy when the system is not running.

Other considerations

Do We Really Value What We Have?

When we value something – we care for it.  Simple things thrive with simple care.
A child deserves food.  Bedclothes need washing (if you don’t wash material the fibres break more readily from compaction and acids). A home needs maintenance and repairs (one pin hole in the roof can fill a bucket with rain, the plumbing will keep on working if we keep it clear, the electricity wires can will become a danger if they are not monitored and cleared). Most of all, A nation needs a pride of working people to nurture and maintain it’s ideals.

resilience

 

Plastic Is Forever

Plastic-is-ForeverPlastic lasts forever. The older it gets the more dangerous it gets. Plastic slowly breaks down, it is very hard to repair (requiring very toxic glues and specialist equipment).  Plastic has slowly replaced traditional materials such as metal and wood. Also, our dependance on plastic has eroded cultural skills in the use of natural materials. Few people now can mend their clothes or shoes, make a water vessel or fix a simple basket.  Refuse to buy plastic and search biodegradable alternative. Or simply live with less.

Quick Gardens from Simple Containers

There is a growing movement worldwide in container growing. There are many good examples ie. http://gwr.org.au/farm/ who show how a lot can be produce with simple compost. We can use woodchip as the base under the compost/growing medium, this is a type of huglekultur.

potted_taro_waterchestnutsFood grown in containers is:
1. a quick way to get a supply of healthy food,
2. portable way to grow food for people who are living in the space temporarily – this method empowers people who used to feel unable to grow foods without stewardship of land. Water plants are easy to move, simply tip or siphon out the water and relocate the pot. Large pots hold their temperature better than small pots but can be tricky to relocate. We remove the plants (put them into recycled bags) remove the soil (again bag this up into manageable weight), then lift the large pot.
3. fantastic for areas with poor soil such as Western Australia and parts of Latin America.
4. an easy way to test and manage the soil to retain nutrients for healthy plant growth and a healthy food supply.
5. an excellent answer in areas of polluted or salty soil.
6. also able to be designed to wick water from a tray or pool of water below. This is known as sub-irrigation.

http://gwr.org.au/farm/ is a great example of good food grown in the containers on rented land in a dry city. They quote: “…the World Bank considers that cities are not only the main contributors to climate change but suffer most of its impacts, furthermore urban agriculture is an innovative solution for greening cities and improving the urban climate…”
– 2011 report from the worldwide Rural and Urban Agricultural Foundation (RUAF).

Quick Food Grown In Simple Containers

There is a growing movement worldwide in container growing. There are many good examples ie. http://gwr.org.au/farm/ who show how a lot can be produce with simple compost. We can use woodchip as the base under the compost/growing medium, this is a type of huglekultur.

potted_taro_waterchestnutsFood grown in containers is:
1. a quick way to get a supply of healthy food,
2. portable way to grow food for people who are living in the space temporarily – this method empowers people who used to feel unable to grow foods without stewardship of land. Water plants are easy to move, simply tip or siphon out the water and relocate the pot. Large pots hold their temperature better than small pots but can be tricky to relocate. We remove the plants (put them into recycled bags) remove the soil (again bag this up into manageable weight), then lift the large pot.
3. fantastic for areas with poor soil such as Western Australia.
4. an easy way to test and manage the soil to retain nutrients for healthy plant growth and a healthy food supply.
5.  Containers are an excellent answer in areas of polluted or salty soil.
6. Container beds can be designed to wick water from a tray or pool of water below.

http://gwr.org.au/farm/ is a great example of good food grown in the containers on rented land in a dry city. They quote: “…the World Bank considers that cities are not only the main contributors to climate change but suffer most of its impacts, furthermore urban agriculture is an innovative solution for greening cities and improving the urban climate…”
– 2011 report from the worldwide Rural and Urban Agricultural Foundation (RUAF).

Radical Change Starts From Within Us

Krishnamurti_radical-change

J. Krishnamurti1 said: “Most of us in this confused and brutal world try to carve out a private life of our own, a life in which we can be happy and peaceful and yet live with the things of this world. We seem to think that the daily life we lead, the life of struggle, conflict, pain and sorrow, is something separate from the outer world of misery and confusion. We seem to think the individual, the ‘you’ , is different from the rest of the world with all its atrocities, wars and riots, inequality and injustice and that this is something entirely different from our particular individual life. When you look a little more closely, not only at your own life but also at the world, you will see that what you are – your daily life, what you feel- is the external world, the world about you. You are the world, you are the human being that has made this world of utter disorder, the world that is crying helplessly in great sorrow. It is you, the human being that has built this world. So that world outside you is not different from the world in which you live your private life.

The division between the individual and society does not really exist at all….

In bringing about a radical change in the human being, in you, you are naturally bringing about a radical change in the structure and the nature of society….”

1 Krishnamurti Talks with American Students 1970 ISBN 0877730210

Cicadas Singing

cicadaCicadas are the loudest insects in the world and there are more than 200 species in Australia [AM]. -The intense noise is thought to scare away predators and can reach 120db.

Here is an elderly Black Prince (Psaltoda plaga) found in our permaculture garden as he was lying in his death roes.

“Cicada facts:

  • Only male cicadas sing. They do this in an attempt to find a mate.
  • Different species have different songs to attract only their own kind.
  • Adult cicadas have short lives, usually only a few weeks.
  • Most of their lives are spent as nymphs underground. For some species this can be up to several years.
  • Cicadas feed only on plant sap using their piercing, sucking mouthparts.
  • Cicadas feed on a huge range of plants, including eucalypts and grasses.
  • Birds, bats, spiders, wasps, ants, mantids and tree crickets all prey on cicadas.”

- See more at: http://australianmuseum.net.au/Cicadas-Superfamily-Cicadoidea/#sthash.6IB0uCTI.dpuf

APC survey closes January 20 2014

We are seeking feedback via the survey until January 20 2014.  Any input you provide will offer great insight into the development of the program and location(s) to ensure it delivers what you would like to get out of the next APC.

The survey is available here - https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1Bs_xqUwXoK9r_fdLk_KEwuLynu6Q1uF_B8UF_hHiwdI/viewform

Please take a few minutes to do the survey, and if possible share via your website and/or facebook page and any email networks you have.  This is a unique opportunity to have your say and help ensure our next APC represents the whole Australasian permaculture community.

We’ve had a lot of interest in the survey so far (over 30 detailed responses to date!) and are exploring suggestions regarding when and where the next APC will take place.

Suggestions for the next Australasian Permaculture Convergence have included Tasmania, Wollongong and SE Queensland, and very strong interest from permaculture people in the Canberra/ACT + south east NSW region. Their suggested timing is autumn 2015 at the earliest, to allow sufficient time to plan.  This model would ‘base’ the convergence in Canberra or nearby in country NSW and provide opportunities for break-out sessions in other rural NSW locations nearby.

best regards, Ian Lillington