Posts tagged ‘permaculture australia’

Permaculture Design Course

18 January – 1 February, 2019, Dodges Ferry, Southern Tasmania

Two weeks of deep permaculture design learning. You’ll walk away with the skills and knowledge to design resilient, robust landscapes for urban and rural environments – all in the name of living a good life!

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.

.

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

This course covers a wide breadth of topics including…

  • 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

.

.

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

Great! A life changing experience and a very good start for living a more conscious life and be the change (Maria).

 

Who should do this course?

This PDC is for farmers, urban gardeners, 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!

What the PDC is not…

First and foremost, the PDC is a design course. It is not a hands on course where you actively get to grow food, build a house or ferment food… Although we do get our hands dirty either fermenting food or getting into the garden. This means that while we will cover a large range of practical topis (i.e. building, gardening), we will not focus on teaching you the practical skills for each one. Rather, we’re committed to teaching you foundation knowledge for each topic so you can 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.

.

Inspiring. Empowering. Life changing. I feel like the course brought together so many big picture things I had been worrying about and gave me a framework not only to make sense of them but to do something about it. This transformation from focussing on problems to having a positive and practical way to move forward is so awesome. I feel totally inspired to live in a more connected way, starting with my home and community, knowing that some amazing positive changes can flow on from this. Also great to connect with a bunch of likeminded people. So much fun. Thank you (Jessamy).

.

As part of your course fee you receive…

DSC07590-1024x681

  • 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 Permaculture Australia
  • A whole bunch of new permaculture friends and networks

“So wonderfully inspiring- the most practical and enlightening course I’ve ever done :)” Lucy.

.

The Teaching Team

We’ll announce additional teachers in the future!

YOUR LEAD TEACHER: Hannah Moloney is a  permaculture designer who works with urban and rural land holders to design landscapes that beautiful, abundant and resilient.  When not designing, she’s running community development projects and teaching permaculture in Tasmania and nationally with Milkwood 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. 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.

GUEST TEACHER: Penny Milburn comes from a background in corporate responsibility, working with the Department of Environment and Climate Change NSW, establishing Environmental Management Systems and measuring the carbon footprint of organisations such as New Zealand Post. Her focus shifted to permaculture in 2008 after completing a PDC with Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton. She has been a qualified teacher of Accredited Permaculture Training with The National Environment Centre since 2012, with students across Australia and in countries such as Italy, Samoa and Japan. Penny has a wealth of teaching and hands on experience, currently maintaining a productive15 acre permaculture property in the Huon Valley.

GUEST TEACHER: Anton Vikstrom is a sustainability specialist with experience in urban agriculture, renewable energy, international development and energy efficiency.  Anton completed his Environmental Science degree at the ANU in Canberra and GDip at the University of Sydney.  His areas of study included Human Ecology, Geography and Agro-ecology.  His research Thesis was on understanding energy flows through urban agricultural systems.  Since then he has worked with The Alternative Technology Association, Cultivating Community and Tasmania’s very own Sustainable Living Tasmania.  In addition to his deep professional experience he has a wealth of knowledge of practical sustainability, from off-grid solar power, carpentry, and landscaping to brewing, fermenting, kite making and sewing.

.

.

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 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!

2

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. 

One Full PDC Scholarship on Offer!

In the spirit of fair share, we’re offering one full scholarship to someone who really needs it. 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.

All applications should address these two points, click here to apply. Applications close Nov 1st, 2019.

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.

Untitled design (1)

How to get to the PDC

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 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.

Why study with Good Life Permaculture?

  • We are Tasmania’s expert permaculture education provider, committed to facilitating 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.
  • We are committed to ensuring our students are equipped with the best start possible to being competent and effective designers and practitioners.
  • 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!

.

It was amazing! More than what I hoped for. So grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from Hannah and the team! (Manuela).

Payment Plan

If you’d like to establish a payment plan so you can pay the course fee over a period of months we’re very happy to work with you to create that. We ask that people set up this plan prior to the course, so that the fee is paid in full be the time the course commences. Please send us an email at hello@goodlifepermaculture.com.au and we can talk details.

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.

Leave a comment

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.

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.

.

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

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. 

untitled-design-9

Your teacher

img_5913-2-293x300Hannah 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.

.

.

.

.

 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.

Leave a comment

How To Rodent-Proof Your Compost Bin

If you’ve got unwanted rodents living in your compost bin a simple and effective way of keeping them out is by adding vermin mesh onto the bottom of it.

Vermin mesh (aka rodent mesh)  is made from thick wire (around 2mm) and has small squares that baby rodents can’t squeeze through. While it does start to rust after 5 years or so, it’s an effective way of composting food scraps without inviting all the rodents in your neighbourhood to move in at the same time.

Vermin mesh

The first step is to pick up some vermin mesh from your local hardware shop – we got it in a roll of 5m as we know we’ll use it for bits and pieces around our property. Some shops will sell it by the metre – just call around until you find the best place.

Roll it out, place your compost bin on top of it and cut off the right amount you need, keeping a few inches available around the whole bin.

Next up, cut the vermin mesh into a rough circle shape and then simply start folding the mesh over the edges of the compost bin.

I used my boots to help press it down firmly. It doesn’t have to be perfect – just strong enough that it grips onto the edge, which is really easy. You want to be able to take it off again (when your compost’s mature) so I made it reasonably loose.

And that’s it! So quick and easy. The only tools you need are some good wire cutters.

From here you can locate your compost bin somewhere convenient in your garden. We’ve placed ours near our chooks and goats who we feed every morning, this makes it easy for us to place food scraps in there on the same trip – effeciency plus!

You can also dig the compost bin into the soil 200mm to create another barrier to the rodents from getting in – but generally the vermin mesh is enough to do the job. 

As you can see below, we’ve got a second bin with a lid on it to store dry carbon materials. This makes it easy for us to add a small bucket of carbon with each bucket of food scraps that goes in. We also make sure we chop up our food scrasp to the size of a 20 cent coin to help them break down more quickly.

For something that take less than an hour to do, you’ll be kicking yourself you didn’t do this years ago. Happy rodent-free composting!

4 Comments

A Permaculture Holiday

A couple of months back I took myself on a little holiday to central Victoria. I left my family goats and garden and went and hung out with someone else’s goats, family and garden and it was good. Where to? To Melliodora – home of David Holmgren and Sue Dennet *and* the mob from Milkwood, Nick, Kirsten and Ash.  You’ll also find permaculture illustrator, Brenna Quinlan living there in a tiny house. So yes, an unusually wonderful place to visit for a tired permaculturalist.

I spent my time planting some of their crops, harvesting crops, eating crops, patting goats, reading books (luxury), drinking tea, drinking cider and admiring a range of gardens. The wonderful thing about  admiring other’s gardens it that you don’t see any of the jobs that need to be done, just the beauty that’s been created.

Here’s some of my admiring I unearthed from my phone today – forgotten amongst hundreds of work photos from client’s properties. What a beautiful reminder of a brief, but beautiful holiday. I’m putting it here to remind you all to take a break and go admire gardens (in the company of amazing humans – or not) as needed.

The red soil garden 

Ash and I had a lot of quality time in the fig tree – one for the basket, three for me. 

David and Sue’s home flanked with their zone one veggie garden.

While in the region, I dropped by Artist As Family’s home to officially meet them in the flesh (we’ve been social media friends for a while) and drink tea.

Meg, Patrick and Woody live here and are a little bit extraordinary in how thoroughly they live their ethics. Their urban block is on the edge of town and pumping with food and community, but they’re not aiming for self sufficiceny – rather, community sufficiency.  So instead of trying to produce all their practical and emotional needs themselves, they’re working on fostering a regional community that lives lightly on this planet and tightly in each other’s connections. I love them.

  

And no – I didn’t take any photos of people (except Ash)  I was too relaxed to think about that. Of course now I wish I’d lined everyone up for at least one shot as it’s so rare you get to spend time with the people you admire most. Instead I have their gardens immortalised in film – which is the next best thing.

4 Comments

Holistic Decision Making

Join Dan Palmer for one day of Holistic Decision Making!

Holistic Decision Making (HDM) is an approach to making great things happen in a way that increases quality of life for all involved. When we make decisions holistically, we:

  • get real clear on what we really want, on what quality of life means for us
  • use the power of the decisions we make (large and small) to move toward this without unintentional social, ecological or financial stuff-ups
  • seek and use feedback to stay on track

VEG workshopIn doing so, life and life projects start feel less like that things that are happening to you (or dragging you along for the ride) into things that you are intentionally doing or living. At the same time, you start shedding the parts of your life that are not authentic or don’t really belong and both strengthening and adding those that do. Once you get a taste for it, it is hard to turn back.

Holistic decision making can be applied to yourself, your family, any business or project you are part of. We apply it to all of these things and more.

Though appropriate for anyone working in any decision-making context, in this workshop, held in Cygnet, a region rich in farmers, we invite both farmers and non-farmers. Dan will be sure to cater to small farmers feeling like they’d like a better system for driving their enterprise forward with better decision making.

This workshop will cover:

  • The entire approach clearly explained using real life examples, games and practical exercises. Holistic Management Workshop 1
  • Creating what we call a ‘context’ for yourself, your family or an organisation/business you are part of that captures deepest values, mission and desires along with what must be done and nurtured to achieve them.
  • Using that context to filter decisions and take actions based on their relevance to this context.
  • Seeking and using feedback to actualise, maintain, and evolve your context.

Holistic decision making is something Dan finds invaluable and integral in his personal and family life, and also in his work as a permaculture designer and educator.

.

“Life changing … you won’t be disappointed” ~ Fiona

“The holistic management system is probably the most useful tool I have ever been given which I have used mostly for personal/ family blossoming and could use in so many more ways”  ~ Amandine 
.

You can get a feel for this approach here.

Dan Palmer is deeply passionate about this topic and uses a variety of facilitation tools to create an adaptive space in which all participants give each other permission to share openly and to support each other in understanding then applying the holistic management framework.

.

“Going through the holistic management process was priceless for both personal life and a future business. Using that approach changes everything and gives me a lot of confidence going forward” ~ Erica

Dan Palmer, was candid, encouraging and focused; helping each person get clarity on where they were at and what they could do to simultaneously achieve their goals and be more aligned with their values” ~ Amanda

“Very, very useful for achieving focus and the motivation behind my idea – recommend it to everyone” ~ Michelle

About Dan Palmer

Retrosuburbia is hereDan is co-founder of PermablitzLandedLiving Design ProcessHolistic Decision MakingMaking Permaculture Stronger and  Very Edible Gardens. He has a PhD in systems thinking and contagious levels of enthusiasm for what it is he’s decided to do with his life. He currently lives with his wife and two daughters in a small home in Castlemaine.

.

.

 

Venue

We’re holding this workshop in central Cygnet, all details will be provided to students closer to the workshop .

Cancellation Policy

There are no refunds available for this course. If you can’t make it, we encourage you to pass your place onto a friend or family member who can.

Leave a comment

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.

.

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. 

untitled-design-9

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.

.

.

 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.

Leave a comment

How To Landscape A Steep Slope

In mid 2016 we bought the neighbouring patch of weedy/bush land we’d been drooling over for 4 years; and at the beginning of 2017, we started shaping it to include a driveway and more garden/animal space. We’d been drooling over this steep landscape as up until early 2017 the only way into our property was by walking up a very steep, 100m rocky staircase from the road. We had always wanted to buy the neighbouring land to improve access – it just took 4 years to get it done.

When we started earthworks, the view from our house overlooking the new land looked like this.

As our land is very steep, we knew straight away that we wanted to terrace it, inline with what we had already done in our existing garden. So the whole site was cleared, with the green waste taken to the local tip site where the Hobart Council composts it in large hot piles and sells it back to the community.

While we would have LOVED more flat ground, we couldn’t afford to build retaining walls everywhere. Instead, we designed large earth banks with an angle of approximately 30 degrees. Like our current garden, we planned on using these as edible forest gardens and the flat terraces for annuals crops and animals.

After the machine had shaped these terraces, we used hardwood timber from a local sawmill sight to help define and stabilise the edges…

…And a hell-of-a-lot of heat treated pallets to stabilise the earth banks. This techniques has been a real game changer for us in steep slope gardening, as the pallets provide lots of ledges to plant into, making it easier for plants to get established. It’s also easier to irrigate and passively harvest rain, as water is slowed down (a little bit), instead of quickly rushing down each bank.

Around this time, Anton’s day (Gote) sailed his boat down from NSW, parked in the local bay and would come up every day to build a rock wall, dig holes and just be his marvellous, eccentric Swedish self. All the rock came from onsite and was simply rearranged to build our one and only retaining wall :-).

Gote on the far right reclining on his rock wall. 

We then very quickly broadcast a mix of green manure seeds directly on the banks in late Autumn to get things growing. This included red clover, mustard, lupins and rye grass.

Early winter with green manure crops thriving

A couple of times throughout Winter, we’d slash the green manures down – delaying them going to flower/seed so we could get more root growth and more benefits for the soil.

In early Spring, we let the banks go to flower for which the bees thanked us (they loooooved it in there) and covered the future annual beds in non-toxic, UV stablised black plastic to break down the green manure crops without having to dig *at all*.

The black plastic was left on there for around 6 weeks in which time all the green growth died back and the soil biology ate it up.

Today (Oct 31 2017), the view from our window onto our new patch of land looks like the photo below…..

There are thousands of annual veggie plants on the flat terrace you can see and another above this (out of shot).

We have two toggenburg goats, Gerty and Jilly Love Face who moved in just over 2 weeks ago. Gerty provides 1.5L – 2L of milk every morning and Jilly Love Face (who’s 3 weeks old) provides enormous entertainment.

The chook house has been moved to be with the goat run and we’ve planted 20 hazelnuts and 10 mixed trees into the earth banks. Currently the earth banks still have remnants of Winter’s green manure crops. We’ve started cutting and dropping them in place as mulch and will be planting floral and edible shrubs, plus perennial herbaceous layers into the bank over the next year to form an edible forest garden.

Baby hazelnut trees popping up amongst the green manures. 

In between each nut and fruit tree, we transplanted tagasaste (tree lucerne) seedlings that self-seed in the local bush/weedy land behind our property. These nitrogen-fixing small trees are quick growers and will provide benefits to the soil and fodder for our chooks and goats. Eventually they’ll be chopped down once the nut and fruit trees mature and need more space.

Baby tagasaste seedling

And the goats are truly glorious. You can see them below on one of their daily walks and amongst the many daily cuddles we have. Obviously there’s still a long way to go with our property, and more time required before we see mature trees, but today (or this morning at least) I’m just pausing and reflecting on the past 10 months and *really* enjoying the change of view from our window.

 

18 Comments

Permaculture Design Case Studies

We’re gradually adding a range of permaculture design case studies to our website so you can have a little look at what landscape design can look like in drastically different contexts.

Fat Pig Farm

You might know Fat Pig Farm through Matthew Evans and his TV show, The Gourmet Farmer. As well as being a bit famous, Matthew and Sadie Chrestman happen to be very fabulous – pouring their hearts into their farm and work. They’ve managed to recruit some of the most talented and loveliest people to work on their farm and restaurant – we love working (and eating) there.

We’ve done a range of design work for this wonderful farm, including this most recent design that focuses on wind break design to protect their pumping market garden.

Exposed to some vicious south and westerly winds, this market garden is getting a multilayered windbreak to help it thrive. 

 

Grow Community Garden

Initiated by the community and supported by Mission Australia, this community garden is particularly unique. Surrounded by a school and the local Child and Family Centre, it oozes “community” and is an exciting place to visit – great things will happen here, in and out of the ground. Check it out. 

A pizza oven with steel pergola over it. Two grape vines are planted at its base and will eventually grow up and over the pergola to create seasonal shade, beauty and food. 

A dry-stone bridge providing all-inclusion access throughout the garden and looking darn pretty in the process. 

Bream Creek Community Market Garden

This motivated bunch of people have borrowed a patch of land from a local farmer and breathed new life into it to create a community market garden. Driven by volunteers, it’s an inspiring model and what getting organised can do for a rural region. We love this project.  

Their farm stand shop selling seasonal produce direct from the garden. 

It is such a joy to work with people to (a) create a property design that suits their needs, and (b) watch them turn it into a reality! You can explore more of our case studies and our design services here. 

  • FYI, we usually have at least a one month waiting period for designs, so book in sooner rather than later if you’re keen.
  • If you’d like to learn how to get started in creating a permaculture design for your own place, check out our summer Permaculture Design Course.
1 Comment

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…

.

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.

2 Comments

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.

IMG_7646

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.

13177361_1730501447168530_8500750921685791284_n

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.

IMG_7645

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.

IMG_7644

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. 

IMG_7641

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.

IMG_7638
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…

IMG_7642

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.

IMG_7666

Leave a comment