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RetroSuburbia Online Book Launch

Yes, it’s true! Permaculture co-originator David Holmgren is launching an online version of his bestselling book, RetroSuburbia: The Downshifter’s Guide To a Resilient Future.

About the launch

RetroSuburbia: The Downshifter’s Guide To a Resilient Future is a book for this moment in history.

Permaculture co-originator, David Holmgren and the team at Melliodora Publishing have decided, amidst the crisis of COVID-19 and its ensuing economic fallout, to release their 2018 bestseller as an online ‘Pay-What-You-Can’ resource accessible to people worldwide who are looking for grassroots solutions to the challenges of this unique time.

Register here now and head to www.retrosuburbia.com to join the live-stream book launch and to access the book online.

Wed 8th April 

7pm (Melbourne Time) 

The launch party will be broadcast live (via the RetroSuburbia YouTube and Facebook pages) and hosted by ABC Gardening Australia’s Costa Georgiadis with live music from world-renowned permaculture electro-funk-swing band, Formidable Vegetable.

SCHEDULE (AEST):

7:00pm: Prelude from Formidable Vegetable’s Charlie Mgee

7:05pm: Intro & welcome from Costa

7:10pm: David Holmgren followed by Q&A (from YouTube comments)

7:40pm: Music from Formidable Vegetable

A BIT MORE ABOUT THE BOOK

A hefty tome of almost 600 full-colour pages filled with hundreds of photos and Brenna Quinlan’s beautiful illustrations, RetroSuburbia is part manual and part manifesto. The book shows how the suburbs can be transformed to become productive and resilient in a world of economic instability and energy-descent. It focuses on what can be done right now by an individual at the household level.

RetroSuburbia is a source of inspiration, introducing concepts and outlining patterns and practical solutions. It empowers people to make positive changes in their lives. As with David’s previous work, it is thought provoking and provocative.

If you are already on the path of downshifting and living simply, exploring RetroSuburbia will be a confirmation and celebration that you are on the right track and guide you on the next steps forward. If you are just beginning this journey, it provides a guide to the diversity of options and helps work out priorities for action. For people concerned about making ends meet in more challenging times, RetroSuburbia provides a new lens for creatively sidestepping the obstacles.

WHY RELEASE AN ONLINE VERSION OF THE BOOK NOW?

David explains:

As the COVID-19 pandemic first exploded across our globalised world, I found myself unsure of priorities in this time of pivotal change, even though I had been tracking information about Wuhan since January. Not because I didn’t know that a global pandemic of this scale was on the cards, or that it could overwhelm the most technologically advanced and powerful nations on the planet. Not because it could be the acceleration of what I coined “the energy descent future” two decades ago (in Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability). And not because we are not well prepared compared with most to weather the storm.

It was more the realisation of this being a grand turning point that will test a lifetime’s work in articulating and demonstrating a way of living connected to place and the seasons with minimal ecological footprint, conserving precious non-renewable resources, and regenerating natural capital that can sustain future generations after the pulse of fossil fuelled civilisation has faded.

Even more intensely, it was the understanding that such turning points are opportunities to leverage change in positive directions and avoid the worst consequences of delay and indecision.

You can read the rest of David’s statement here.

 

Register for the free online book launch here!

 

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2018 Advanced Permaculture Planning + Design Process

Have you completed a PDC but feel there is more you’d like to learn?
Are you interested in design principles and ethics but are not quite sure how to integrate the processes into your thinking, designing and decision making?

On this four-day residential course, tutors David Holmgren and Dan Palmer will take you through various approaches and methods that they implement in their own design processes to help you establish your own framework for designing and living. Here is the rundown of the April 2017 course:

2017 course participants + presenters

After the inaugural Advanced Permaculture Planning and Design Process course, Dan wrote a comprehensive overview of the 4-day residential, which is highly recommended reading.

Participants are encouraged to arrive on the night of April 2 and camp over, ready to begin the course at 9am on the 3rd. Dinner will be provided on the 2nd, and brekky on the 3rd, as well as all subsequent meals for the duration of the course.

The course is limited to 30 participants and bookings are essential. Once you have booked you will be sent more details.

More information + bookings here.

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2018 Ashram Permaculture Design Course

Permaculture Design Course

Friday 23 February – Saturday 10 March 2018

2017 Ashram PDC

 

Are you looking to create a more sustainable lifestyle?

Meet like-minded people?

Retrofit your house, your community and your life?

Become less dependent on big business and supermarkets?

Design a resilient system in the face of growing uncertainties?

 

The course

A PDC can be a life changing experience. Join us in the unique environment of the Rocklyn Ashram and be taught by a mix of experienced and enthusiastic permaculture tutors including David Holmgren.

This is a fully residential, fully catered course running over 15 days with a short break in the middle. This is a completely immersive experience.

The course will be structured around Holmgren’s 12 permaculture principles (detailed in Permaculture: principles and pathways beyond sustainability) and goes beyond land-based design, bringing permaculture to all aspects of human living.

 

https://permacultureprinciples.com/downloads/Principle_Wheel_with_type.jpg

 

The venue

The course will take place at the Rocklyn Ashram, nestled in the Wombat Forest near Daylesford in Central Victoria. Only a one and a half hour drive from Melbourne, you will feel like you are in another world. Beautiful and quiet, this special space creates an ideal learning environment.

Taking part in the ashram’s daily yoga program can further enhance your learning and enrich your experience. The ashram environment exemplifies and provides an experience of living by permaculture ethics. The serene and spiritual focus of the ashram complements the mindfulness of permaculture practice and reminds us to balance our activity and think with reflection.

Accommodation is camping in the grounds of the ashram. You will need to BYO tent and gear. Alternatively you can choose to stay in a gender segregated triple share dorm room or a private room. Please note, these last two options incur additional fees.

At times the ashram program and the intensity of the course can seem challenging, however almost all of the participants comment that the benefits continue long after the course ends.


The food

Delicious, wholesome and ethical meals will be prepared by Su Dennett and the ashram’s kitchen volunteers. Su will make sure that what you eat meets permaculture standards. Items will be sourced from local organic and bio-dynamic growers in a living example of using and maintaining sustainable food supply networks. You will be served vegetarian meals together with the ashram residents.

 

Tutors

You will learn from the co-founder of permaculture, David Holmgren, and a team of excellent permaculture practitioners and educators. Their depth of practical and theoretical knowledge will make this a very special PDC. There will also be opportunities to socialise with the presenters outside of session times.

 

Prerequisites?

There are no prerequisites for this course, but it is recommended you read the Essence of Permaculture if you have not yet done so. All other titles and writings by David Holmgren are highly recommended for those who have read Essence already. Please have a look through our online store or visit your local library.

 

Course content

This course will equip you with the foundations of permaculture. You will learn permaculture ethics, principles and design, and their application across the domains, so that you can integrate them into all aspects of your life.

Topics include:

  • permaculture ethics and principles
  • ecology and natural cycles
  • weather and climates
  • soils
  • permaculture food growing
  • energy literacy
  • reading the landscape
  • appropriate technology
  • built environment
  • design processes and practices
  • animals in permaculture
  • health and spiritual wellbeing
  • urban retrofitting
  • finance and economics
  • community strategies

The classroom experience will be complemented by field trips to working permaculture farms, homes and gardens including one of the best documented demonstration sites, Melliodora.

You will work on a design project of part of the ashram during the course. You will be guided by experienced tutors and learn the fundamentals of permaculture to design the world you want.

 

Payment and extra charges

 

Item Fee (AUD$) Due
Non-refundable deposit – Australian participant $500 Upon enrolment
Remaining course fee – Australian participant – earlybird $1700 Friday 1st December 2017
Remaining course fee – Australian participant – full fee $1900 Friday 26th January 2018
Course fee – Australian / Overseas participant – earlybird $2200 Upon enrolment, before Friday 1st December 2017
Course fee – Australian / Overseas participant – full fee $2400 Upon enrolment, before Friday 26th January 2018
Payment fee via PayPal 3% With payment – per transaction
Gender segregated, triple share room $2475 $2275 earlybird price
Private accommodation at the Ashram $3450 $3250 earlybird price

 

Is there a concession price?

Applications for the concession rate have now closed.

* * *

Still have questions? Please read through our FAQ page.

Bookings now open!

If the 2018 Ashram PDC sounds like it’s for you, fantastic! Please secure your place by registering.

 

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Advanced Permaculture Planning + Design Process

Have you completed a PDC but feel there is more you’d like to learn?
Are you interested in design principles and ethics but are not quite sure how to integrate the processes into your thinking, designing and decision making?

On this four-day residential course, tutors David Holmgren and Dan Palmer will take you through various approaches and methods that they implement in their own design processes to help you establish your own framework for designing and living.

Participants are encouraged to arrive on the night of April 10 and camp over, ready to begin the course at 9am on the 11th. Dinner will be provided on the 10th, and brekky on the 11th, as well as all subsequent meals for the duration of the course.

More information + bookings here.

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Learning, listening, watching, touring

We have a stack of events planned over the next few months. Have a browse through our Events page to see if there’s anything that takes your fancy.

We have listed all the tours for the coming season, which starts next month, so you can visit us here at Melliodora and experience what a 30+ year permaculture property looks like. Places are limited and bookings are essential.

There is a local food panel featuring 5 stellar local women including Melliodora’s own Su Dennett.LandCultures

Artist as Family are premiering their film Land Cultures, featuring David Holmgren and Bruce Pascoe

David will be presenting A History from the Future at the Daylesford Words in Winter festival.

Also at Words in Winter, the winner of the Venie Holmgren Environmental Poetry Prize will be announced.

Formidable Vegetable Sound System is coming to Daylesford to launch their forthcoming album, Grow Do It. Yay Charlie!!

David will be teaching on various PDC’s including at CERES, at the Food Forest in November, and at the Rocklyn ashram in February 2017 (more details to come).

In November, while David is in WA for the Australasian Permaculture Convergence and Permaculture Festival, he will be giving a keynote address and several talks about various aspects of permaculture ranging from future scenarios, permaculture in higher education, revitalising the landscapes and communities that will raise the next generation and his forthcoming book, RetroSuburbia.

While in WA, we are pleased to announce that David will also be presenting the Keith Roby Memorial Lecture in Community Science.

What an exciting list! This is just a snapshot. Please head on over to our Events page for the full rundown of tours, talks and special events.

 

 

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Our Climate is Our Health

In the run up to Our Climate Our Health / Paris COP21/ People’s Climate March  Climate HEALTH Alliance is hosting a full day seminar on 19 November 2015  “Our Climate is Our Health: Integrating health in policy and decision-making for our low carbon world”

It’s 2030, and the world is firmly on a path to low carbon economies and societies. Governments across the world have introduced low carbon policies for energy and transport, zero carbon homes and buildings are commonplace, and many individuals and businesses now generate their own energy from the sun and the wind. The health of people was a key factor in motivating this shift.

At the seminar an advisory panel will describe how the 2030 scenario described above, happened, outline how different things are from 2015, and offer insights into the healthy future that lies ahead. Panelists include Grant Blashki (Nossal Institute), Susie Burke (Australian Psychological Society), Matthew Wright (Zero Emissions Australia), and Monique Conheady (Chair of Moreland Energy Foundation, founded Flexicar) and our own David Holmgren (Vision for energy descent),

The panel session is at 11am and is entitled  Imagining our low carbon world: a thought experiment

This seminar will bring the CAHA members and broader healthcare sector stakeholders together to learn from one another on advocating for action on climate change, will strengthen relationships and build understanding between health and environment groups, and work towards developing a collaborative national strategy on climate change and health – with the goal of getting policy outcomes within two years.

For more info see www.ourclimateourhealth.org

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PDC in 2016

Ashram Garden and CompostingThinking about learning permaculture for a while? It is time to make the first step, and join us in February for a very special Permaculture Design Course. Organised by Tread Lightly Permaculture and Holmgren Design, this course is unique, like no other, because

Taken by Constanza von Marees during the 2015 PDC.

Taken by Constanza von Marees during the 2015 PDC.

  • You will learn from the very original cofounder of permaculture, David Holmgren, and a team of world class permaculture practitioners and educators. Their depth of practical and theoretical knowledge will make this very special standout PDC. There will be ample opportunity to socialise with the presenters outside the session times.
  • This is the course designed specifically to the twelve principles David details in Permaculture: principles and pathways beyond sustainability. We will focus on one principle a day, and by the end of the course, you will be equipped with the foundations of permaculture philosophy, design and knowledge. You will receive a certificate at the end of the course which makes you eligible to practice or teach permaculture commercially and to proceed towards the Diploma in Permaculture Design.
  • The course will take place in the Wombat Forest south of Daylesford at the beautiful Rocklyn Yoga Ashram. This remote setting away from towns, traffic and the temptations of noise and junk food, will be ideal for learning permaculture.
  • You will see many working examples of permaculture during the course. The Ashram’s extensive garden, designed and completed by David and Hamish MacCallum, will feed you during the course.  You will also see permaculture design applications in both urbane and rural settings in the local area including one of the best permaculture demonstration sites in the world, Melliodora.
  • The serene and spiritual focus of the Ashram complements the mindfulness of permaculture practice and reminds us to balance our activity and thinking with reflection, a point not normally emphasised in PDCs. You are encouraged to take part in the Ashram’s daily yoga programs.
  • 2016 PDC at Rocklyn AshramDelicious wholesome and nutritious meals will be prepared by Su Dennett with the Ashram’s catering crew. Most of the food for the course will come from the Ashram’s extensive permaculture gardens. With plenty of love and care, Su will make sure that what you eat will be delicious, and at the same time, meet permaculture standards. During the course, in other words, you will live a “permaculture life”.
  • Within close proximity to Melbourne, Castlemaine and Ballarat, the Ashram is centrally located, though the overwhelming feeling when you’re there is of being in a very special relaxing environment, another world.
  • You will work on a design project of your choice during the course, guided by experienced tutors, you will experience the fundamentals of permaculture to design the world you want.

The list can go on, but the available places are limited to ensure the quality. Take a positive step, and be early.

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local happiness, global happiness

An enormous event is coming up next weekend. The Local Lives, Global Matters conference is gearing up to a great conference with the range of local and international speakers.

Over three days, at Castlemaine, the conference examines and discusses the way to get happier.

The solution seems local.  Communities all around the world are already doing it. The conference is planning to builds on what is already happening by fostering thriving, local and regional economies and societies, and accelerating the transition to a world without fossil fuels and growth addictions.

39e4213c-7373-4180-b0fe-93c5e9e651c0It is not your usual ‘conference’ though, the program is full of plenaries, workshops, story-telling, arts and music, as well as site visits showcasing local initiatives. Themes include meaningful livelihoods, reducing scale, reclaiming democracy, local interdependence and the strengthening of spiritual values. Speakers to appear include David Holmgren (one of the keynote speakers at the town hall on the first day), Helena Norberg-Hodge, Manish Jain (India), Camila Moreno (Brazil), Rob Hopkins (UK), Raphael Souchier (France), Samuel Alexander, Susan Murphy, Dave Rastovich and Lauren Hill Australia).
In fact, David will be there over three days.

On Friday David will deliver a keynote speech (3.40pm) at the town hall.

On Sat, he will take part in a panel discussion in Manish Jain’s plenary session on “Social and ecological justice” (10am) along with Camilla Moreno who will then give a session on “Reclaiming democracy”.

Then on Sunday, he will be a part of the panel with Ellen Madigan, Latarnie McDonald, Michelle and Chris McColl, Rob Kirby, and Helena Norberg-Hodge to disucss the problem of the centralised food  supply system.  For his final appearance, on Sunday at the town hall David will  be a part of the closing plenary session with Jacques Boulet and Norberg Hodge to sum up the weekend.

It is a choc a block weekend already, but there is another good one on Saturday afternoon, pop over to the Buckley room at St Mary’s Church at 4.15pm. Su Dennett and Maureen Corbett from Hepburn Relocalisation Network will give a workshop called “Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained” to follow up Urban Food Collective/Kym Blechynden (Feed the Future).

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12th International Permaculture Conference

Design the world we want, is the theme of the 12th International Permaculture Conference due to take place in London on September 8 and 9.  Among the luminaries of permaculture, David Holmgren, co-originator of the Permaculture concept, will deliver a 10 min message from 9.50am at the very start of the conference on Sept 8th, under the title of “Permaculture and Energy Descent” reflecting on the birth and growth of permaculture in a wide context.

Waves of adoption and spread of permaculture over the last 40 years are strongly correlated with large scale geopolitical and economic cycles and events. This history suggests the future form of permaculture will be shaped more by these forces than the desires or plans of individuals or organisations. If the inevitable transition to a renewable energy future follows the energy ascent trajectories of the fossil fuelled transitions of the last 250 years, permaculture is likely to remain an ethical or lifestyle choice of a minority in a conflicted but materially abundant world. If, on the other hand, the renewable future, is to one of energy descent as I have described, then permaculture, in principle, if not in name will become normalised adaptive human behaviour for rediscovering our place in nature. We all may have strong opinions, hopes, and fears about possible futures and how to shape them through permaculture, but the necessary transformation is as much an inner process, as it is external. Seeing energy descent as an opportunity rather than a problem might just be the largest and most  significant contribution of permaculture thinking to a prosperous way down for humanity.

 

His speech as well as the others will be streamed live, the details are here.

Later on, during the convergence at Gilwell Park, Essex, David will conduct give an address via internet, “Controversial and Convoluted Issues of Permaculture Theory and Practice”. This is scheduled for Sept 11th from 10am to 11am, see the timetable.

As the permaculture movement grows in size and strength it is important that robust debate and hard won experience informs the on going evolution of theory and the allocation of resources to strategies that work. A wide range of claims by permaculture activists and literature  remain contested outside and within the movement. A series of issues generate heat and shape peoples attitudes about permaculture. Some examples include the productivity of forest gardens in the temperate zones, the utility of swales or keyline in diverse landscapes, the adverse impacts or benefits of naturalised plants, the role of spirituality in permaculture, the utility of top down vs bottom up change, the faith or skepticism about technological solutions to resource constraints, the limits to global carrying capacity, the utility or otherwise of green capitalism, the place of political activism in permaculture and even, the curriculum for PDCs.

As a contribution to healthy debate and evolution of thinking within the movement, David Holmgren frames these debates in the context of energy descent futures, and for the majority of the time will give extended answers to questions about his take on issues raised by participants.

An extended Q & A  session with David will follow his address.

While David will be making himself seen and heard via internet, our brother in arms, Charlie Mgee and his Formidable Vegetable Sound System, who have just released a new remix album Radish Beets, will be there in person. He will sing tunes on various occasions, and run a workshop on how to propagate the permaculture narrative, “Sing the change you want to see“.

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Your Town, Your Food

Too cold to go out in the garden? Winter is a good time to prepare and plan for the seasons to come. It’s future planning time. It is also a good time to watch a good film. Well, if that is your cup of tea and if you are in the Goulburn Valley area, and interested in creating healthier communities, livelihoods and fun founded on initiatives that are sustainable and support local producers then the second Tatura film festival is the one for you. It will be held on Saturday August 29.

Organised by Transition Tatura, the 397th Transition town in the world according to the official register, the festival will focus on food. Where do you get your food from and how does it get to you? What’s so good about local food, looking at production, distribution, consumption and composting? What is the real cost of what we eat, and who dictates what one eats? You or a big supermarket, or agrobusiness corporation? These are just some of the topics that will be covered on the day.

David Holmgren will be the keynote speaker and he will introduce the film Design for Life (Australia, 68mins) while Su Dennett from Hepburn Relocalisation Network will show a 2009 film from USA, Homegrown revolution. Following the films, they will discuss some of the points raised in the films, and take part in a community conversation on localisation, energy reduction and resilient community building.

If you are in the area, why don’t you come around and spend a day watching thought provoking films, take part in the discussion, and join in planning for the future.

TaturaFilm_Poster_FINAL copy

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