Archive | Events

Remember December

It’s the biggest hectare I have ever seen!

Tatyana Temirbulatova’s Permacultured website

 It’s an awesome place to be!

Jessie’s the Rabid Little Hippy

What I didn’t expect was to be so taken with what permaculture is, and what it isn’t.

Jacqui’s dusty country road,

Everywhere  you  looked  there  was  an abundance of  food, even  though  it  is  mid  May.

Quince, Apple, Pear and Potato Jane Neville

(I)t is an authentic and mature example of permaculture in action.

Erin Marteal’s Permaculture in Public Gardens



How to create a resilient community

Back in 2009, the Black Saturday bushfire season rekindled a major focus of David’s permaculture design work, with a discussion paper for the local community, the reprinting of Flywire House and a series of presentations in the bushfire affected regions with Joan Webster, renowned bushfire educator and author who coined the strategy “stay and defend or leave early” to communicate the complexities of rational responses to bushfire threat. Those events were organised by permaculture colleague and Black Saturday  survivor Daryl Taylor.  Local bushfire forums organised by Hepburn Relocalisation Network followed with David, Joan and Daryl as speakers. In 2011 David and Daryl joined forces running workshops and further presentations on bushfire resilient landscapes and communities in NSW fire prone communities. In May 2013 Daryl hosted a two day  event,  Regenerating People..Place..Prosperity…Preparedness that brought together an incredible range of scientists, educators and activists all involved in various aspects. One of the highlights for both David and Su was the presentation  by another  local, bushfire scientist Kevin Tolhurst

This forthcoming HRN forum on Friday 17th October  brings together these three dynamic central Victorians to deepen local understanding of Firestorm Physics, Household Fire Planning and Personal Resilience ahead of the rapidly approaching bushfire season.

Both of Joan Webster’s books the Essential Bushfire Safety tips (3rd edition) and the Complete Bushfire Safety book are available from our online shop.






New tour season at Melliodora

Spring is a wonderful time to be in nature, also a great time to visit Melliodora. Make sure to book well in advance, as they are very popular.

While taking in the blossoms, daffodils and new green shoots, visitors on the tour also learnt about the practicalities of creating an interacting, productive food garden, maintaining a system that supports goats, geese, chooks, and humans, and how the four people who live here (plus visitors) are sustained through the Melliodora plants and animals on the property.

IMGP9565   Melliodora-goats

The bunya pines in the nearby gully, planted a mere 28 years ago, are starting to produce cones. They, along with the fire resistant blackwoods, are part of the long term regeneration of the gully. Come back in ten years and taste the deliciously edible fruit (nuts) of the bunyas!

IMGP9585   Free ranging chicken help manage pests

Melliodora is in full bloom. We look forward to the next eight months of tours held monthly from now until winter, and hope you take part in them.



Weed Ecology and Edible Weeds Adventure Walk


What is ‘natural’? Can something become ‘native’? What is a ‘weed’? What can we learn from so called ‘novel ecosystems’ that may help us learn to create new sustainable ways of living on this changing planet?

If that sounds interesting (and it should!), come join David Holmgren and Adam Grub on a once-only adventurous walk through a fascinating emergent urban ecology in Melbourne’s northern suburbs.

Not for the faint of heart, or unsteady of foot, the walk will take us along slippery tracks, through crawl spaces, and in proximity to wild bees and possibly snakes.  But if you’re up for a once-in-a-lifetime educational adventure, sign up quick, because places are very limited.

David will be seeing this area for the first time.  Trust us, this will be fun.  Adam will be there to help explain some of the edible and other uses of the plant species we’ll encounter.

The walk starts on Nov 30 at 10am and goes on for four hours. it will cost you $90. Once you register, you’ll be contacted with the secret starting location, a week before the walk. It will be accessible by car, public transport or bicycle.
For the last 25 years David, with the help of the local community, has been managing degraded gullies and creeks near his home in Hepburn Springs, without the use of herbicides, while restoring fertility and establishing timber and food resources for future generations and wildlife (see Spring Creek community forest for more details).

He has spent many years studying the native ecologies of Central Victoria, but he’s also a sometimes outspoken critic of the ideology known as ‘nativism’ (see “Weeds or wild nature” for example).

Adam is the co-author (with Annie Raser-Rowland) of The Weed Forager’s Handbook: Edible and Medicinal Weeds of Australia.

More about the tour and booking, please click here.


Aussie St Suburbia Retrofit


David Holmgren looking short with tall poppies of Tassie permaculture  Hannah Moloney and Anton Vikstom

David Holmgren looking short with “tall poppies” of Tassie permaculture Hannah Moloney and Anton Vikstrom

Hobart July 19 was the final gig of the Foss/Holmgren around Australia speaking tour. With Nicole Foss back to NZ David took the opportunity of extended presentation time (80 minutes) to expand on some of the financial issues covered by Nicole and to add more creative ad lib flourishes to Aussie St.

Described by Brisbane permaculture pioneer Dick Copeman as “the permaculture soap opera” Aussie St is a light hearted but gutsy look at opportunities for creative in-situ adaptation in suburbia to the emerging crises of contracting economics, geo-political instability, peak oil and climate change.

This event hosted by Good Life Permaculture  at Sustainable Living Tasmania was broadcast live on YouTube. Despite the less than perfect visuals (and David being tired from teaching all day on the Good Life Permaculture Design Course)  this broadcast is well worth viewing for anyone who missed the Foss/Holmgren tour.


Note this video has been edited to begin with a brief intro by Hannah before the presentation that runs for 80 minutes with 15 minutes of Q&A



The latest “Survive and thrive” tour dates

Strategies for a changing economy

Survive and Thrive

with Nicole Foss and David Holmgren (click title to see the details)

June 27 (Fri) Sydney

June 29 (Sun) Narara Ecovillage (9am)
June 29 (Sun)  Newcastle (3pm)

June 30 (Mon) “Crash or crash through” workshop (Holmgren) at Hunter TAFE in Newcastle
June 30 (Mon)”Building resilience in an era of limits to growth” workshop (Foss) at Hunter TAFE in Newcastle
June 30 (Mon)Building resilience, with Nicole Foss in Port Stephens (Foss)

July 3 (Thu) “Crash or crash through” workshop at Bellbunya (9am)
July 3 (Thu) Sunshine Coast (6pm)

July 4 (Fri) Brisbane (6pm)
July 6 (Sun) Fremantle (10am)
July 8 (Tue) “Crash or crash through” workshop at Fremantle Town Hall (6pm)
July 13 (Sun) “Crash or crash through” workshop (Holmgren) at Creative Collective in Lara near Geelong
July 11 (Fri) Daylesford (7pm)
July 15 (Tue) Melbourne (7pm)
July 19 (Sat) Hobart (Holmgren) (6.30pm)

Looking forward to seeing you all out there.



‘Survive and Thrive’ Foss and Holmgren to tour

Strategies for a changing economy, survive and thrive –

We are approaching many limits to growth over the next several decades, and are consequently facing many challenges in our immediate future. Finance, energy, environment, resources and climate will all impact on the single-minded, one-dimensional trajectory human society has been on in our era of growth imperative. Our current path is unsustainable. It cannot and will not continue, so we must adapt our societies in order to build a new future.

The first challenges are being presented by the on-going global financial crisis, which is far closer to its beginning than it end, and by the geopolitics of energy. Events in Europe, particularly in Cyprus, Detroit and latterly the Ukraine, represent a major wake up call that financial crisis is about to resume in earnest and that energy issues are moving towards criticality in many places. We must anticipate and navigate a period of rapid economic contraction and increasing risk of resource conflict, punctuated by the emergence of geopolitical wildcards.

Building Resilience in an Era of Limits to Growth

Nicole Foss will explore the links between the converging pressures facing us – economic contraction, peak energy and geopolitical stress. She will outline her latest thoughts on the implications for our everyday lives and share practical solutions she has observed recently from around the world.


Permaculture Surfing the Property Bubble Dumpers

Drawing from 30 years of permaculture teaching, designing and demonstrating rural and urban agriculture food production systems for sustainable living, Transition activism and personal example, David Holmgren will outline practical strategies to help households and communities survive, thrive and contribute to a better world.

Permaculture co-founder and the author of  Future Scenarios, David Holmgren toured the country with Richard Heinberg in 2006 informing the public of the threats of imminent peak oil and the permaculture responses. Eight years on, more people have installed insulation and solar, started growing food, raising chooks, and buying from local producers.

Also eight years on, the peak of conventional oil is already in the rear view mirror and the first stage of the second Great Depression is pulling apart economies and nations around the world. The mining boom has allowed Australia to dodge the worst, but the signs are not good. Government plans for austerity highlight the need for households and communities to increase their self reliance.

david_holmgren_talking_2013David’s updated presentation uses permaculture design principles to interpret the signs and show how getting out of debt, downsizing and rebooting our dormant household and community non-monetary economies are the best hedges that ordinary citizens can make. The idea that these household and community economies could achieve unprecedented growth rates if the monetary economy takes a serious dive is a good news story you won’t hear from mainstream media.  The shift of metaphor from ‘retrofitting’ to ‘surfing’ suggests a stronger role for positive risk taking behaviour change without the need for expensive changes to the built environment that few will be able to afford.  Returning to Aussie St, David shows how the permaculture makeover and behaviour change is progressing through the Second Great Depression.  Aussie St is not only surviving but thriving through the “dumpers” that property bubble collapse, climate chaos and geopolitical energy shocks have unleashed on the lucky country.  An endearing, amusing and gutsy story of hope for in-situ adaptation by the majority of Australians living in our towns and suburbs.

On this tour David Holmgren is joined by Nicole Foss, leading system analyst, who explains how the deflationary dynamics that always follow finance and property bubbles, will rapidly impact individuals, families and communities, while the longer acting forces of Peak Oil and Climate Change will determine and limit the nature of any economic recovery. Nicole will paint a comprehensive picture of where we stand today globally, how our human operating system functions, how and why it is acutely vulnerable, and what we must do about the predicament in which we find ourselves. The focus will be financial, social, and geopolitical, reflecting the priority of impacts likely to be felt in the relatively short term. The critical factors for change will be highlighted, with an outline of the possibilities that exist within the scope of the emerging reality. We must plan to restructure our societies from the bottom up, so that both the transition period and our eventually recovery from the coming upheaval, can rest on a solid foundation. That foundation requires the resurgence of resilient communities and the development of true human capacity.

nicole_foss_portrait_2014Her succinct and riveting presentation sets the scene for the positive permaculture strategies. More than just an affirmation of what many are already doing, Foss’s systemic perspective is a wake up call for those concerned about environmental and social issues to understand how their own exposure to financial collapse will determine whether they can shape a better future for themselves, their children and their communities.

The two will inform Australians how it’s possible, although not inevitable, to weather the coming storms with grace, rebuild community solidarity and provide a bulwark against the worst expressions of fear, blame and xenophobia, that naturally arise in times of hardship.  Most importantly, it will highlight how a small but significant minority following a path of enlightened self interest, and informed by permaculture design principles, may have a more powerful and positive influence than mass movements demanding their rights from weak and ineffective governments.

Humanity stands on the edge of a precipice, and where we go from here is in our own hands. There is both considerable danger, and the opportunity to address constructively what is arguably the most challenging situation in human history.


Survive and Thrive with Nicole Foss and David Holmgren
(for the details of each event and booking, please click the link.)


June 27 Sydney

June 29  Narara Ecovillage (9am)
June 29 (Sun) Newcastle (3pm)

June 30 (Mon) “Crash or crash through” workshop (Holmgren) at Hunter TAFE in Newcastle

“Building resilience in an era of limits to growth” workshop (Foss) at Hunter TAFE in Newcastle
Building resilience, with Nicole Foss in Port Stephens (Foss)

July 3 (Thu) “Crash or crash through” workshop at Bellbunya (9am)
July 3 (Thu) Sunshine Coast (6.00pm)

July 4 (Fri) Brisbane (6pm)
July 6 (Sun) Fremantle (10am)
July 8 (Tue) “Crash or crash through” workshop in Fremantle (Holmgren)
July 13 (Sun) “Crash or crash through” workshop (Holmgren) at Creative Collective in Lara near Geelong
July 11 (Fri) Daylesford (7pm)
July 15 (Tue) Melbourne (7pm)
July 19 (Sat) Hobart (Holmgren) (6.30pm)


Action for food

1977279_632012303546062_923391308_nOn May 24th, people around the globe will take to the street again demanding a permanent ban on genetically modified food. Millions of citizens in more than fifty countries, in over 400 cities, are expected to take part. You can find what’s being planned in your local area on the March Against Monsanto official website.

As the Centre for Public Integrity reports, a mysterious kidney disease has claimed the lives of thousands of farmers in Sri Lanka, India and Central America. Scientists have not yet figured out the cause of the deadly disease but suspect a “combination of factors including chronic dehydration from hard labor in tropical heat and exposure to toxins such as pesticides”. In March, the Sri Lankan government banned glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup as it was convinced the killer kidney disease is linked to the product. The ban has been put on hold due to the protest from a government minister and some scientists. It is not yet certain whether or not the Sri Lankan government will stick to its original decision, certainly it is not the only country where the herbicide’s health risk is being reviewed. The recently elected El Salvadorian president, Salvador Sánchez-Cerén, is said to be keen on ratifying the ban on glyphosate and other agrochemicals passed by the country’s parliament last September. In Brazil, a prosecutor Anselmo Lopes, recently requested a ban on glyphosate and other agrochemicals.  In Australia, an organic farmer Steve Marsh took his neighbouring GM canola farmer to court in Western Australia, for the contamination of his farm and subsequent loss of certification.

taken by David Maclean in Oamaru, the world's steampunk capital.

taken by David Maclean in Oamaru, the world’s steampunk capital.d

Time to think more about genetically modified food in general and Monsanto in particular, and time to demand our food sovereignty back from the grip of the corporations. David Holmgren and Su Dennett from Melliodora will join the Dance Against Monsanto event in Melbourne, on the 24th. David will be speaking about what we can do. He will be followed by Charlie Mgee, our stablemate and permaculture Ukelele troubadour, with his Formidable Vegetable Sound System.

Come join us on the global day of action against Monsanto. More details can be found on our even page.



Extra tours on May 3

Due to the public demand, one extra tour date is added. We offer Melliodra tours, both solar house tour in the morning and farm garden tour in the afternoon on Saturday May 3. Please go to the online shop to make your booking. This will be the last tour until September.

As the air cools down, the Melliodora open house and garden tours will come to a close. We will have a break during the cooler months before we open our sustainable house and abundant property once again in September.

david_holmgren_house_tour_01-1024x755There are still two more tours where you can see Melliodora with an autumnal aura. Permaculture cofounder David Holmgren will lead you through the house and the garden farm he designed, built and maintains with his partner Su Dennett.

When it is getting cooler outside, inside the house the temperature remains comfortable without any energy input. Would you like to find out how it can be done? The easiest way is to see a working model, like the one at Melliodora. Come to the sustainable house tour during the morning and find out for yourself. You will also discover how life is possible without weekly trips to the supermarket. How to minimise your ecological footprint and go locavore, build a more resilient household economy, and much more. Throughout the morning tour, David and Su will show you the strategies and tactics they employ to these ends and other ideas that can be applied in your home.

In the afternoon David will take you around the garden farm system. What are some of the key strategies to employ to maximise the yield from your garden? How can you incorporate animals in your garden? How can you design the famed “food forest”?  Your hosts will show examples as well as explain the guiding principles which you can take home and adapt to your own conditions.

timthumbTour participants will be treated to yummy morning and afternoon teas, prepared by Su, using mostly local ingredients. Also on the day, our extensive catalogue of hard-to-get-hold-of books and other resources, will be on sale at special prices.

No need to remind you now perhaps, but the May 4 tours will be the last opportunity to see Melliodora’s house and garden until September. Do not miss out on this opportunity. See more details including the address on our Events page. Book early so that you don’t miss out.

To give you a taste, here’s the photos and account from one happy tour participant in our March tours (Photos in this post are from the Permacultured website. Thanks Tatyana).


Pip ahoy

PIP Logo_red:Pink_FINALAustralia is to have a Permaculture periodical in the form of PIP Magazine. The new magazine on permaculture and sustainable living features informative articles on various aspects of permaculture as well as profiles on people, projects, gardens, farms, houses and businesses. It is full of practical ideas, recipes, reviews, a directory containing permaculture related businesses, courses and people and a classifieds section. Gorgeously designed and printed in colour on 100 percent recycled paper, the magazine will no doubt make permaculture and sustainable living look more attractive too.


Harvest14_Banner_640x350-01The new magazine will be launched at Melbourne’s Ceres, as a part of its 15th annual Autumn Harvest Festival on Saturday 22nd March. The festival is going to be huge with free workshops and practical demonstrations, and of course, lots of good and local food. Liz Stringer and a score of other live musicians will keep the festive mood going for a whole day. David Holmgren will help set sail the newest Australian permaculture magazine Pip at 11 am.



Here is the interview Pip founding editor, Robyn Rosenfeldt did with David, discussing how we can change the world.


Magazine subscription here.