Online Mentoring Triumphs Again

With very little support we were able to pioneer teaching online by putting the student needs first.

we found our niche and we are filling it!

we love our niche!

“One-on-one mentorship was long ago found to be dramatically more effective than group instruction. Having the full attention of an instructor accelerates an individual’s learning by focusing them on the right problems at the right times, and having a real relationship with one person provides students with accountability.”http://techcrunch.com/2014/09/11/the-mooc-revolution-that-wasnt/

When we began in 1993, we had a vision to help people in physically and socially remote situations. We aimed to focus on mentoring people in remote locations as much as helping working mothers. We have slowly built a student base in 60 countries and are very proud of our graduates.

“We’re all still searching for the right formula, but the ingredients will be the same as they’ve always been: Learning through exploration, thoughtfully designed for the right behaviors, with great teachers providing support.” http://techcrunch.com/2014/09/11/the-mooc-revolution-that-wasnt/

Permaculture Visions offers Learning through exploration by connecting participants with their broader community socially, physically and online. It constantly re-evaluates their Permaculture Course program and material for relevance and encouragement of beneficial behaviours that build a rewarding lifestyle and a cleaner planet. And it constantly aims to provide experience and personable teaching support through it’s basic goal of student-focused learning. We believe that there is never a wrong answer, perhaps just an answer that needs a bit more research.

All learning leads to a discovery of the truth. All learning invites us to look beyond ourselves and our own needs and connects us with the greater world.

Permaculture In A Big White Box

 

Bigger Is Rarely Better

Permaculture Principle: Set limits and redistribute surplus

Permaculture Principle: Set limits and redistribute surplus

Setting limits to growth is essential to many systems that desire to be sustainable.
Rather than trying to rule the world, aim to rule your life. This is actually much trickier than we think.
Rather than governing a large organisation, step back.  Design and start a structure where the people who value the work can help build the network.  Then, participants can replicate this model on a smaller scale and feed directly into the system you wish envision.

Ageless Design

This permaculture design was created by April 15 years ago and has travelled the world extensively. It has been used to promote courses and workshops in many countries.

This permaculture design was created by April 15 years ago and has travelled the world extensively. It has been used to promote courses and workshops in many countries.

In about 1998 this design was made by our head tutor April Sampson-Kelly for an elderly couple in Callala bay NSW Australia. They had giant mounds of felled timber and didn’t know what to do with the mounds, so the design incorporated the mounds into hugelkulture, wind protection and these were used to build diversity of micro-climates. The mounds form dry beds in contrast to the swampy flats. Another unusual feature of this design is the removable dance floor built over the large cement tank and a mound rising beside it for seating and privacy. We often design to have ponds reflect light into the home and intensive keyhole beds on the sunny side of the home.

Ode to the Lemon

lemons you are beautiful,
lemonswith little flaws each one of you is unique,
You shine brightly and long into the night your fragrance persists.
Your flowers look as good as they smell.
With leaves that are glossy and pert, and a trunk that is strong, resilient and compact.
lemon tree, you are the best friend any cook has ever had.
And yet, lemon, you are not phased by fame and good fortune,
Lemon you endured a long history, travelled the seas to far flung countries, pickled and preserved many other foods
You have saved sailors from death and disease and brought smiles to children.
Sadly, out of sweet’s spite, you were sometimes associated with bad things such as unfunctionable design and useless cars.
Lemon you will live as long as man remembers how to cook
and will always be remembered for your nutrition and aid in digestion.

Do What Truly Matters

reachEverybody does things.  Some have plans. A few sit and think about how they would like the future to be. Occasionally someone may design something new or talk of having a vision.

 

We all have feelings and passions and we all have ethics and values. Yet, very few of us put the feelings, passions, ethics and values first as a way to determine what to do next.

When we put our ethics and values first and work from this desire, when we listen to our passion and let ourselves be creative exploring ideas, dreaming of possibilities, then it is easy to make plans. We are empowered and every action that follows has purpose, brings us joy and peace to many others.

This is based on the teachings of Professor Stuart Hill and John Herron.

Apply To Work On Our Current Project

Permaculture Visions is offering a Diploma document and assessment  package for free in picture of cockatoo in our permaculture garden eating our macadamias - caught by surpriseexchange for someone working on their portal. You would need experience and skills in Word-press and a PDC.

The work that you spend on the portal will be free for the wider community, help many permaculture projects get recognition. It will help permaculture students around the world find online resources that are specific to a PDC and your work can be documented toward one of your units in your Diploma in Permaculture.

New Ideas Grow From Old Intentions

old-intentionsPermaculture is centered on development of a rich and harmonious culture, building a resilient society and nurturing sustainable lifestyles. When we watch how nature turns loss and tragedy into new beginnings we can be inspired to the same. Nature is programmed to adapt, to adjust and to respond to change. By observing our impact, adapting to climate change and adjusting our methods, we can thrive.

The Giant Free Oxygen Pumps

Trees-resigned-to-life

Trees are like natural air conditioners, pollution absorbers, wind and dust buffers and great water pumps. They cool the earth by providing shade and recycling water. The seed clouds by letting shaking off dust and fungi. “By cooling the air and ground around them, the shade from trees helps cool the earth’s temperature overall. Trees also help moderate the earth’s rainfall, which also helps keep the temperature cooler. Forests help to make sure we get rain. Trees absorb a lot of water from the soil for nourishment. Later, when the sun shines on the trees, water is released from the leaves and absorbed back into the atmosphere – just like the water is absorbed from our bathing suits. When the sun’s energy removes water from the earth’s surface, the water collects into clouds, and when the clouds are heavy with water they release rain back to the earth.” www.ecokids.ca/pub/eco_info/topics/forests/benefits_of_trees.cfm

Trees serve many functions. They serve the forest, the wider region and the animals. Trees are Giagantic oxygen pumps that are fuelled by free solar energy. They serve much more than just themselves.

Healthiest Way To Gamble

The Healthiest Way to Gamble Is With A Package of Seedshealthiest_way_to_gamble – Don Barrett

Building soil, gathering plants, making connections with other gardeners, harvesting and sharing the bounty, learning to combine seasonal foods are all skills that we can acquire for free.

We can get free food, entertainment and enjoyment every step along the way. There is rarely a day that you will loose your invested time and if something goes wrong, you can bounce back and develop resilience.

Good Design Never Dates

“Good design doesn’t date.” [Harry Seidler]
Beautiful design by recent graduate Sarah Goldfinch

Beautiful design by recent graduate Sarah Goldfinch

It is great to have a beautiful and functional design. To be able to inspire the client and communicate effectively all the complex aspects in a good permaculture design. Congratulations Sarah on a great design. Good design never dates. Through a functional but beautiful design we can create a space that people enter, enjoy and value for generations.

Ash

Wood Ash contains potassium and calcium. You can:fire

  1. Enrich your compost with ash and charcoal.  Ash is an alkaline substance so use it sparingly to balance the acidity of some soils and compost mixes.
  2. Deter bugs in Pet houses. spread ash lightly on the floor of the dog house, and throughout the poultry houses. This reduces the smell and the incidence of pests
  3. Deter slugs and snails. If you line the pathways around a garden bed with ash you can deter snails and reduce weeds in the path.
  4. Clean glass and silver with a small amount of wood Ash.
  5. Wood Ash used to be used to create lye, which was used as a type of bleach.  Be well informed, equipped and careful with chemicals such as lye and soap because they often react with modern materials such as aluminum pots and can cause nasty burns.

Saturday Gardens

saturdays-gardenIn permaculture we teach about zoning within the garden. Some foods can be plucked and used daily. These include tea and cooking herbs, lettuces, watercress, kale and tom thumb tomatoes. Other plants are picked when they are ripe or ready such as cabbages, onions, taro, beans, peas and many more. These plants can be visited less regularly so they can be planted further away from the kitchen door. You can pop over to visit them on Saturdays, see how they are going, and see if they need attention (thining out, weeding, watering or feeding with worm farm juices.)

This garden was created on last Saturday.  This area was once a chicken run, then a zone 3 area (for potatos, pumpkins, corn, jerusalem artichokes  etc. Then it was rested and compost was laid there. The chickens were allowed to forage about in there.

Last Saturday the compost bay was reclaimed by

1. fencing the area with wire and bamboo stakes and scrap metal pieces to tie the fencing down.

2. Old bricks, timbers and prunings were used to define the lower edges. The compost was then shaped into garden beds that would retain water and slowly allow it to travel through the beds. A Keyhole entry was made in the broader bed to allow access without stepping on the bed. Stepping on a garden bed will compact the soil and reduce productivity and ability to hold moisture. More prunings and old timber was placed on the upper edges, an old toy bin lid was inverted to create the pond (which now houses water celery and water loving taro).

3. Vegetable seedlings and perennial herbs were planted, seeds will be added later.

4. Bird scarers will be hung from the forked branch in the middle which is supported by the base of an old desk chair.

Appreciate, Freshly and Naively, The Basic Goods of Life

This Silkie Rooster started life as a foster son under a big Welsummer hen. She defended him fiercely, fed him very well and he grew to be the biggest silkie we have seen. He now enjoys life with a flock of regular hens and doesn't know his heritage!

This Silkie Rooster started life as a foster son under a big Welsummer hen. She defended him fiercely, fed him very well and he grew to be the biggest silkie we have seen. He now enjoys life with a flock of regular hens and doesn’t know his heritage!

“Some have a wonderful capacity to appreciate again and again, freshly and naively, the basic goods of life, with awe, pleasure, wonder, and even ecstasy.”
A.H. Maslow

Diversity In the Verge

diversity

Psychonotis caelius – a tiny butterfly we found in the verge garden – the strip of garden between our permaculture site and the busy road. The verge garden is looking beautiful, has become bountiful and the soil is becoming richer every year.  Each time we sweep the gutter leaves we find big earth worms to put up in the verge soil.

Bill Mollison“. . . every society that grows extensive lawns could produce all its food on the same area, using the same resources, and . . . world famine could be totally relieved if we devoted the same resources of lawn culture to food culture in poor areas. These facts are before us. Thus, we can look at lawns, like double garages and large guard dogs, [and Humvees and SUVs] as a badge of willful waste, conspicuous consumption, and lack of care for the earth or its people.Most lawns are purely cosmetic in function. Thus, affluent societies have, all unnoticed, developed an agriculture which produces a polluted waste product, in the presence of famine and erosion elsewhere, and the threat of water shortages at home.The lawn has become the curse of modern town landscapes as sugar cane is the curse of the lowland coastal tropics, and cattle the curse of the semi-arid and arid rangelands.It is past time to tax lawns (or any wasteful consumption), and to devote that tax to third world relief. I would suggest a tax of $5 per square metre for both public and private lawns, updated annually, until all but useful lawns are eliminated.”
Bill Mollison

Conventional Advice & Permaculture Advice

permaculture-adviceThere is some very useful conventional advice about how the sunlight varies and it aims to help people to plan land use.

In Permaculture we aim to build on this, to make all the sectors of a space have usefulness. We can use shaded areas for mixed forest growth and storage of resources such as water.  We can use semi-shaded areas for mixed plantings and protective of some plants during harsh summers. It is also a great space for people to enjoy as it lowers their risk of skin cancers and enables them to enjoy communing with nature and working outdoors.
Full sun suits conventional european short lived vegetables and a variety of plants, annual and perrenial provide protection for one another against he harsh sunlight and pests. The truth is that because the ozone is thinning, many plants are struggling on the hot summer days and having partial shade from some taller companions helps them to conserve energy.

Integrated Greenhouses

A greenhouse can be mighty handy in a cool climate especially if it is linked (integrated) to the house.  The link can be as simple as a clear shelter attached to a window or back door.  If the greenhouse is attached to an outside door it can also serve as a thermal air-lock, reducing the risk of cold air getting into the house.  Attaching a greenhouse to the house also works to strengthen the walls of the greenhouse as well as provide heat to the house during cool days.

If the greenhouse gets too hot in summer, you can cover the greenhouse with a recycled canvas sheet (ie. from an old tent), heavy shade cloth, and/or vines both deciduous and annual vines (such as pumpkin). If the greenhouse is at the rear of the home, you can also use this space to hang your washing during wet periods. If it is attached to the front, add sculptures and welcoming scented plants and use it as a feature of the house.  You would locate the greenhouse on the side of the house that receives the most sunlight.

integrated-greenhouseHere is a modern version of an integrated greenhouse, it just needs an adjustable panel on the back to regular the amount of air allowed into the home.

 

http://www.inspirationgreen.com/pit-greenhouses.html explains how pit greenhouses work.

 

Minimise the Risk of Being Wrong

miniimse-risk-of-wrong

Urban Farming of Rabbits, Havanna Cuba

What if the majority of scientists are wrong about climate change? What if all the fuss was but for nothing? The risk is simply that we become more informed, build a cleaner environment and become more respectful of nature anyway.

Nicole Foss talks about aiming to minimise our risk of being wrong. What is the risk of ignoring the science on climate change? For the lucky few we see them enjoy enormous short term economic benefits from selling the shortening supply of resources, but what is the long term impact of the loss of these resources and the suffering of others? http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-06/half-u-s-population-vulnerable-to-climate-change-report.html

When we have abundance we can afford to throw away resources such as food and garden waste, surplus books and clothes. But what is the long term effect of such waste? what are we missing out on developing as a society by not building sharing networks, generosity and valuing resources and people?

Permaculture learns from nature that everything has value and can be integrated and when the networks and relationships are strong, everything can be productive.