Posts tagged ‘permaculture tasmania’

Introduction To Permaculture

Join us for one day of exploration into permaculture. You’ll gain a solid introduction to permaculture foundations and the framework to design your own home in the city or out bush.

Ready to book in? Scroll down to the bottom of the page and go for it!

Immerse yourself in a proactive day of thinking, learning and exploring avenues to respond to some of the biggest social, environmental and economic challenges of our time in a proactive and positive way. Learn the basics in how you can apply permaculture to everything from house design, food production, energy systems and community development, all with a distinct Tasmanian flavour and focus.

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Your permaculture course has completely changed my focus and approach towards my surroundings. I now have a clear vision and outlook of what I want to achieve In my garden and beyond. I have since been describing your course as a springboard. I left feeling inspired to continue learning more about permaculture and to take the first steps to creating a garden for my family to enjoy.

This course coversgrow-comm-garden-design-ap-2016-ilovepdf-compressed-724x1024

  • Origins of permaculture and the global context
  • Permaculture ethics and principles
  • The permaculture design framework
  • Exploration of permaculture in action in urban and rural contexts.

Students receive

  • A copy of the Introduction to Permaculture book by Bill Mollison,
  • Morning and afternoon tea/refreshments
  • Course notes, and
  • New friends and networks.

 

Our teaching approach

This is not a hands-on gardening course. This course is an engaging combination of theory and interactive group work. If you’re after a hands-on workshop have a look at what we have coming up here. 

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Your teacher


Hannah Moloney
 works as a professional permaculture landscape designer and educator. She grew up on a city farm in Brisbane growing herbs and has over 15 years of hands-on experience in designing, building and managing projects around urban agriculture, small-scale farming, permaculture and community development, including co-founding the Hobart City Farm. She has a post-grad diploma in community cultural development, a diploma in permaculture and since 2009, has been teaching permaculture across Australia. She’s had the pleasure of learning from Rosemary Morrow,  Dr Elaine Ingham and David Holmgren. In recent years Hannah has had the pleasure of teaching alongside some of the most celebrated permaculturalists in the world including David Holmgren (co-founder of permaculture), Rosemary Morrow and Dave Jacke.

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 I found it very inspiring, lovely to spend a weekend with like minded people while learning more about how to live sustainably while still enjoying a comfortable lifestyle.

Venue

We’re holding this course at the Sustainable Learning Centre in Mt Nelson, Hobart. We’ll provide all details on how to get there for our students just before the course.

Cancellation policy

There is no refund available for this course. If you’re unable to make it we encourage you to pass your place onto friends or family.

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Permaculture Design Course

19 January – 2 February, 2018, Dodges Ferry, Southern Tasmania

Join us on our permaculture design course to learn the skills you need to design resilient, robust landscapes & communities in a  beautiful learning environment.

This permaculture design course is structured so you get to design your own property of choice, plus complete a permaculture design for a real life client and property. This provides you the opportunity to test and practice permaculture designing in a range of contexts with the support of experienced designers and practitioners right at your side to step you through it all.

As a fully catered, residential course you’ll get to immerse yourself in all things permaculture with like-minded folk. Classes run from 8:30am – 5pm each day with some optional (but highly recommended) evening sessions over the two weeks.

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I loved this course. It hasn’t just changed my outlook on life – it’s changed my life (Anita).

This permaculture design course covers
A permaculture landscape design

  • Permaculture ethics & principles
  • Design theory and practical application
  • Systems thinking
  • Patterns understanding
  • Water management, in the home and in the land
  • Soil health: How to improve and maintain it
  • Cropping systems: food production, seed saving and integrated pest management
  • Alternative economics
  • Energy systems
  • Social permaculture
  • Food forests
  • Sustainable building design
  • Plus more. View the full course schedule here. 

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Just wonderfully fun. So well coordinated (always on time, always organised), experience of a lifetime, truly life changing. Thank you so much (Nysha).

Who should do this course?

This permaculture design course is for farmers, perennial renters, community development workers, sustainability officers, university students, students of life, market gardeners and big thinkers. Permaculture is relevant and useful to you whether you’re working in the paddock or in the office, you’ll become equipped with thinking tools to design properties *and* the life you’ve always wanted!

permaculture design and students

What the PDC is not…

First and foremost, the permaculture design course is a design course. It is not a hands on course where you actively get to create food gardens or build a house.  Although we’ll still teach you some practical skills throughout the course to help you live sustainably, as it’s simple and powerful stuff.

This means that while we will touch on the topics outlined above, we’ll focus on teaching you design skills. This means you’ll have firm understanding on a broad range of topics that can then help you create designs which are integrated, appropriate and darn clever. You can read about some of our previous PDCs here & here. If you’d like to learn how to learn some hands-on, practical skills – have a look at some of the exciting short workshops we’ve got coming up.

As part of your course fee you receive…

David Holmgren with students

  • Free camping (BYO all your own camping gear)
  • Delicious and nutritious vegetarian catering for the full course
  • Course resources
  • Field trips to local properties featuring clever design in action
  • A one year membership to Pip Permaculture Magazine
  • A whole bunch of new permaculture friends and networks

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The Teaching Team

Watch this space for updates!

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YOUR LEAD TEACHER: Hannah Moloney is a professional permaculture designer who has been working with urban/rural property owners since 2012 to create productive, beautiful landscapes. With a strong background in community cultural development she’s been working on community projects that create positive change since 2001 and teaching permaculture since 2009 across Australia with the likes of the Southern Cross Permaculture Institute (since closed), Milkwood Permaculture and at home in Tasmania with Good Life Permaculture.

In recent years Hannah has had the pleasure of working alongside some of the most celebrated permaculturalists in the world including David Holmgren (co-founder of permaculture), Rosemary Morrow and Dave Jacke (US author of Edible Forest Gardens). In 2015 she was awarded the Tasmanian ‘Young Landcare Leader Award’ for her work with Good Life Permaculture and co-founding Hobart City Farm. You can read more about Hannah here.

Nick Towle is a passionate advocate for sustainability and permaculture and brings a diverse set of skills to the course including home-based sustainability practices and community economic systems. His most recent permaculture adventure has involved establishing the RESEED Trust, a two acre urban property in the heart of Penguin (NW Tasmania) which is being developed into a permaculture demonstration site and sustainability education centre.

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Anton Vikstrom is a sustainability specialist with deep experience in urban agriculture, renewable energy, international development and energy efficiency.  He’s had the pleasure to work with The Alternative Technology Association, Cultivating Community and currently works with Sustainable Living Tasmania (in energy efficiency projects) and Good Life Permaculture (as designer and teacher).  His intellect is backed up with practical sustainability skills – from off-grid solar power, small-scale beekeeping, carpentry, landscaping to brewing beer, fermenting, kite making and sewing.

We also take our students on field trips to see and meet other fantastic sites and people. 

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Thanks for being awesome! Thanks also for the shared life-experiences/knowledge of the teachers. One thing that really stood-out for me was the “people care” of the students, and everyone really, throughout the two weeks. I have never before experienced this in the many workshops, courses and places of learning/study that I have attended. My wish is that such a thing becomes the “normal” way of being – YEAH!

Venue

We’re holding this permaculture design course at the vibrant Okines Community House and garden in Dodges Ferry, southern Tasmania. This active community hub features a food co-op, beautiful community garden, a pizza oven and is located near a local surf beach – it’s a rocking place!

Okines community garden

Accommodation

We provide free camping (BYO all your own gear) onsite with access to toilets, showers and inside spaces to relax in.

If you’d prefer to not camp, there are also local places you can stay independently, have a look at a large selection herehere and here. 

Abundant food gardens and beehives.

One Full PDC Scholarship on Offer!

In the spirit of fair share, we’re offering one full scholarship to a lucky someone. The person we give this scholarship to will be someone who:

  • Does not have the financial capacity to attend the PDC, and
  • Is committed to applying their new skills to benefit more than just themselves.

Applications close November 30th. To apply CLICK HERE. 

Catering

We provide nutritious and delicious vegetarian food for the entire course and can cater for a large range of dietary needs with wholesome, locally sourced and organic food where possible.

organic catering

 

How to get to the permaculture design course

Dodges Ferry is approximately 45 minutes from Hobart and 30 minutes from the Hobart airport.

  • By Boat: If you’re coming from Melbourne, Victoria – you can catch the boat (a 12 hour journey) from Port Melbourne to Devonport. From Devonport it is a 4 hour drive to Dodges Ferry.  To see the timetable and book your ticket visit the Spirit of Tasmania
  • By car: If you’re driving to the course and have a spare seat you’re willing to offer to another student, please get in touch so we can help connect you. It’s also well worth checking out Cool Pool Tas, Tasmania’s very own car pooling network! There is easy bike and car parking at the venue in an off street car park.
  • By bus: There are regular buses traveling from Hobart to Dodges Ferry, check out the timetable here.
  • By plane: The closest airports to Dodges Ferry is the Hobart airport. Check out the webjet website to find the most affordable deal. To get to Dodges Ferry from the airport your options are to hire a car, or talk to us about organising a carpooling arrangement with a fellow student or a possible bulk pick up.

Permaculture design students having fun!

Why study with Good Life Permaculture?

  • We are Tasmania’s expert permaculture education provider, delivering meaningful and high quality learning processes for our students. We have REALLY applied our heads, hearts and hands to create this course to be one of the best permaculture adult education experiences available.
  • Our teachers are amongst the most experienced and passionate in Australia. You will always have at least one professional permaculture designer/practitioner on site at all times.
  • All our staff practice what they preach and work professionally in this field.
  • We feed your mind with a huge array of top quality content. We also feed your body with delicious and nutritious food for the whole course. Where possible we source local and organic foods to support Tasmanian growers and producers.
  • Upon completion of the course, you’ll be on your way to being a professional permaculture designer (if this interests you), be able to teach on a permaculture design course and continue studying towards your permaculture diploma, anywhere in the world. Cool hey!

Payment Plan

You can establish a payment plan to pay off the course fee over a period of months. Email us at hello@goodlifepermaculture.com.au and to set up your own payment plan today.

Cancellation Policy

We ask that you give us two weeks notice if you choose to step out of the course; we’ll provide a refund, minus the deposit fee. Alternatively you can pass your place onto a friend or family member or choose to use this as credit towards one of our future courses. If we have to cancel the course for whatever reason, we’ll provide a full refund immediately.

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The Home Composting Project

Over the past year we’ve been working with the City of Hobart to deliver The Home Composting Project. This was a multi-layered, creative education campaign that supported people to compost their food waste at home instead of sending it to landfill where it releases harmful methane gases into the atmosphere.

There were three layers to this project:

  • The first was focused on “passive education” that happened through installing large-scale public artwork in the city educating people how to compost.
  • The second layer was all about “active education” which took place through hosting two free home-composting workshops in Hobart.
  • The third layer was advising the City of Hobart in updating their website to include information on how to compost food waste at home.

But why?

Current figures indicate that up to 47% of Hobart kerbside bins are pure food waste[1] – this is both a big environmental and economic problem and a big opportunity. Environmentally, the main problem is that once food waste is buried in the ground it becomes anaerobic, eventually releasing harmful methane gases into the atmosphere.

“Methane is a potent greenhouse gas 28 to 36 times more effective than CO2 at trapping heat in the atmosphere over a 100-year period.”

Hello climate change and a plethora of social, environmental and economic challenges. We think it’s best to avoid this at all costs, hence turning the problem (food waste) into the solution (healthy compost to return to the soil).

To do this we worked with a group of households to (a) teach them how to compost, and (b) record how much they composted over one month to determine its effectiveness in keeping food waste out of landfill. They each received identical “compost kits” that made accurate data collection possible.

The outcomes for this brief, but effective project Include:

While the outcomes you can see above might appear modest, the power of this model is that it’s easy and affordable TO SCALE UP to be a highly effective approach to help keep food waste out of landfill.

Cost projections show that by investing in an educational program that’s free for the public to access, you could potentially divert hundreds (and eventually thousands) of tonnes of food waste from landfill per year and save tens (and eventually hundreds) of thousands of dollars by reducing processing fees.

A second layer to the project

Involved collaborating with local artist, Rachel Tribout, to create three large compost billboards that were displayed in central Hobart for 3 months. They were educational, beautiful and big – with the largest one measuring 7.8m x 2.3m.

A very happy me with the smallest of the 3 billboards

The third & final layer to this project

Was focused on working with the City of Hobart to update their website to include some educational information, supporting people to compost at home. This involved making easy-to-download flyers from the billboards and making them permanently available to the public as you can see below.

The City of Hobart are now exploring the feasibility of having a kerbside collection service specifically for food waste to further decrease the percentage of it ending up in landfill.   However as outlined in their Waste Management Strategy, this wouldn’t mean support for home composting disappears – rather it would be one of a range of approaches. We’re fans of not putting all your eggs in one basket so support this approach to turning this current pollution into a soil-loving solution.

  • Did you know: The City of Hobart have a unique and quality composting facility where they currently compost green waste that the public give them. Once composted this is then sold back to the community and while not certified organic (the inputs are too variable), it’s currently the best quality compost we’re aware of commercially available.
  • Thanks to the City of Hobart for funding this project – we loved it.

Some references & resources

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Home Brew Beer & Cheer

A day for the beginner and intermediate brewer where you get to see, do, talk and taste everything home brew. You’ll leave this day knowing how to brew your own beer and cheer from scratch – setting you up for a life of happiness (and significant savings).

Ready to book in? Just scroll down to the bottom of this page and go for it!

You’ll get to…

  • Hear about and see different approaches to brewing, 11
  • Do a partial mash,
  • Do a complete full mash beer,
  • Bottle beer,
  • Discuss the process as we do the brewing, rather than lots of talk and chalk, and
  • Sample some brews through the day – in a safe and responsible kind of way.

Who should come to this workshop?

We’ve designed this workshop for the beginner and intermediate brewer. So if you’ve never brewed a beer in your life or just looking for some extra information and inspiration this is the perfect day for you.

Students receive…

  • The Sustainable Home Brewing book by Amelia Slayton Loftus – a really, really good book we think you need.Sustainable_Homebrewing_large
  • Course refreshments: We’ll provide a tasty morning and afternoon tea (and hot drinks). Lunch is BYO – we invite participants to bring a plate of food to share with the group. This is a whole lot more fun and sociable than just bringing your own sandwich.
  • Sample sips of home brew throughout the day and a beer at the end to say “cheers”. Please note as people will be driving, all drinking will be kept to a safe and responsible level.
  •  Enthusiastic teaching, networks and company for the day (and most likely beyond).

 

Your brewing guides

FullSizeRender (5)Tim Bowden: For almost a decade Tim lived in the United States enjoying the delicious beers and explosion of the craft beer scene. He realised that he probably couldn’t get those flavours back home in Tasmania, so thought he’d better learn how to brew them himself. Tim dove in head first to All Grain brewing and talked to brewers, watched videos, took short university brewing courses and even did an internship at a craft brewery. He then built himself a simple little home brew system and have been churning through batches and experimenting ever since.  Tim’s *so* good that he won both the brewers choice and peoples choice awards in the 2014 Tasmanian Battle of the Brews. His current brewing projects are in the dark art of ageing sour beers.

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img_6691Anton Vikstrom: After many, many years of brewing Anton recently started growing his own hops and actually following recipes. As a result, his beer has graduated to a new and wonderful level where even his wife (who doesn’t drink beer) has started having the occasional bottle as it’s just so darn tasty. Bringing a “can-do and keep-it-simple” approach to brewing, Anton is a star at using what you’ve got to create fabulous beers (no kitchen utensils are safe any more).

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Venue & course times

This course runs from 10am – 4pm at the Sustainable Learning Centre, 50 Olinda Grove, Mt Nelson.

Feeling keen?

If you want to learn how to brew from scratch *right now* or just get inspired, have a read of our blog here showing you how.

Cancelation policy

There are no refunds available for this course. If you can’t make the day we encourage you to pass your place onto a friend or family member – which shouldn’t be too hard as it’s a home brew workshop!

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Our Permaculture Design

This is part two of a blog documenting the development of our property design – you can read part one here, it’s where we show you our original design/s for our place and some of the big changes along the way.

This blog is showing you our “final” design, I use inverted commas as it’s bound to change as we continue to implement it. Our friend and colleague, Dan Palmer calls this process of constant, responsive change Living Design. I believe any good designer/implementer does Living Design intuitively. It’s the act of choosing to NOT follow what the design on the paper says when you’re presented with new information/observations as you’re implementing it. This means the outcome is more true to you, the land and current reality on all levels. Simple stuff really, but surprising how often it doesn’t happen. So that’s why I used inverted commas, cause it’s gonna change – nothing too major at this point though as it mostly implemented. But change it will.

Righto…. Some of the foundations for developing our design included getting a vision statement down on paper…

A vision statement is a broad, present tense paragraph that aims to capture what you’re aiming to achieve with your property. It’s written in present tense so it feels more real – this helps clarify where you’re heading. If it doesn’t sound, or feel right in your gut/heart with every member of your household, you need to change it until it does. Ours goes like this…

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Our home is bloody beautiful. There’s colour, creativity and food all over the place and while it may not be perfectly neat, it oozes life and love. Every now and then we open it up to the world to share our experience and to inspire others to “get into it.”

 

It’s nice and broad on purpose, there are no design solutions or specifications in there – you’re just trying to capture the *vibe* of the place.

A good design will also map the sectors for your context.

Sectors

Sectors are the external energies that impact the site, meaning that when designing you need to address each one to ensure your design is the best it can be. Some universal sectors are sun (where is it shining from?) and usually wind (where’s it blowing from) and access (how do you get in/out of your property?).

At our place, we have all these plus things like 360 degree pressure from wildlife (wallabies, rabbits and possums). Our design response is to fence the whole block.

Another one is the *very* strong south and westerly winds we get. Our design response is to plant a thick forest garden in that whole corner to soften the heavy blows and put all the annual food production on the east side of the house where it’s more protected.

Another one is our neighbour’s bush block on the east side of the property – this has the potential to be a fire hazard as there’s a large amount of dead wood and dense understory. Our design response is to (a) meet these neighbours (their house is actually a few hundred meters away from our place as they have a big block so we never see them) and (b) see if they’re open to us managing at least some of the bush for fire wood and possibly as grazing for the future milking goats we’d like to have (fingers crossed).

With all this information in mind, we spent some solid time reading the landscape and balancing what we found out about the soil, water, access, vegetation and more with our own dreams, desires and capabilities. Somewhere within that we found what was possible for the land and us.

And so the design below unfolded from the landscape…

To give you just a little sense of the steep slope we live on, you can see a profile of one section of the block below. The pattern we adopted to work with this land is terracing so we can make it really functional – specifically for water management, access and food production.

You’ll notice from one of our previous drafts (below) that we had originally designed a lot more flat space with deeper terraces. However when we showed it to Colin Fehre (our very fantastic excavator driver) he kindly explained to us that we’d have to remove a whoooole lot of earth offsite and build a whoooole lot of retaining walls to make it happen. Ethically and financially we weren’t into this, so as you can see above we opted for earth berms with productive edible forest gardens stabilising them and smaller flat terraces for our annuals.

Long-term this is actually completely great as our landscape will be 70%-80% perennial food plants including nuts, fruit and veggies. Eventually this will give us a high, nutritious yield and require much less work than the annual veggies. So we’re happy.

A close up of one of our drafts from 2016

Permaculture zones

There are 6 zones in permaculture design (0-5), zone 0 being the main hub (i.e. the house or work place) and zone 5 being the “wild/natural” space (furtherest away from zone 0). We have three zones at our home from 0 – 2.

The only thing you really need to know about zones is that they are a tool you can use to place the things you need most often nearest to zone 0 (the hub of your property). This guarantees ultimate efficiency in how you lay out your property. That’s it. If you’d like to know more about zones, have a read of this.  

So that’s where we’re up to. We still have a long way to go with implementing everything we plan to, but the bones are firmly in place and are hearts are firmly set on making it all happen. So stay with us over the coming years and all shall be revealed!

If you’re interested, you can read more facts and figures about our place over at David Holmgren’s Retrosuburbia and get a sense of what our place looks like in recent times below.

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Our Permaculture Design Course: A Student’s Insight!

Every permaculture design course (PDC) we run we always offer at least one full scholarship to make sure we support people who need it most to access this training. On our last PDC Permaculture Tasmania also sponsored someone to come along – how fantastic! Meet Shane and read about his experience below.

Shane working hard on his group design project and fellow student, Ryan working in the community garden we hold this course in. 

“I recently completed a PDC with Good Life Permaculture at Okines Community Garden/Centre at Dodges Ferry just out of Hobart. It was a great educational and totally engaging experience which brought together excellent teachers in their fields, and a group hungry to absorb all that was given to them. The course brought together people from a range of countries and diverse backgrounds who left with many new friends and a direction to move in. The venue too was a great choice, showcasing how the local community can be brought together with great initiatives which seek to be inclusive of all.

I had previously completed a PDC with Bill Mollison and Janet Millington back in 2002 and then a family came along and a mortgage and I sort of lost my way a bit. I had always kept in touch with what was going on, and I have used this course as a chance to get back on the horse and gain some new inspiration and direction.

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I believe this course also helped me with my own confidence, being able to say what one thought without being judged on personal values was a great feeling in itself.

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I had always thought I’d had a pretty sound knowledge of permaculture systems, this course however with its fabulous teaching staff helped to flesh it out even more for me and hammered home the point that permaculture “is not just about gardening”. That being said it was awesome to go check out and learn from some great permie ‘gardeners’ on the field trip. The importance of applying the ethics and principles as much as possible without being a ‘permacultist’ was also duly noted, no-one is perfect but it’s worth giving it a good crack. Something really important I had forgotten was to start from zone 0/1 and work outwards, it would have made my life a whole lot easier!

Now I’m back in “real life’ and looking for a change. I’m helping out at a new community garden we’re are about to start in St Helens (NE Tas), the fence is up and we’re getting into a bit of planning using the knowledge I gained from the course.  We will be taking on a work for the dole program there and aiming to provide education, training and health driven outcomes for members of the community, and pass on the permie bug! Hopefully I can encourage more members of my local community to think more deeply about the impacts we all can have and make them positive ones!

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Finally, I fully encourage anyone who is wondering about their place in the world to look into permaculture, be inspired, take a course and pass on the knowledge you gain. If your teachers are half as good as these guys you’ll still find it a positive life changing experience.

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Thank you very much Permaculture Tasmania, and extra big thanks to Hannah Moloney, Anton Vikstrom, Nick Ritar, Jonathon Cooper, Oberon Carter and Millie Rooney. Not forgetting the kitchen crew Lou, Maddie and Kathy and of course Mr Resourceful, that’s you Blake!”

Thank you Shane! Thanks for coming, for investing your time and energy into working out the nuts and bolts for how you can make your own positive impact in your own and your community’s world. Onwards and upwards!

Interested in doing your own permaculture design course?

Join us this Jan 19 – Feb 2 in southern Tasmania for a life changing and affirming learning experience!

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Introduction to Permaculture

Join us for one day of exploration into permaculture. You’ll gain a solid understanding in permaculture foundations and the framework to design your own home in the city or out bush.

Ready to book in? Scroll down to the bottom of the page and go for it!

Immerse yourself in a proactive day of thinking, learning and exploring avenues to respond to some of the biggest social, environmental and economic challenges of our time in a proactive and positive way. Learn the basics in how you can apply permaculture to everything from house design, food production, energy systems and community development, all with a distinct Tasmanian flavour and focus.

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Your permaculture course has completely changed my focus and approach towards my surroundings. I now have a clear vision and outlook of what I want to achieve In my garden and beyond. I have since been describing your course as a springboard. I left feeling inspired to continue learning more about permaculture and to take the first steps to creating a garden for my family to enjoy.

This course covers… grow-comm-garden-design-ap-2016-ilovepdf-compressed-724x1024

  • Origins of permaculture and the global context
  • Permaculture ethics and principles
  • Design framework
  • Fermentation demonstration
  • Composting demonstration
  • Food production: including food forests and annual gardening
  • Water systems
  • House design for cool climates
  • Social permaculture

Students Receive

  • A copy of the Introduction to Permaculture book by Bill Mollison,
  • Morning and afternoon tea/refreshments
  • Course notes, and
  • New friends and networks.

 

Our teaching approach

We draw on a range of theoretical, interactive and hands-on methods in our teaching style with the intention to make sure our students are engaged and that we’re delivering information as thoroughly as possible. This course is approximately 40% theoretical and 60% interactive (group work and facilitated exercises). This is not a gardening course, if you’re after a hands-on workshop have a look at what we have coming up here. 

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Your teacher

img_5913-2-293x300Hannah Moloney grew up on a city farm in Brisbane growing herbs and has over 15 years of hands-on experience in designing, building and managing projects around urban agriculture, small-scale farming, permaculture and community development. She has a post-grad diploma in community cultural development, a diploma in permaculture and since 2009, has been teaching permaculture across Australia with the likes of the Southern Cross Permaculture Institute, the Permaforest Trust (which has since closed) and Milkwood Permaculture. She’s taken short courses in teacher training with Rosemary Morrow, the soil food web with Dr Elaine Ingham and reading the landscape with David Holmgren. In recent years Hannah has had the pleasure of teaching alongside some of the most celebrated permaculturalists in the world including David Holmgren (co-founder of permaculture), Rosemary Morrow and Dave Jacke.

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 I found it very inspiring, lovely to spend a weekend with like minded people while learning more about how to live sustainably while still enjoying a comfortable lifestyle.

Venue

We’re holding this course at the Sustainable Learning Centre in Mt Nelson, Hobart. We’ll provide all details on how to get there for our students just before the course.

Cancellation Policy

There is no refund available for this course. If you’re unable to make it we encourage you to pass your place onto friends or family.

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Real Skills for Growing Food at Fat Pig Farm

Two days of hands-on learning, equipping you with the skills to grow food in your own home.

We’re partnering with Fat Pig Farm to bring you two days of hands-on Real Skills for Growing Food. Join Hannah Moloney, Anton Vikstrom and Fat Pig Farm’s market gardener, Jonathon Cooper to learn the basics in growing your own food in small spaces.

Ready to book in? Just scroll down to the bottom of this page.

You’ll get to learn all about…

  • Soil: If you want to grow good food, you’re going to need to know about soil – this is the key to awesome food production. We’ll introduce you to the soil food web and explore a range of soil preparation methods for different contexts.
  • Compost: Learn about composting worms *and* make a hot compost.
  • Propagation: Empower yourself to grow food from scratch – we’ll look at everything from making your own seed raising mix, planting seeds, and growing from cuttings.
  • Vegetable growing: We’ll introduce you to growing both annual and perennial vegetables so you can create diverse, edible garden-scapes.
  • Food forests: How to create perennial, low maintenance, high yielding food systems for small and large areas.

Who should come to this workshop?

We’ve designed this workshop as an introduction for folks wanting to get started in growing their own food and for people looking for some extra guidance in refining their growing skills. If you’re looking for an advanced food growing workshop, this one isn’t for you – but stay tuned as we have big plans for a rather fantastic workshop on this.

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Students receive

  • Full catering by Fat Pig Farm – it’s going to be delicious,
  • An invitation to an optional dinner on the Saturday night (additional cost applies),
  • Some solid time in Fat Pig Farm’s market garden where you’ll see strategies you can apply to your small or large garden,
  • A copy of The Practical Australian Gardener by Peter Cundall,
  • Vegetable seedlings to get you growing,
  • Extensive course notes on everything we cover over the weekend, and
  • Skills and knowledge useful for the rest of your life!

“The attention to detail was great – this makes everything run smoothly and comfortably. And the gifts were amazing! Not only did I have a wonderful weekend, I came away with so much stuff! Thank you”.

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Catering

Fat Pig Farm will spoil you with food to fill your belly, warm your hearts and inspire you to grow your own. Think hearty soups filled with fresh veggies from the garden, Fat Pig ham on bread straight from their wood fired oven, plus cakes and scones inspired by summer’s preserves.

Saturday Night Farm Feast

With Gourmet Farmer, Matthew Evans & Sadie Chrestman

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All students plus their friends and family are invited to join us, Gourmet Farmer, Matthew Evans and Sadie Chrestman for a yarn and a cider over slow roasted farm grown goodness. Matthew and Sadie will fire up their wood fired oven and roast garden veggies and farm-grown meat. This is what we call a super special treat – not to be missed!

Please note, dinner is an optional extra to the daily workshops and costs an additional $80 per person. This is a wonderful chance to bring your family and friends along to soak up the hands-on learning vibes and enjoy the weekend with you.

 *And yes, we can easily cater for people with different dietary needs.

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Fat Pig Farm is nestled in Glaziers Bay, 10 minutes from Cygnet and is home to Sadie Chrestman and Gourmet Farmer, Matthew Evans. As a working farm, they run a market garden, mixed fruit and nut orchards, chickens, bees, some milking cows and raise pigs. Thew also have a delightful on farm restaurant, open for weekly lunches and occasional cooking workshops.

How do I get there?

You’ll be provided with clear directions on how to get there prior to the course.

Your Teachers

jono-profile-pic-for-GLP-editJonathon Cooper is the current organic market gardener for Fat Pig Farm and lives in the Huon Valley. He has several years experience working in agriculture, including as co-owner of a diversified 200 acre regenerative farm south of Hobart. He loves working with people to teach them how to grow their own food in whatever space they have available to them. While he focuses on market gardens, he’ll teach you skills transferable to small and tiny spaces, perfect for the urban gardener. You can follow his adventures at Fat Pig Farm here

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Anton Vikstrom
 has well over a decade of hands-on experience in working with urban agriculture. His work includes establishing his homestead in South Hobart (which is shaping up to be an example of urban permaculture at its finest) and designing people’s properties. He is deeply committed to regenerating landscapes, building community, having a good life and supporting others to do the same.

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Hannah Moloney grew up on a city farm in QLD and is co-founder of the Hobart City Farm. Along with her partner Anton, she is developing their urban homestead into a permaculture haven and has been designing, teaching and implementing urban food gardens and small market gardens for well over a decade. You can read more about Hannah here.

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Firstly, thank you for a thoroughly enjoyable and educational course. As experienced growers, we were impressed that you covered so many areas so that inexperienced and experienced growers could walk away with something of value. It was a really positive feeling to walk away with a book, seedlings, trays, seeds, cuttings etc – was most generous and will be a great ongoing reminder of where we started (dead or not ;-)). Thank you so much everyone. You are great bunch!

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Accommodation

For folks travelling from afar – there are a wealth of local options for you to choose from, CLICK HERE to see a huge range of options put together by our friends at the Cygnet Folk Festival.

Cancellation Policy

There is no refund available for this course. If you’re unable to make it we encourage you to pass your place onto friends or family – alternatively you’re welcome to put it towards one of our future courses.

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Example Of A Permaculture Student’s Design

We were really impressed by the quality of the work from all the students at our recent permaculture design course. Here’s an example of just one of the group designs completed by some clever, deep thinking folks.

Before we start working with the landscape, the first thing we teach our students is “people analysis”. By getting to know the people living on the land – their needs, desires and capacity you can ensure that any design you create will be a design for *them* and not something you impose onto them. This is possibly the most important thing we try to gently ram into our student’s heads and hearts. We can list too many stories we’ve heard of design jobs gone wrong as a result of people not listening to the client.

Years ago I got to work with Dave Jacke who taught us how to make a goal statement – a present tense statement that summarises what the vision for the design is. This is the outcome of people analysis and functions as a reference point for designing and implementing. This particular design group’s goal statement can be seen below… Notice how you get a strong feeling of what this property is like? That’s what we’re aiming for, rather then specific design solutions.

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The second key step in the design process is to do the “site analysis and assessment” (SAA) process. Simply put, this is where you document what is already on the property (not what you want to design) and the sectors (external energies, i.e. sun, wind, traffic etc) impacting the property.

There is of course a deeper level to this stage as landscapes are already their own “whole”. As designers our job is to read landscapes and differentiate the existing parts and work within those. That’s a really important detail that isn’t always articulated well in permaculture text.

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This is also the stage where you’ll naturally start having design ideas like – “oh this sunny section might be the perfect place for a veggie patch”. However as this is such an early stage of the design process we don’t want to get attached to these ideas, as we haven’t gathered all the information yet. So on our SAA summary we make dot points with key titles next to them describing what’s on the landscape (i.e. sunny patch) and arrows beneath them outlining the possible options that could go there (i.e. possible veggie patch). In the work below one example is a small shack (that’s the “dot”), the arrows (design possibilities) beneath this are:

  • possible sleep out
  • water catchment
  • compost loo onsite

The idea is that you don’t get too stuck/attached with one idea at such an early stage of the design process. So you can just take note of them in an orderly manner and get back to them later on when you’ve gathered *all* the information you need to make an informed decision.

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The next step is to crete a concept design. This is a broad design with minimal detail, showing what goes where in a basic “bubble diagram” as seen below.

At this stage you’re still not fixed on a certain approach to the design, rather you’re testing this concept with the people living onsite. Sometimes you’ll make little tweaks other times you might start again, although that’s rare.

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At the same time as doing the concept design, a permaculture zones map is also developing.

Zones are a method of organising your property efficiently according to the phrase “oftenest nearest”. This means you place the things you need most often (herbs, worm farm, kitchen garden) closest to your zone 0 which is the heart of your property (house or workplace). And place the things you need least often (i.e. native plants for small birds, dam, wood lot etc) furtherest away from zone 0 – in your zone 3, 4 or 5. Not all zones need to be included in one property so you wont see all of them all in the example below. You can read more about permaculture zones here. 

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After any tweaks have been made, you’re finally ready to do a final design showing detail around plants, structures, access, water and more. Funnily enough, this is the quickest and easiest stage of designing as you’ve already done extensive ground work leading up to this point.

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This particular landscape the students were design for was really sandy, so they came up with some nifty approaches to building soil for food crops like this hugelkultur style pit for fruit trees and made ace sketches to show how it could work…

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It was such a pleasure to teach/learn with this bunch of hardworking legends. It never ceases to amaze us what transformations can happen over the period of this course!

Interested in learning about permaculture design?

Join us on our upcoming Introduction to Permaculture this May or our part-time Permaculture Design Course this June and July in Hobart.

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Compost Powered Shower System!

We recently made our first compost powered shower system for our two week permaculture design course held at Okines Community House and Garden.  This is a method originally developed by French man, Jean Pain and has since been replicated and adapted all over the world. While we live in a fairly moderate/cool temperate climate, others with heavy snow also do this to heat water over freezing winters like Ben Falk in Vermont (skip to 2:20 in this video). So you can drop any thoughts you night have that this will only work in a warm climate. Hot compost is hot compost regardless of the climate.

This method is traditionally based on using mostly woodchips and water, we used aged woodchips and aged chook poo (layered fairly evenly) plus water as this is what we had available to us.

  • Before we go any further, we must say a special thanks to our friends over at Very Edible Gardens (VEG) for showing this particular version and answering approximately 100 of our questions.

A brief introduction to hot compost

Hot compost is where you arrange layers of carbon and nitrogen materials like a lasagne with water in between. It needs to be at least one cubic metre for it to heat up, with the desired heat being around 60-65 degrees. This is hot enough to kill off bad pathogens, any hotter and the good biology can suffer. For this particular system we’re wanted it to get as hot as possible as heating water is our focus, not compost for the garden. However saying that, this compost will eventually be used in the local community garden where it was built which will still be beneficial to the soil once it’s had a rest. You can read about how to make hot compost for your garden here. 

First step

Just like making any other hot compost system, layer your carbon and nitrogen materials – weIMG_7385did a couple of layers to establish the footprint of the pile (around 3m in diametre) and set up the internal pipe system. This consisted of four star pickets as the framework and 25mm of poly pipe tied onto it. Dan and Carey from VEG recommended using 100m of 50mm rural poly pipe, but we decided to use 25mm pipe as we could then use it easily on our property once the pile is dismantled. If we had our time again we would use the 50mm – more on that later. 

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We filled in the polypipe’s centre with layers of woodchips, chook poo and water – basically a mini hot compost system to make sure it would heat up evenly like the rest of the pile. Note the mini bob-cat machine. We hired it for the day as we didn’t have 20 people on hand to shovel the 20m2 of organic materials – it made the job possible and made us laugh. Imagine three people over 6 foot taking it in turns to drive –  like giant clowns in a tiny box car…

Water is key to any hot compost working – we alternated between the sprinkler approach (having it running on top of the internal pile) to having two people stationed there with hoses, watering in each layer thoroughly. You really don’t want any dry patches in your pile as this will preventing it from heating up evenly.

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Step 3

Put wire around the edge of your compost as seen below. This helps you build a pile with as much volume as possible – maximising the space you have and ensuring there’s plenty of mass to heat up. Only once you reach the top of the wire will the pile start to taper off into a pointing tip.

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Blake the legend watering in the pile from the top!

The shower stalls

We built the shower block from timber pallets salvaged from building sites and shower bases from the local steep shop, for privacy we covered them in sheets. The stalls were located as close to the compost pile as possible so the hot water leaving the pile didn’t have far to travel – meaning it wasn’t going to cool down before it got to the actual shower head. In the photo below left, you can also see we insulated the hot water pipes leading up to the shower head. 

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The greywater system

We needed to design and build a temporary greywater system to filter the water coming through the IMG_7464shower before it hit the neighbouring wetland. We made a simple, safe and effective bathtub system to do this job. We lined two baths with old doona covers, filled them with coarse woodchips and ran pipes from the showers to them, using gravity to move the water where it needed to go. The woodchips act as a filtering sponge, as water moved through them any grease and soaps were caught meaning the water leaving the system was filtered and safe to enter the beautiful wetlands which lead straight to ocean a few hundred metres away.
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So…. Did it work?

The short answer is yes, we successful showered 30 people over two weeks, averaging around 10-15 each day (spread over the morning and evenings). As expected, people only had short showers up to 5 minutes at the most – which is more then enough. The recharge wait between showers was somewhere between 5 – 15 minutes depending on how many people wanted to have showers.

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Thermometre showing 60 degrees and Anton the babe enjoying his first hot compost shower. 

What would we do differently next time?

Quite a few things…

  • Use bigger pipe (as we were told to do). We used 25mm instead of 50mm pipe as we could easily use that in our irrigation system afterwards. What we didn’t think through properly is that this drastically decreases the volume of water being heated up at any one time in the pile.
  • Cover the pile with the tarpaulin (or any insulating layer, i.e. strawbales) the day we built the compost and not one week later. To be fair, there were *crazy* winds on the day we built the pile so it wasn’t going to work. But a week later, the pile had definitely heated up to 40-50 degrees but the showers were only luke warm at best. So we added the tarpaulin to it and the next morning – boom! The heat was up in the 60s and showers were hot. Our friend Nick from Milkwood tried to reassure us that it would have heated up anyway with a bit more time, as it’s just such a big compost pile. While he’s probably right, the tarp seemed to help bring it home *quickly* which we really needed for the course.
  • Get a longer thermometer stick – the thermometer you can see above only had a stick 45cm long. As the pile was 3m in diametre that meant we couldn’t gauge the centre of the pile’s temperature without digging a little hole in the side and compromising its heat retention capacity. So we just left it to measure the outer edges of the pile – which was still reading around 60 degrees after three weeks.
  • Make the shower stalls a but more weather proof. While it’s summer and mostly warm and lovely in Tassie, we still get days where the wind blows and you reach for your jumper. If we had more time and resources it would have been preferable to make the shower stalls a bit more solid with a roof and solid door. This design would be perfect for the warmer parts of the world!
  • It wasn’t as affordable to build as we had hoped. In the end we had to pay for all organic inputs, hire someone for two days to help build it, buy random bits and pieces and hire the machine – coming in at just under $1500. In theory we were going to source woodchips for free from the Council, organise a community working bee to shovel everything and just pay for some nitrogen (chook poo). Next time, we might think a bit harder about how to bring this price done to make it more viable. Of course, if you live on a farm with lots of resources it’s likely you could do it for under $500.
  • Talk to the school across the road 6 months ago…. We built this pile because we were told there were no showers within easy walking distance. The day before the course, when we were a bit worried about whether the pile would heat up enough (and we eventually added the tarpaulin) I went, stuff it – even though we’ve been told there’s no showers in the school I’ll just go check. Turns out there was a whole shower block 150m from us and they handed me the key in two minutes and happily let us use it as a back up for the two week course. To say we felt a but silly is a gigantic understatement – swear words were mentioned. On the major up side, we got to build a compost powered shower, how cool is that!!! I’ve wanted to do it for years and overall, learning new skills trumps feelings of silly-ness (eventually).

Would we do it again?

For shizzle! Despite the long list of “stuff ups” above, I’m so pumped for this method of heating water. For years it’s been on my list of awesome things I want to do – adding to my skill set and now it’s firmly lodged in my head, heart and hands. I look forward to making our next compost shower – it’s going to be a walk in the park after all the things we learned from this time round!

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