Tag Archives | permaculture

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.


Vale Toby Hemenway

Toby Hemenway, one of the most influential permaculture authors and teachers from North America, passed away earlier this week aged 64.

Toby discovered permaculture in 1990 after a career in genetics and developed a rural permaculture property in southern Oregon with his wife Kiel.

He was editor of Permaculture Activist magazine from 1999 to 2004 and his book Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture is credited as being the most successful book about permaculture in the world, having sold more than 250,000 copies.

His 2015 book The Permaculture City: Regenerative Design for Urban, Suburban, and Town Resilience applies permaculture thinking and principles to organising everyday life.

In 2005, Su and I were hosted by Toby in Portland, Oregon during our 6-month teaching and study tour of North America. I remember him as earnest and modest as he maintained a passionate commitment to permaculture ideas as he made the transition from rural self-reliant living to applying permaculture in the city. His move back to urban living was emblematic of the learnings of our generation about the limits to rural self-sufficiency.

– David Holmgren, December 2016

Su + Toby in August 2005 on a walking tour of Portland urban permaculture


Graduate Certificate in Permaculture Design

In Adelaide today, at Central Queensland University, students are making history as they begin a brand new course: A Graduate Certificate in Permaculture Design, the first university-accredited permaculture program in Australia.

On Friday last week, the Hon. Jay Weatherill MP, Premier of South Australia, and CQUniversity Appleton Institute Director and Engaged Research Chair Professor Drew Dawson, officially launched the program.

The Hon. Jay Weatherill MP

The Hon. Jay Weatherill MP

Based in Adelaide and available to students nationally and internationally, CQUniversity’s Graduate Certificate in Permaculture Design will give professionals the skills of truly sustainable design, and has the potential to revolutionise our transition towards a low-carbon future.

Guests mingling at the launch

Guests mingling at the launch

The event also recognised the work of permaculture co-creator Bill Mollison, with CQUniversity bestowing on him an Honorary Doctorate of Science.

Geoff Lawton (holding Mollison's Honorary Doctorate) and Keri Chiveralls.

Geoff Lawton (holding Mollison’s Honorary Doctorate) and Keri Chiveralls.

Skyping in from his home in Hepburn Springs, David Holmgren, who sits on the Advisory Committee, delivered the following address:

I’m not sure that I can live up to that introduction in a few minutes, but it is good to be able join permaculture colleagues, university staff and the South Australian premier at this launch, without the need to burn precious fossil fuels (and contribute to climate change).

I want to applaud the university in its timely award of the honorary doctorate to Bill Mollison and its role in the Garden of Earthly Delights project. Obviously I could say many things about Bill but just one might be appropriate. Beyond his co-conception of the permaculture concept is clearly, the father of the permaculture movement. His vision that a social movement, based on education through the Permaculture Design Course, was the best way to carry our original and evolving vision out into the world, has stood the test of time (despite my original skepticism.)

It is 16 years since I wrote the section on permaculture in the Alternative Ag unit in the first post grad diploma of Sustainable agriculture, at what was then Orange Agricultural college. That course was part of the wider adoption of permaculture in the late 1980s and early 90’s, that I have identified as the second wave. Of course, the first wave in the late 70s and early 80s, was associated with the energy crises and the huge interest in sustainable alternatives, at that time.

I see this CQU course breaking new ground in the spread and diversification of permaculture education, as part of long, slow third wave of permaculture design, activism and education that is building, not just in Australia but right around the world.

These waves have run counter cyclical to faith in mainstream values, governance and economics. These pulses of permaculture activism reflect a heritage of earlier waves of ecological sustainability innovation in the 1890s and 1930s that coincided with challenging times.

It is highly appropriate that of all the places in the world, this event is in Adelaide. While ups and downs of economic cycles and activist enthusiasm have been as big a factor here as anywhere, I think it is true to say that permaculture has played a consistent role over more than three decades in making Adelaide and South Australia, more innovative than its population size might suggest.

Grass roots household, community and small business activity have been the core of permaculture activism everywhere, but in SA there has also been a healthy interchange with those seeking better policies and institutional change from above. Many people and projects have contributed to that creative exchange but I want to make special mention of Graham and Annemarie Brookman from the Food Forest in Gawler for their tireless efforts in creating sustainable solutions that resonate for radical visionaries, the average punter and policy wonks alike. It is no accident that this course was conceived here in Adelaide, given that post graduate education in permaculture has been part of Graham Brookman’s vision for as long as I can remember.

As one cranky ecological pioneer to another, Brookman knows well my skepticism about University education but he did manage to persuade me to support this course as representing the best of university education. I also acknowledge that Keri Chiveralls infectious enthusiasm and dedication and Drew Dawson’s can do approach to working within institutional structures were influential.

As I concentrate on finishing my book Retrosuburbia: a downshifter’s guide to a resilient future, the world is moving, into what could be described as an economic, geopolitical and ecological convulsion. While most of the outcomes will be bad news, I trust that this course and my book will be part of a tsunami of permaculture positivity about how we can surf a prosperous way down.

More specifically I see huge opportunities for the household and community non monetary economies to grow and prosper to provide basic and even more sophisticated needs and in the process rebuild community spirit that will be so necessary to that prosperous way down.

If there is a simple message for anyone working top down, including the premier, it is to focus on reducing the regulatory and other impediments to flourishing household and community non monetary economies. This is an equally important task to, considering policies that support households and neighbourhoods to be more self-reliant and permaculturally productive.

I trust that one of the outcomes of this university program will be the ideas for the policy initiatives to help that vision unfold over the coming years and decades.